Now is the beginning of the season that many travelers go abroad. North, south, east or west, if you are departing the USA you need lots of extra planning. International travelers need to research early to avoid running afoul on entry requirements and passports. “When you travel overseas ignorance is not bliss!” You could find yourself quickly deported or locked up overnight then deported! (Years ago I had a client this happened too!) Here are a few steps to double check before you go:
Confirm your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip. Many countries bar entry to travelers whose passports are nearing expiration. Check also the physical condition. It should not be torn or mutilated. Passports are easily replaced. I use http://www.Passportsplus.com for questions and applications. Some countries require two consecutive blank pages in the passport. And others may not allow you to enter if you have an entry stamp from a rival country. You may need loose pages that can be removed.
If you believe you are going to a country that may have turmoil, you may want to check in with the US Embassy when you arrive. If an evacuation is needed, it is good for them to know you are in the country. You may even give them your general itinerary. You may wish to check with the US government travel advisory: http://www.travel.state.gov
Traveling to Africa or South America and parts of Asia may require vaccines. Two very common requirements are yellow fever and malaria. Again check with http://www.Passportsplus.com since their website has good medical information. You can also go to your physical or a local hospital travel center to obtain information and vaccinations. Malaria may be a tablet to take x amount of days before you enter a potential malaria infested area. Remember to present your vaccination certificate with your visa application.
Know what documents must accompany your visa application. You may need airline arriving and departing flights or ship itineraries and hotel reservations. Current bank statements may be required to prove you have the necessary funds for the trip. Visas vary with your purpose for entry, whether it would be for business or leisure. Some countries offer multiple entry visas. Do your homework!
Many visas can be purchased at the entry of a country. But double check because changes occur, such as Turkey now requires visas in advance. An Australian visa can be arranged where you purchase your ticket. I can easily do this for you! And at no charge!
Double check on an airline’s website if you think the airlines may differ from published requirements.
Here are some great websites:
– Ideas and suggestions from Randy B. Hecht, Boston Globe 2014