Travel Documents

Travel Documents

A variety of passport and visa requirements that differ from country to country can make traveling confusing and expensive. Be sure to research the specific requirements of the countries that you are planning to visit.

Your passport should have at least 6 months validity when arriving in a country.

Ensure that your passport has an adequate number of blank pages. Two pages is usually the minimum. This is especially important when you need a visa. Note that endorsement pages in the back of a passport are not counted as blank pages. As a rule of thumb, you should have two blank pages for each visa required on your trip. It helps if these pages are next to each other but this is not obligatory. Customs officials will turn you away if there is not enough space to stamp an entrance stamp in your passport.

Some countries will not issue you a visa if you do not have at minimum time until your passport expires. They also require that your passport is valid for a stipulated period after the visa expires. For example: A Schengen visa requires that your passport is valid for at least 3 months after your anticipated duration of stay in that country. There is also a requirement that your passport contain at least 2 blank pages for the visa to be issued.

Research your visa requirements when planning your trip. Some visas need to be applied for in your home country, others can be applied for at that country’s consulate or embassy in any country.  A few countries will issue you a visa upon arrival. Cambodia will issue you a visa at the border post, but Thailand requires that you have one already.

Visa requirements differ from country to country and also depend on the nationality of the passport that you hold. Some visas are very expensive, and the pricing can vary depending where you obtain the visa. For example, a Vietnamese visa costs more to obtain in Sydney and London than it does in Jakarta.

Check if you have a single entry or multiple entry visa. If you have a single entry visa, once you leave the country the visa is no longer valid and you will need to apply for another. This becomes an issue when you wish to do a cross border sight seeing trip. Often you will not be able to because you will not be allowed back into the country.  Visas also have expiry dates.

If you intend to drive in a foreign country, find out if you need an international driver’s licence or whether your licence is adequate.

Keep copies of your travel documentation. Copy your travel insurance details. Write down your travelers’ cheque numbers as well as the numbers of your credit cards, debit cards, passport and drivers licence. Take notes of numbers to call in case of emergency, if you lose your credit card, need to replace travelers cheques or claim from your travel insurance. Keep a copy of this information at home as well so if yours get stolen you can always find out the required information.


Date posted: 3rd July, 2011

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