Traveling: Your Passport

Dear Traveler,

"Where is your passport? Keep it in a safe place and remember where you put it"
That was a message I sent to one friend packing her things to move houses. Indeed, it is such a small piece of document that can be easily overlooked but it impacts your travel greatly.

A passports "is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel" according to Wikipedia. 

once encountered a client who lost her passport because she left it with a building guard. She used her passport as a regular i.d. to enter the premises. Huge mistake. Handle your passports with care. Keep it in a safe, dry place so as to keep its good condition and to have easy access to it when you need it. 

The passport, aside from you ticket is the single most important document you need to travel the world. 

Some reminders: 



  1. Do not tamper your passports. Only immigration officers, embassy consuls should write on them. 
  2. Put it in a jacket when kept. Take it out from its jacket before giving them to the immigration officers at the airport. 
  3. Keep them up to date. By rule, your passport should be 6 months valid at the time of your return to your country. This is overlooked a lot of times and the result may lead to disappointment. 
  4. In foreign countries you would/ may be required to give your passport upon check-in in your hotel,buying train tickets or when changing currencies. In some communist countries, they may even require you to leave them at the hotel concierge. If you can, do not. In  most cases, it is photocopied or scanned.
  5. In booking airline tickets, no matter how you abhor your name and would like to spell it another way, give it to your travel agent as written in the passport. No other name matters when you travel. Insisting that your baptismal certificate is different from the one in the passport won't work. The passport always wins. 
How to apply/ renew your passport?

In the Philippines, you should apply for an appointment online through here and bring your requirements listed here .  DFA offices in malls that may be near your place would be convenient alternative to the DFA office in Macapagal Ave. Senior Citizens need not make an appointment to renew or apply for their passport. 

Xperience Travel Services offer Passport application/ renewal services too. 

Applying for a passport is relatively easy. Standing in line for a long period of time is a given but the requirements are pretty straight forward. Special cases such as applying for a child's passport where the parents are both out of country as OFWs (in which case you would need an SPA notarized in the country where you are at among others), or when passports are lost may take more documentation or time but if you are careful to note them, there should be no hassle. 

The only hassle would be if you do not have any of the required documents. I sometimes receive calls for passport application from people who do not have valid ids as stated here. I just have to make them understand that requirements are there for a reason. It is to safeguard the possession of such document as a passport. Once issued a passport, you have a valid i.d. of your citizenship forever. 

Forgetting passport validity

There are many cases of travelers who overlook the validity date of their passports. Avoid to be placed in this situation but should you be pushed, there are express applications you can use. When all things fail, beg. 

What to do when your passport was stolen/ got lost on a trip?

Prevention is always better than cure. During a trip, guard your passport. Do not leave it just anywhere or if needed for presentation, do not let it leave your sight  It is always good to have a small bag with you to keep your money and valuable documents during a trip. If you can, leave a photocopy of your passport in one of your bags (every bag if you can) for emergency purposes. Before leaving home, scan a copy of your passport and email yourself your passport or put it in a safe online storage site.  If you are the type (like me) who wants nothing left undone, do leave a printed copy to someone who you could contact to fax the document wherever you may need them. 

All these preparations would help ease the process of getting a new passport in another country. If this  unfortunate thing happens, just go to a consulate/ embassy of your country and they will process a new one for you.  


VISA

Your travel history is presented in all the passports you have used in your lifetime. In most cases, when acquiring visa from other countries, they would look into this travel history to get an objective view of how you use your privilege to travel. The more you present, the better. For example, in securing Schengen visa, you are encouraged to give all your issued passports in the past, from the very first.  Yes, that's it. Start looking for that passport you had when you first took a glimpse of Disneyland. Hah!


All in all, your passport can take you to places. Take good care of it and make sure that you are always able to go for that holiday without hassle. 


Regards,


Check