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Passport & Visa Rules

01. Passport Expiration Date

To board the plane to fly to a foreign country, you need a valid passport. So what's the definition of a valid passport?


According to the US passport office, your passport is valid until the date of expiration clearly printed on page two. But you must be aware that the requirements from your destination country may be quite different! Many countries require that your passport expiration date be anywhere from 1 to 8 months beyond the dates of your trip and some calculate that date from your arrival and some from the date of your departure.


For example, you book a 2-week trip to Turkey starting June 15 and your passport doesn't expire until December 30 -  a full 6 months after you get home. But no one told you that Turkey requires your passport to be valid for 8 months after you get home. You're 2 months shy!


You may not know this rule - but the agent at your airline's check-in counter will and you may well be refused boarding. And if that agent lets you through, you could be turned back home on your arrival in Turkey.


02. Page Rules

And then there are those pesky pages rules. Some countries require that you have a specific number of blank visa pages in your passport on arrival. Perhaps the blank pages must be consecutive? Or not. And once again, you could be refused boarding. Best not to take the chance.


03. Visa Rules

After deciding to visit a foreign country, you need to quickly find out if a citizen of your country is required to have a visa to visit there. And if so, get busy. It may take some time to wade through all the paperwork to get one. And here, there is no doubt. Without a proper visa, you will be denied boarding at your departure airport. 


04. Visa on Arrival

Some countries requiring a visa will sell it to you when you arrive. It's just another line to stand in before you go through passport control. We have done this twice and it does work. 


05. Resources

If you would like someone else to do the paperwork and legwork for you, hire an expeditor. These companies have agents that can hand carry your application to the appropriate embassy for approval and can speed up the process as necessary for an additional processing fee. We have used Travisa and Pinacle many times for passport renewal, visas, and additional visa pages and found them to be responsive and reliable.


06. Conclusion

AS SOON as you make your decision to visit a foreign country, check the expiration of your passport and then check the rules and regulations for admission to each and every country you plan to visit on your upcoming trip.



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