When a valid passport isn’t so valid
Just because your passport hasn’t expired doesn’t mean you can use it. None of it mattered.
“But my passport isn’t expired,
. It has five months left on it and I’m only going for two!”
“Unfortunately Thailand requires all visitors to have a minimum six months remaining on their passport to allow you into the country.”
Every other dotted I and crossed T became irrelevant as Leanna McMillan and Heather Douglas’ trip ended before it began. Had they made it to Thailand McMillan might’ve been able to bribe a border guard but not here. This Air Canada employee was not about to subject her airline to the penalties associated with delivering a valid but circumstantially expired passport on Thailand’s doorstep. McMillan was officially stuck. Without much option,
, Douglas continued on the 12,
,000 km journey alone not knowing when, or if, her friend would be joining her.
For the uninitiated traveller some passport rules are discovered at the worst times. Here are a few tips on avoiding this and other lesser known issues:
“Date of expiry” is a subjective term Common examples of countries that require six months of remaining passport life include: Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Indonesia, Denmark and Fiji among several others.
Terminal changes can terminate trips Don’t stop your research at the rules of your destination. A simple airport terminal change in a connecting country could subject you to a whole new set of regulations.
Know how to count backwards and forewords Some countries start counting the six months when you enter the country while others require six months from your date of departure. coming home) While a grey area at many border crossings, some countries will require you to have at least two blank pages left in your passport. Passport Canada can double your pages, to 48, at renewal for an extra $5. customs and an Israeli stamp can cause delays in the Middle East. Ask guards to skip the ink in these places. The quickest turnaround times are available between June and November. Emergency services are available but they’ll cost you upwards of $70 plus other applicable fees and proof of your emergency is needed.
Renew even if you don’t have travel plans Passport Canada has a very streamlined process called the Simplified renewal. Miss your expiry date by a year and you’ll have to go through a much longer process.
, baby needs a passport It doesn’t matter what the age, everyone needs a passport to travel internationally. It may surprise you to learn that it’s not just to stop baby terrorists but also to curb child slavery and trafficking. Fees and requirements are significantly lower, however.
As for our unwitting pair? They were eventually reunited on the streets of Bangkok and set off to explore South East Asia knowing that their passport troubles were behind them. That is, of course, until McMillan lost hers at the Vietnam border.
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