So many travellers often forget to check the passport rules for each individual country that they’re visiting. This can lead to a lot of problems before the trip even beings, or worse… problems while in destination. Here are a few common rules to look into before every trip.

Most countries will have a set time frame in which your passport must remain valid from the date of your departure. Keep in mind; this is usually the date of your departure from your destination… not the date of arrival. Every country is different; some require 3 months while some require 8, so search each of your destinations on travel.gc.ca to find out what the entry and exit requirements are.

If you find that you will need to renew your passport before your trip, be aware that these can take time. If you’re lucky they may be able to rush it for you, but that’s never a fun waiting game. Check the requirements as early as possible so that you have adequate time for a renewal.

In another case, you may not even be able to renew your passport and you will have to apply for a new one, which will take even longer. This is common for families if your children’s passports were issued before they were 16 years old. After 16, they will have to apply for an entirely new passport.

Now this problem is often overlooked, but be sure that you have a good photo. Even if your passport photo flies in Canada, you never know how strict another airport will be. You can find these specifications, and other passport facts, on the governments’ website as well, canada.ca.

Another overlooked problem is damage to the passport itself. If it is ripped, water damaged or even just noticeably bent, it may be invalid. This depends on the severity of the damage and the strictness of the airport, but it’s best to get it replaced if there’s even a slight imperfection.

And keep in mind that your passport on its own may not even be enough. Many countries require a valid passport and a travel visa. Visas can take weeks to attain and cost anywhere from 20 to 200 dollars. Some countries allow an electronic visa, or will grant visas at the airport, but some you will need to obtain in advance- so check the requirements for all of your destinations at travel.gc.ca.

Happy travels!

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