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5 Entry Requirements You Need to Check Before Traveling Internationally

5 Entry Requirements You Need to Check Before Traveling Internationally
Anya Kartashova

Taking an international trip requires much planning. You must request vacation days at work, buy a new suitcase and learn a few phrases in another language. However, while daydreaming of your next travel destination, it’s easy to forget the mundane, such as checking visas requirements, looking up passport validity and getting the right vaccines. So, make sure to double-check the following entry requirements before jetting off on your next adventure.

Visa

Before you even purchase a flight, I recommend checking whether you need a visa to enter a certain country. Immigration requirements vary for different passport holders, and my favorite resource is the Passport Index. It’s an interactive tool that ranks world passports and displays whether a visa is needed for citizens of every country. If you’re a dual citizen, you can compare passport power and check where you can go visa-free side by side.

Passport Validity

Let’s use the U.S. passport as an example. Although it’s valid for 10 years, you can’t really use it to travel until its expiration date. Why? Because many countries require three to six months of passport validity remaining before either entry or departure. You can find this information on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Take a look at your travel document’s expiration date before booking a trip overseas and make sure you have enough time to renew it if the date is approaching.

Blank Passport Pages

On the same website, look at how many blank pages your destination country requires for entry stamp. In some cases, a visa takes up a whole page, and you still need room for an entry stamp. Make sure to preserve at least two empty pages in your passport to meet those requirements. If passport real estate is dwindling and you’ve got a few trips coming up, attach Post-it Notes to full blank pages with a polite request in multiple languages to keep them intact for future visas. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try. Most border agents understand how precious the space is.

Vaccinations

This is another travel requirement worth checking before you get on the plane. You can’t exactly pop into an airport terminal and get a vaccination during your layover. Check what immunizations you need with the Department of State and visit your primary doctor or a medical travel clinic before your trip. Yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A and B vaccines can protect you from getting sick or spreading the disease to your friends and family after returning home. Keep in mind that some vaccines need to be administered multiple times, so make sure to have enough time before a trip for them to be effective.

Proof of Onward Travel

Because most travelers buy round-trip tickets, this doesn’t apply to many. However, if you plan a multi-country trip that involves a one-way flight and some land border crossings, make sure you have some kind of departure confirmation for the airline. Many countries require proof of onward travel, and some airlines won’t even let you on the plane if you fail to provide your itinerary details. You don’t want to be left behind just because your trip is open-ended.

Final Thoughts

No doubt, paperwork is the least interesting part of exploring the world. Filling out endless pages and waiting in embassy lines isn’t fun for anyone. Luckily, many visas can be obtained online or on arrival these days. However, it’s still important to have all your ducks in a row before a little detail derails your whole trip.

Have you ever missed out on a trip because of an unexpected visa requirement or an approaching passport expiration date?

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