The Ultimate Guide to Passports and Visas


International travel requirements are more complicated than you think. Whether you’re an experienced traveler or planning your first trip, we’ve compiled the ultimate pre-travel guide.




1. Do I know the country’s passport laws and visa requirements?

Simply put, international travel is not possible without a passport. Just as your pre-trip research should include familiarizing yourself with the laws of the country you’re planning to visit, you should also review the country’s passport and visa requirements.


2. Is my passport valid through the printed expiration date?

Most countries will not accept foreign visitors unless their passports are valid for six months beyond their scheduled return.

If your passport does not meet entry requirements for the country you are visiting, you will not be allowed to check in for your fight.


3. What is the passport renewal process?

The week before your trip is not the time to check the expiration date on your passport. If you find yourself in urgent need of a passport though, there are a few options.

A variety of companies offer to expedite the passport renewal process for varying fees – but you have the same access to the services they are advertising.

In the United States, 25 national passport offices can accelerate the passport application or renewal process.


4. Do I need a visa?

A visa defines the purpose of your trip and can often dictate the amount of time you may remain in a certain country.

Examples of different kinds of visas include tourist, student and work visas.

Some countries require a transit visa to land and change planes, the length of the layover or nation of origin will determine if this is required.

A single entry visa may be valid for up to 90 days or multiple entries and exits over an extended period of time.


5. How long does the visa process take?

If you need a visa, start by contacting the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit. Then confirm any information on their website with a phone call.

You may have to apply for a visa in person at the embassy or through the mail. Some countries do have electronic visa application processing online.

Visa processing times can vary from a few hours to several weeks.

Make sure you inquire about the expected processing time – and remember, you will be without your passport during the visa processing time.


6. Do I know the country’s entry requirements?

While it is important to research the entry requirements for any country you plan to visit, it is essential to strictly adhere to them.

Entry requirements can also change frequently and without notice, so keep up to date and follow them closely – even if you’re an experienced traveler.



Global Rescue members have access to personalized advisory services, in addition to detailed destination reports for 215 countries and principalities that include entry requirements and information related to any recommended immunizations.



Some specific entry requirements may include



7. What if my passport is expired but I have a valid visa?

If you renew your passport but have a valid visa in the expired passport, you should carry both your expired and your renewed passports while traveling— and contact the consulate of the country where you will travel.


8.What if I have dual citizenship or multiple passports?

Many countries allow individuals to have dual citizenship. When you have multiple passports, it is crucial to enter and leave on the same passport.


9. Can I have two passports?

Yes. A duplicate passport will allow you to travel while the other passport is being processed for a visa. You might also require a duplicate passport if you’re traveling to countries that deny entry to travelers with specific country entry stamps.


10. Should I carry my passport with me?

Before stepping out, be sure you know whether or not you are in a country that requires foreigners to have their passport on them at all times.

Keep both paper and electronic copies of your passport. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the visa and country entry stamp.

Write down or memorize your passport number, date of issue and date of expiration, as this information is frequently required when traveling.

Consider keeping electronic copies of vital documents like your driver’s license too – the more identifying information you have on hand, the easier the replacement process will be if something happens to your passport.



If you lose your passport



A replacement passport that is valid for 10 years takes longer to process than an emergency passport, which has limited validity.

Make sure you fully understand where you are allowed to travel with your replacement or emergency passport. Many countries will detain you as well as deny entry for not having valid entry documents.