Dynamic Management Of Your Passport Pages

by erin on June 24, 2010

So many things can go wrong during a trip, so it is amazing how smoothly things do go most of the time. Losing a passport definitely reigns supreme on the list of inconveniences, as that little document allows you to do most of things you need when you are away from home. However, letting your American passport pages become ripped or otherwise damaged can be equally problematic. Keeping a few things in mind about these pages can help you ensure a smooth trip.

While traveling, your passport is undergoing the same hardships you are. When you get caught in the rain, so does your passport. In an attempt to protect your passport from thieves, it might get crumpled up. To avoid this, be careful of where you store it and get a passport cover. This way, your pages will not become tattered and look suspicious to border officials. The extra inspection time can cost you travel time.

Even the most cautious traveler, however, will eventually run out of passport pages. This may not seem like such a big deal, but some countries require a certain number of pages for entry. Often, they require more space than their visa will take up in order to ensure you have enough room for entry and exit stamps as well. If your passport is still relatively empty, there are some strategies you can use to optimize the remaining space.

The first thing you can do is to politely indicate to border officials where you would like them to stamp. Doing this can help you avoid stamps that occupy a lot of room in your passport. This can be sensitive, and not all officials will respond positively. However, if you keep a positive, polite attitude and explain your predicament, most will be happy to help. If they just stamp away, do not argue or become angry.

If you do see you are running out of pages, a quick stop by any embassy should remedy the situation. Most embassies will insert additional pages for free or a small fee. This service can usually be done during the same day. Make sure to do this well before you travel so you do not get in a bind. Depending on the country, there is usually a limit to the number of pages that can be added, so check with your embassy.

A lot of travelers enjoy looking back on the stamps they have acquired. These serve as reminders of where they have been, and in some cases, as badges of honor for especially difficult trips. Make sure to make a copy, however, in case of loss. Again, beyond the sentimental value, you may need a travel history down the line.

Also, be aware that damaged United States passports probably will not be returned to you. This can also result in losing the pages that you spent so much time acquiring. So, make a copy before you submit it in exchange for a new passport. Do not remove the pages, as this will usually be considered tampering with an official document.

Getting new United States passport pages does not have to take up much of your time, but you should not ignore them completely. It is just those times that you take the pages of your pasport for granted that they can cause problems for you. Do a brief check before you go and keep these tips in mind so that you can focus on your trip.

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