Even though current travel restrictions deprived us of the possibility of traveling and discovering new amazing spots, there is no harm in planning. While dreaming of your next adventure and anticipating the rush of getting on the plane and traveling to a new incredible country, begin planning the boring bureaucratic nuances. And once the borders open up, you will be ready to hop on the plane and go. There are five simple steps for organizing your documents and getting prepared for that magical day of freedom.
Do You Need New Passport?
Before dealing with visa documents, open your passport and check the validity. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the day of arrival. If you are traveling with other family members, don’t forget to check their passports, too.
In case it turns out you do need to renew your passport, apply for the renewal at least eight weeks ahead. In order to launch the process of getting a new passport, fill out a DS-82 application, submit your old one and, if applicable, name change documents, provide recent photos as well as application fees. Finally, make an appointment at the nearest passport agency and show up on time with the documents mentioned above.
Do You Need Visa?
Even US citizens need to apply for a visa to enter certain countries. Visit the official website for U.S. citizens to find out if you need a visa for the country of your destination. However, if it turns out that you do need one to travel to a specific country, tourist visas are quite easy to obtain.
First of all, visit the official website of the corresponding embassy and look for the requirements for a tourist visa. Most of the time, it comes down to the following set of documents:
- Valid passport.
- Filled out visa application that you can download on the webpage of the embassy along with tips and recommendations on how to fill it out.
- Travel insurance.
- Proof of financial means which can be a bank statement or a letter from a sponsor.
- Proof of accommodation which can be a letter of invitation or a hotel reservation.
- Two recent photos.
Finally, make an appointment at the embassy or visa center and bring all the required documents with you.
Do You Need New ID Photos?
If you are applying for a new passport or/and for a visa, you will definitely need a set of professional photos. You can visit the nearest photo studio and have them done, however, it will cost you a substantial sum of money. Moreover, you will need to find time in your busy schedule, fight the traffic on the way to the studio, and spend a lot of time waiting for images to be done. It all seems unnecessarily stressful and expensive, especially, if you have a big family.
Instead, you can install an app or a PC program and make ID photos yourself. These tools are very easy to use and have an auto-crop function whereby you simply upload a picture, select the country, and the type of the document, and the program automatically resizes it to meet the requirements. Check out the list of the best passport photo apps, choose one that suits you the most and escape the stress of scheduling an appointment and visiting a photo studio.
Do You Need Extra Pages?
An amazing tip for frequent travelers that a lot of people are unaware of is to request extra pages for your passport. Even if you travel three to four times a year, your passport will be obsolete after a couple of years with the basic 28 pages. Instead, simply check the box while filling out the application and ask for 52 pages to double your traveling years.
Do You Have Big Family?
Another great lifehack for big families is getting personalized stickers for your passports. You have to show your passport at the airport at every stop which requires you to open them every time and sort them out. A personalized sticker will eliminate this problem and make your traveling less stressful. No more opening all the passports in the rush while holding up the line. These fun and cute stickers will solve this problem once and for all.
The most important thing about traveling is not getting obsessed with every tiny detail and actually enjoying your vacation. To do so, plan ahead as much as you can, especially, document preparation, and you will have the best trip of your life.