Passport Information for International Travel 


If you will be travelling internationally, regardless of transportation mode, you will almost always be required to present a passport to either board an international flight or enter another country if you are a cruise, bus or train passenger.

There may be some circumstances in which this is not the case; but in general, a passport is recommended if you plan to travel outside your own country.

Every country in the world issues its own passport, because citizens of all countries need passports to travel out of their country and into another. 

There are some exceptions, though. For instance, citizens of the European Union do not need a passport to travel to and from other countries in the European Union.

If you have never applied for a passport, you might wonder what it is and what type of information it contains.

A passport is a small booklet that officially identifies you as a resident of the country in which it is issued. It contains information, such as your passport number, your name, your date of birth, where you were born, when and where the document was issued, when it expires, and an officially affixed photo of yourself.

The remaining pages are for entry and exit stamps when entering and leaving a country. Those empty pages are also used for formal VISAs.

In most countries you are allowed to visit for up to 30 days without officially applying for an extended visit. The Immigration Officer will check the entry date stamped on your passport when you are leaving the country and stamp your passport again with your departure date.

For U.S. Citizens

In order for a passport to be valid, you must sign it when you receive it.  In the United States, a passport is valid for ten years for adults and five years for children 15 years of age and younger.

So, when and where will you need to present your passport?

If you are departing from the United States, your passport and VISA (if required) will be usually be checked for validity by the airline rather than by a government control station. When entering a new country, the Immigration Officer will check your documents and stamp your passport with the date of your entry. 

For additional passport information visit Government regulations and policies are subject to change without notice, information provided here should be verified.

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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