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Tips to Avoid and Cover any Passport Problem before it happens

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passport holder cubaPassport issues can be rather complicated.  There are rules for every aspect of getting issued a passport, no matter what country.  Furthermore there are all kinds of issues that a passport holder will have to contend with from lost passport replacement to replacing a damaged passport to getting visas and the like.  Here are a few tips on how to resolve and or avoid the most common problems that arise from getting a passport to maintaining it.  

 

1. Apply Early!  When applying for a new passport, make sure to apply at least three to four months before your departure date.  Most state departments allow for expedited processing but being ahead of the game and planning in advance saves you the hassle of being stressed.  When you are taking an overseas trip the last thing you want is more stress and having your documents not arrive on time is a big stresser.  
2.  Get passport photos-- check the website of the issuing country.  We were able to upload and resize our passport photos on http://travel.state.gov/passport/ - there is an online tool that you can use and it gives you all of the specifications of the size of the photo.  These days of digital phones and cameras make it easy to take your own photo.  Make sure it complies with the requirements.  Otherwise you can get a passport photo for a few dollars at any pharmacy, drugstore or in some instances mailing stores with passport services.
3.  Make sure you have all the necessary Identification documents-- birth certificate, driver's license, social security card.  Again, check the requirements on the website and then get the proper documentation together to submit.  
4. Choose the right application form and be sure to fill it out carefully.  Check and double check that you've filled the form out properly.  There are line by line instructions so if you have a question consult the documentation for the form.  If you make a mistake it may lead to a delay or complete rejection of your passport application. 
5.  One of the most common mistakes on the passport form is forgetting to sign the application.  I can't tell you how many people tell me in frustration that their application got rejected because they forgot to sign it.  What a pain.
6. Request a bigger book!  If you are a frequent flyer you should request a larger passport book with additional pages. This way you can continue to fly wherever you want without having to get another passport because you ran out of pages.
7.  When the finally passport arrives, look at it carefully and verify that all the details are correct.  Make sure to sign all the pages in the passport where your signature is required.
 
8. Keep your passport safe when traveling.  Always know where your passport is located.  We of course, recommend you us a passport holder like the lovely ones we sell here at 11:11.  This is because they protect your passport in so many ways from the weather to loss and damage.  Once you reach your destination, keep your passport in a safe place.  It's best to try an carry it with you all the time.  There are money belts or hidden coat pockets that you can devise as a way of protecting it.   Never leave it in your baggage, vehicle, backpack, or your hotel room. 
9. If you are traveling with your family members, have everyone individual keep their passports with them. It is better for each person to carry their own passport.  Familys can benefit from using passport holders because each person can have a unique design and be easily distinguished from one another.
10. If you for some unfortunate reason, you lose your passport, immediately inform the authorities about the missing document.  You should call or go immeditately to the local embassy or consulate of your country and let them know the situation.  
11.  Take extra passport photos with you on your trip.  If you should lose your passport it will be one less step in getting a new one. 
THanks for reading.  Hope you have a wonderful trip.  

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