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Australia & World

Caution: Avoid Falling Into This Passport Pitfall During Your Next Journey

Here’s the catch: I’ll require a tourist visa, obtainable upon arrival. Brunei mandates visitors to possess ‘more than four’ blank passport pages. Unfortunately, I only have two.

Sarah King, spokesperson for Expedia, cautions, “While countries like Canada, the United States, and Germany require between one and two blank pages, destinations like Brunei and Namibia stipulate a greater number.” She advises, “If you’re running low on blank pages, it’s prudent to consider obtaining a new passport before your trip.”

Various reasons prompt travelers to seek passport replacements, such as a change of name, gender, significant alterations due to plastic surgery, minor damage, or compromised personal details due to a data breach. Additionally, a replacement can be requested to update a child’s passport photo issued during infancy, provided the child is under five years old.

However, if the current passport is lost, stolen, or significantly damaged, a new passport is the only option. Yet, if the passport still holds over two years of validity, travelers are eligible for what the Australian Passport Office terms a ‘replacement’ passport, costing $217 and valid until the original expiry date.

To initiate the application process, create an online account on the Australian Passport Office’s website. You’ll have the choice between a replacement passport or a new 10-year passport, priced at $346 (soon to rise to nearly $400). Then, print the application and visit an Australian post office with your current passport. After submission, anticipate up to six weeks for the new document’s arrival via registered mail, with expedited processing available for an extra fee.

Dean Long, CEO of ATIA (Australian Travel Industry Association), notes, “With the flexibility of destinations allowing visa-free travel for Australians, running out of passport pages isn’t as prevalent as before.” He mentions the discontinuation of the previous “frequent traveler passport,” which offered almost double the standard pages since September 2017.

Nonetheless, Long underscores that travelers bear the responsibility of ensuring they possess the requisite documents and ample blank pages. “There’s no insurance policy against passport-related mishaps resulting from human error,” he warns.

Entry denied: Five passport problems you need to avoid

  • If your passport has less than six months of validity remaining between its expiry date and your planned departure date, airlines reserve the right to refuse check-in for your flight.
  • Even minor tears or cuts to passport pages can render the document invalid and may result in detainment by authorities if passport fraud or tampering is suspected.
  • Water damage poses a serious risk to your passport’s integrity, potentially necessitating its replacement. To mitigate this risk, store your passport in a plastic sleeve at all times and avoid exposing it to water, including keeping it out of the washing machine.
  • Removing pages from your passport is strictly prohibited. Sticky tape and staples should never be used to repair damaged pages.
  • While souvenir stamps may seem appealing, receiving them at tourist destinations like Machu Picchu or Antarctic research stations, they could lead to denied entry in some countries.

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