As expected, you need to make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your trip. However, most countries will only accept passports that as at least six months of validity. Besides, some countries may require you to obtain a Visa for the duration of your holidays. Tourist Visas are easy to obtain, but the process can take some time so make sure you research the requirements in advance.
Your passport should have at least 1-2 blank pages available, or many more if you intend on visiting multiple countries. Visa stickers and stamps sometimes take an entire page to themselves. Some countries can add extra pages to their existing passport, but sometimes you will have to request a whole new passport before your trip. Make sure you handle any passport issues at least three months in advance of your trip because some processes can take up to 90 days.
There are expedited services available but these costs expensive, and you don’t want the added stress right before your trip begins.
Obtaining a passport
You can request an application form for renewing or obtaining a new passport online it will all depend of your country.
Once you have filled in the application form and got a counter-signatory you can either return the application form by post or you can hand it in at most post office branches.
Processing your application can take up to three weeks in some countries so be sure to apply in advance. If you need the passport processed faster and premium service it can often be done with an additional fee. For example in Malaysia, my wife applied for her passport and receive it on the same day (RM300 for 5 years) = $70 (Lucky one)
Some countries simply issue you a visa on arrival. Others require you to apply up to three months in advance of your trip.
Travel within the EU
EU passport holders or European ID are able to travel freely within the EU indefinitely. However, you still need to make sure the passport or identity card are valid for the duration of your stay.
US citizens are currently able to stay up to 90 days without a visa in the EU or Schengen zone. However, starting in 2021, US passport holders will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa.
While traveling within the European Union, most countries have abandoned passport checks at land borders but you will still be expected to provide a valid form of identification.
Travelling outside the EU for European
For travel outside the EU, your passport will certainly be checked at all borders, further countries will require you by law to be able to provide your passport as identification. For this reason, while outside the EU it is imperative that you carry your passport with you at all times and take proper measures to ensure its safety. It is advisable to store your passport in a secure money belt or inside pocket as passport theft is rife in many countries. It’s also a great idea to make a few copies of the passport in case you lose the original.
Passport security tips
You should always make a couple of hard copies, and take a photo on your phone of your passport information and any visas or entry stamps. You will need it if your passport is lost or stolen. When you go out of your hostel, place the passport in a locker or safe, and just take your copy with you. You don’t want to be walking around town with your original passport. When you’re traveling with all your belongings, make sure your passport is in a safe place, in an inside pocket of your backpack or suitcase. You should also bring a second form of government ID, which you’ll need in case your passport is lost or stolen.
Lost or Stolen Passports
If your passport is lost or stolen while abroad, don’t panic. The first thing you should do is report it to the local police and write a police report. Next, find a place to take a new passport photo because you will need it to get a new passport, and having it in advance will speed up the process. Find your local embassy, as they will be able to issue you an emergency passport that is valid for the rest of your trip so you can return home. To obtain an emergency travel passport, you’ll need a new passport photo, a copy of your old passport, a second form of ID like a driver’s license, a local police report, and a few forms available on the US government website if you are a US citizen.
The process can take up a few days to a week but is sometimes quicker. You may have to change your travel plans, in which case it’s a great idea to have travel insurance which covers all costs.
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