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Important Passport Safety Tips for Travelers

With summer now in full swing, many families will begin packing their bags to embark on summer vacation. Some of the top destinations this season include Rome, Paris, London and Greece. Of course, in order to travel abroad one must have a valid passport. Unfortunately, vacations can often have unforeseen complications. Here are some helpful passport tips to make sure your summer vacation is worry-free.
Why do I need a passport?
Your passport confirms not only your identity, but also your citizenship to your home country. Your passport allows you to enter foreign countries and also reenter your own country. As your passport is ultimately your key to travel, it is vitally important to keep it safe, especially abroad.
What measures can I take before traveling?
If you do not yet have a passport, it’s always a good idea to apply for one well in advance of your planned vacation. Depending on processing times, passports typically take about four to eight weeks to receive. Luckily, if you are short on time most countries offer an expedited passport process for an additional fee. It may also be beneficial to make copies of your passport. Give one to a family member or friend to keep at home and also take a copy with you.
It’s also important to learn as much as possible about the country you are about to visit. Once you enter that country, you are now subject to their laws and regulations. Avoid areas with high rates of crime or internal turmoil. Also be sure to have your home country’s embassy or consulate information at hand.
What can I do to keep my passport safe while traveling?
The easiest way to keep your passport safe while abroad is simply to know where it is at all times. One of the safest places to keep passports is in your hotel room’s safe. These are often locked with a custom code you create. If you plan to keep it on your person, be sure to secure it in a sturdy shoulder or chest bag. Pockets and handbags are easy targets for thieves.
What should I do if my passport becomes lost or stolen?
If your passport becomes lost or stolen, try to stay calm. First contact local police and file a police report. Be sure to ask for a copy of the report or if one is unavailable copy down the reference details. The next step is to visit the nearest embassy or consulate of your home country. Be sure to give the consular officer the details of your return plans. The embassy will do their best to assist you quickly.
In order to replace your passport you may need to bring a passport-style photo, proof of identification, evidence of citizenship (birth certificate), evidence of your travel plans (airline tickets) and the police report. If you do not have all of these documents on hand, the embassy will work with you as best as they can.
Typically, replacement passports are subject to the same fees as a typical passport. However, they will make special arrangements for those who have been a victim of a serious crime or disaster. The embassy will then either issue you a new passport for a full five to 10 years, or in very urgent travel situations, an emergency temporary passport may be issued.
While traveling abroad, chances are the trip will be safe and incident free. However, being prepared for such incidents can save you a lot of time and energy.
Remember, Berardi Immigration Law can always help you cross the border with confidence. If you have any questions about crossing the border, please schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!