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Don’t freak out, don’t freak out – ok too late, you freaked out!
Realizing that your passport is expiring, or that you do not have enough “validity” on your passport to visit another country, is heart-dropping. This just happened to me and I am sooo happy it’s over with. Yet, I learned a lot of good tips on the way and now can ease your panic attacks with this post.
First, some background – I was sitting on a Saturday afternoon Google-ing different beaches to visit on my trip to Curacao that coming Tuesday. When you see the words in red or bold – “passport entry requirements”, please read that! I surely forgot to check for my actually ticketed vacation for months, whether my passport had enough time left.
What that means (and this is also explained on any country’s site for passport requirements), is that your passport needs to NOT expire for more than the alotted time stated. It could mean 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 30 days. Look it up, you’ll see many countries require your passport to not be expired for at least 6 months from the date of your return ticket.
O my, what a mess right? My passport had 2 months left on it until expiration, Curacao needed 3.
All in all – it can be fixed!
How to Fix Your Passport in Time For Your Flight:
– If you have a flight the same day, race to the Passport Center or Embassy of your country as soon as you can. I got passport printed in 20 minutes after it was stolen in the Bahamas, and I got it renewed in 3 hours this week at the Passport Center in NYC.
– You MUST bring your expiring passport, proof of ID and absolutely – PROOF OF TRAVEL!
-Print your boarding pass or ticket confirmation – they don’t let you use cell phones at the windows when speaking with customer service reps.
-Bring passport photos or get them done before you get on line.
– Explain your situation, urgency of travel, and ask for expedition.
Now in NY, many individuals as myself were obtaining passports within hours because we had a flight within 24 hours. If you have an evening flight, you might be able to make it the same day. An afternoon flight is more worrysome and I cannot assure you that your passport will be ready.
The sooner you go to renew your passport in person, the better.
If you realize you’re not flying until 48-72 hours or longer, still go! They won’t give you your passport right there and then, since you have more time until your flight, but at least the process is started. They will tell you which day to return to pick up your passport.
What Not to Do:
Do not use a rush service online, such as rushmypassport.com. They are trustworthy, but you overpay. They will charge you $400-$500 to get it within 1 business day. When you go in person, the usual renewal fee (for US citizens) is $135 plus an expedition fee of $75. Much cheaper…you can get a luxury hotel night with the money you save.
Unluckily, I rushed to the Passport Center and my flight was canceled anyway due to Blizzard Juno, but Curacao is rescheduled for March 2015!
Have any passport questions? Leave them below and I’ll get back to you!