As the Chief Marketing officer of Travel Document Systems and Co-Founder Pinnacle Travel Documents these are my 10 vital Passport and Visa points to follow for smooth International Travel!

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  • Make sure you have at least six months validity on your US passport! Most countries require six months validity because they don’t want any traveler to get stranded in their country and be burdened with their expenses. Further, most airlines require the six-month passport validity. Pinnacle TDS can renew your passport in as quick as 24 hours to 3-5 days allowing you to make your trip!
  • If you travel a great deal think about obtaining a second, US passport valid for four years. This will allow you to obtain visas on one passport while you travel on another! Pinnacle TDS can assist you with your second passport needs in an expedited manner. A second passport gives you flexibility!
  • Make sure you understand which countries require a visa for US citizens to enter. This way you are not barred from boarding your flight and missing your personal or business trip. Pinnacle TDS has full details on visa entry requirements for US passport holders.
  • Make sure your name on your passport matches your name on your airline ticket/itinerary. With heightened security measures at US airports and abroad you could be denied boarding. If the name on your passport must be corrected, then you must renew your US passport as the US passport Agency no longer amends names on US passports because of the new electronic chip passports. Pinnacle can assist you with the renewal with valid proof of your name.
  • There seems to be confusion regarding the Passport Card. The Passport Card can only be used at border crossings when driving between the US and Mexico and Canada. You cannot us the passport card for flying! Pinnacle can assist with the issuance of the passport card. The Passport Card can be issued when the Passport is renewed for an addition government fee of $50.00. It is best to do both at the same time if the card is needed to save money and time.
  • Many countries have gone to electronic visas which means the visas are e-mailed to the traveler. These visas are different than the traditional visas that are stamped in the actual passports. E-visas can have a shorter validity and at times only be for tourist travel and not for business travel. It is imperative that the traveler check to see that they apply for the correct type of visa based on their trip. What we do at Pinnacle is assist the traveler in selecting the correct visa type for their specific travel needs. Some countries thar issue Electronic Visas are India, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Oman.
  • Children under 16 years of age are issued passports that are only valid for five years. The reason being that children’s features change so the picture needs to be changed every 5 years. Once they become 16 the passport is issued for 10 years. Both parents must be present to get the child’s documents sealed and if one parent is not available then the other must give notarized consent to the missing parent. The Passport Agency is very strict because of child abductions cases so they want to make sure both parents have given permission for a child to be issued a passport. Pinnacle assists with passports for minors and takes the confusion away for the applicant.
  • It is imperative that the signature on passport and visa applications match the exact signature on the US passport! If the signature doesn’t match the application could be rejected which could delay the issuance of the US Passport or visa for international travel.
  • The Passport Office and countries that issue Visas require the photographs submitted for processing to follow specific guidelines. The Chinese do not want the applicant to wear any glasses, jewelry or smile in the photo. The US passport office doesn’t want any glasses or smiling in their photos. Further, The Indians don’t want any glasses on the photo. There are specific photo requirements that must be fold for smooth passport and visa Processing! Pinnacle can answer all your questions and assist with processing.
  • Make sure you don’t apply too early for a Visa! If you apply too early, then your Visa will not be valid for entry which could cause you to be denied entry to that country. For example, the Kenya E-visa is valid for 90 days from date of issue. The Visa for Laos is valid 60 days from date of issue and the visa for Rwanda is valid 30 days from date of issue.