Is your Passport Travel Ready? Know before you go
When was the last time you took a look at your passport? Not recently?
You have planned the perfect international vacation on your own. You have put in countless hours of research, and have made all the bookings.
But a few days before the trip while scanning through the travel docs, you notice that your precious passport is about to expire soon.
Oh Boy !!!
You panic and, start the stressful journey of figuring out how to get it renewed before the trip. Meaning Rs. 4,000 extra for a Tatkal renewal, travel to your hometown etc.
Here are some basic requirements your Passport needs to fulfill before you Travel:
1) Your Passport should valid for at-least 6 months from date of return from Foreign destination. Even if the foreign country does not mandate this, most Airlines will refuse to board you if you don’t pass this criteria.
2) It should have one or two blank pages. The immigration guys need some space to do their job guys.
3) It should not have an ECR (“Emmigration clearance Required”) stamp. This stamp will be present if your passport was issued before you cleared your 10th Exam/ College (varies on the year it was issued).
If your passport has an ECR stamp, you would require special permission from the Indian government to travel to selected countries. Best to get this rectified as soon as possible.
4) Your passport should be undamaged. Make sure the binding is intact and that none of the pages (especially the front and back pages) are damaged.
I personally know many travelers who had to go through last-minute stress, and a few who couldn’t even make the trip, due to non-compliance on the above.
It is surprising how many of us stash our passports in a corner after a trip, and forget about it until the next trip.
Apart from the disappointment, there are also monetary losses from non-refundable bookings.
Its worse if you figure this out only once you reach the Airport, on the day of your trip.
Here is how you Ensure you Passport is always Travel Ready:
1) Check the expiry dates and the condition of the passport immediately after a trip and see if any action needs to be take. If yes, mark them on your calendar. This is important as you will most likely forget about your passport once you stash it back in your cupboard. The unpleasant surprised hit you only when you are about to plan your next trip.
2) Renew your passport well before it crosses the “six months to expiry” date. Keep track of the date and mark it in your calendar if required.
This way, you can plan your trip whenever you wish, and can take advantage of deals and offers if any in time.
3) Alarm bells should ring when the immigration guy complaints that your passport has no real estate for his stamps.
4) Scan through all your travel docs about a two weeks before the trip, and make sure everything is in order.
5) The moment you see that there is a damage in your passport, get it replaced. E.g. Do not wait for the binding to come off entirely. Replace it at the first sign of trouble.
Planning a trip with someone, or know someone who is travelling soon? Share this article with them to give them a heads up.