Sunday, 8 May 2016

How much do you know about your passport?

Last week I saw a man go wild when he was denied boarding on a flight on his way to Johannesburg. Reason, he did not have enough blank pages on his passport. He was not a first time traveler, and the fact that he has never encountered such kind of regulation before made his reaction understandable. Unfortunately there is nothing much an airline can do under such circumstances, travel documents are solely the responsibility of the traveler, they only reinforce such regulations as set down by various countries. Some airlines may not be so keen on such regulations and you may get yourself to your destination only to be denied entry. It is advisable that you get familiar with these regulations before you set out for your trip. The regulations vary from one destination to another. Today we are going to explore our knowledge on passport regulations.
Blank pages on your Passport
Like our friend found out, you are likely to be denied boarding if you do not have enough blank pages on your passport. Some countries require that you have a blank page/pages for visa or entry and exit stamps. It does not matter how small  the entry stamp may be, some countries are very strict on blank pages on your passport, they may vary from one page to six pages. Do enough research on your destination and prepare accordingly. You would not want to have to cut short your trip at the airport because of missing a blank page not forgetting that this is not something you can fix in a matter of hours or a day.

Passport Expiry dates
Your passport maybe expiring in the next two months, yes it is valid but this can deny you entry in some destinations. The duration varies from one country to another up to more than six months validity from the date of entry. I highly recommend you renew your passport a year before expiry. Can you imagine arriving at your destination only to be denied entry because of the expiry of your passport? I guessed as much, it is one experience you would not want to encounter leave alone the idea of explaining to your friends or employer why you were denied entry. Not a nice picture.

Additional pages on your Passport
If your passport is full, consider applying for a new passport. Most countries if not all no longer allow the additional of new pages on passports, it is a regulation that is being enforced to curb fraudulence. Recheck your passport to ensure it is valid for travel in case you are travelling in the near future to avoid the last minute oh! surprise of I did not know when the rules changed

Significant damage to your passport will require a new one
Normal wear and tear is expected of your passport, however if your passport has significant tear, water(liquid) damage or unofficial markings renders your passport invalid. Consider getting a new one, better still keep that passport out of reach of children who are prone to make interesting drawings on every book they come across.

Alteration in your appearance
Immigration board agents as well as airline agents are trained on features to look for in you appearance so dying your hair or cutting it short should not be a reason for you to opt for a new passport. However, if you have had changes in your physical appearance due to surgery, face uplift, face tattoos or weight gain you should renew your passport accordingly. In some countries you may be required to apply for a new passport due to age. For example if you got your passport at the age of three 10 to 15 years ago, you will be required to apply for a new one. It is considered that your physical appearance has changed significantly by then.

Some country stamps may deny you entry to another
Surprised? So was I when I found out. Some stamps in your passport can put you in trouble, for example entry stamps to Israel in your passport can deny you entry to some countries in the Middle East like Lebanon and and Saudi Arabia. Organize yourself if you are planning to visit such kind of countries. A good research on the countries you have visited against your destination is advisable.

I hope now you know better about your passport. Do not hesitate to ask any question about your travel documents. We will be glad to assist or get you an expert to to guide you through. Happy Travels!


1 comment:

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