Is your passport expired?

Have you check the expiry date of your Passport lately?

What is the expiry date on your passport?

There are tons of travel checklists on internet offering tips on what to pay attention to when planning a trip. Just google ‘travel checklists’ and you will see millions of results. Although one item makes the top of most of these checklists, many people still take it for granted. I am talking about your travel document and ID internationally recognized: your Passport.

If you are a first timer, getting a passport will typically be one of the first things to think about. You will check procedures and processing time, fill out forms, get documents and picture ready and apply. A few days and your document will be ready. If you are a frequent or an occasional traveller, no need to worry, right!? You have your passport ready to go. Well, let’s hold that thought for a second.

It might be obvious that when people travel often or occasionally they will have a valid travel document handy. But let me ask you a quick question: when was the last time you checked the expiry date of your passport?

I will tell you a little story: My friend and I were planning a trip to South America to visit friends and family. We were working on the details of the trip for a while, but still waiting for our vacation time to be confirmed. We got the dates confirmed three weeks before our departure and all had to move very fast. I was booking our flight and filling out the airline forms when I asked for his passport information. That is when we realized that his Canadian passport was expired. He has dual citizenship, so I asked him for his other passport. Well, guess what! It was expired as well. After two very tense weeks, he got his new passport and visa ready for the trip. But for a moment, we thought we would have to change the whole plan.

I travel extensively for work and it is imperative that I check the status of my travel documents regularly. I have to be ready to run to the airport at any time. Well, not really, but sometimes trips get confirmed only a few days before departure. For that reason, I mistakenly thought that anybody who travels occasionally would regularly check their documents as well.

It is understandable there are so many things you have to take care of when planning your trip, that checking the status of your travel documents can be easily forgotten. However, imagine this scenario: after months of planning and dreaming, you arrive at the check-in counter and the airline staff asks you for a valid passport because the one you presented is expired. No, you don’t want that to happen!

So, do yourself and your travel companions a favour: check your passport’s expiry date. And ask if they checked theirs. Especially if you are planning to travel abroad soon. I would even recommend that you put a reminder in your calendar for renewal at least 8 months before your travel document expires.

And don’t forget to also check the regulations of the country you are planning to visit. Most nations require that your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from the date you enter the country you will be visiting. However, those requirements can change. Canadians can visit the ‘Travel Advice and Passport Validity’ section of the Government of Canada’s website for more information on the requirements.

Safe Travels!

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