The Dangers of traveling with a Damaged Passport

 

A passport can be damaged in any number of ways.  It happens more easily than you may think.  A person can come home from a long trip and accidentally leave the passport in clothing that gets put in the washing machine or a passport gets left on the table where your having a glass of water and in reaching for your glass you tip it over pouring water all over your passport.  There are a number of ways in which a passport can be accidentally to intentionally damaged.  The problem is that once it is damaged you should look to obtain a new passport rather than risk travel.

We have received many a call from a traveler stuck at the airport not able to fly because the airline would not let them due to what they believe is damage to the passport.  In many of these cases, the traveler knows the passport is damaged but they believe that since the damage is “minimal” they feel that they can get by.  They are overlooking one inherent problem with that line of thinking.  The problem is that they are banking on the fact that since their passport is in their name and they have it in their possession that logically the immigration officer or airline official will allow you to go through.  This line of thinking can cause you to miss your trip.

It is important to remember that by going to the airport with a damaged passport you are putting your trip in the hands of an official or officer who is trained to verify your passport and make sure that you are who you say you are.  The official/officer’s obligation is to his job and his country’s immigration policies not to you the traveler.  If the officer cannot verify your passport or feels that the damage makes it so that they cannot accept your passport they will deny you.  If that means you miss your trip so be it.  Often there will be no refund.  By accepting this cold and hard truth you will be better off in dealing with this situation.

Damaged Passport
Example of a passport with water damage 

If your passport has water damage or has been chewed on by your dog, regardless of whether it was intentional or not, the passport has now been altered from the original state and must now be considered damaged.  Obtaining a new passport should be your top priority if you plan to travel again in the near future.  You may do so by going through your county clerk’s office if you want to do regular processing in 4-6 weeks or through rush processing in 3 weeks.  If you need it back faster than you can use a service or go directly to a Passport Agency nearest you. For further information on how to rush your passport through a service please visit our website at http://www.passportsvisasandmore.com or call us 888-336-0683.

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Roadblocks to a successful passport renewal process

Having a valid passport is an essential part of international travel.  Your passport has to be valid in order to be able to make your trip.  In some cases, your passport has to be valid for a certain period of time.  Unfortunately, those who have a passport will eventually come upon a time when that passport must be renewed.  After all, a passport is only valid for a certain amount of time.  For adults, in most cases, it is valid for 10 years while for children it is valid for 5 years.

While renewing a passport is not as complex as obtaining a brand new passport, there are some criteria involved that will determine whether you can apply for a passport renewal or have to start all over again.  Some of these steps can be determined simply by looking at the passport.  Others are more complex.  The following criteria can help to determine which route you would have to take:

  1. A children’s passport cannot be renewed through the renewal process. The reason for this is because a children’s passport was only valid for 5 years.  A children’s passport requires parental consent and because they are minor’s will only be valid for 5 years.  The renewal process only applies if your passport was valid for 10 years and was not expired for more than 5 years.
  2. If your passport was valid for 10 years it can be renewed as long as it has not been expired for more than 5 years. For example, let’s say your passport was valid from 2002 to 2012.  This passport cannot be renewed in 2018 because the passport has been expired for more than 5 years.
  3. Your passport must be in good to great condition. If your passport has been damaged in any way, has pages cut off, is falling apart, has been mistreated or has been accidently left in the washing machine then chances are the passport is not renewable.  Any passport that has been damaged is considered just that…a damaged passport and you must now follow the damaged passport process.
  4. If there are any changes to your name or if the passport was accidentally misspelled or has inaccurate information, a birth certificate or other certified documentation would be needed in order to correct it. In some cases, the State Department may determine that the change requires you to apply as a new passport instead of a renewal.
  5. You can renew your passport before it expires. There are some countries that require a passport to be valid for more than 6 months in order for them to allow you to enter their country.  The State Department does allow you to renew your passport before it expires.
  6. Remain eligible to obtain a passport. There are certain citizens who are not able to obtain a passport or even renew a passport.  Those who are ineligible to receive a passport are those who are wanted by the government, owe the government money or are in arrears of child support.

If your passport adheres to the criteria listed, you should be able to do a passport renewal and receive a new passport.  Renewals can be sent through the mail for regular process or if you are in a rush go in person or through a service like ours.  We have offices in Downtown Orlando and in Coral Gables, FL.  Visit our site for more infomration at http://www.passportsvisasandmore.com.

 

Can A US Citizen Get A 10 Year Visa To China?

Many travelers going to China have often wondered if they can get a 10 year visa to China.  For some it seems as a wild rumor that has been passed around between business travelers and friends.  We have had some clients come in saying “No way does the consulate of China issue a 10 year visa and if so, how come I didn’t get it when I went XX number of years ago.”    Some often wonder what special information they must turn in to submit a request for a 10 year business visa to China or a 10 year tourist visa to China.

The answer is really quite simple.  In 2014, our government and the government of China agreed a new policy that would see U.S. citizens get a 10 year visa for business or tourist purposes.  The following article is a great read and illustrates why both sides thought it to be a good idea.  https://www.cnn.com/2014/11/10/politics/visa-10-years-obama-announces/index.html

The 10 year visas for China began to be issued to travelers in 2015.  While the Chinese consulates maintain the issuance of the visa is at their discretion, the 10 year visa is issued with regularity.  As long as your passport is not within 2 years of expiring you will be in line to get a 10 year visa unless the consulate feels that what you are going there for isn’t related to business or tourism.

There are still some conditions where a 10 year China visa is not applicable.  Public speaking or speaking at a conference for example, are not considered business and therefore does not fall under the 10 year visa category.   The reason is because public speaking in China is not considered a business visa.  It’s a different type of visa altogether.  Granted the consulate can make a mistake and issue a 10 year Business visa for public speaking but that is very, very rare.  For most tourist and business China visas, as long as your passport is valid for more than 2 years past your return to the States you should have no problem getting a 10 year China Tourist or Business Visa.  Granted the consulate can make a mistake in this instance as well but again, it is highly unlikely.

While most China business and China tourist visa are for 10 years in a majority of cases, it does not mean the Chinese consulates are being lenient on some of their requirements.  China continues to hold fast to the visa requirement that your passport must be valid for more than 6 months and have no plans to change that just yet.  So, if your passport has less than 2 years validity but more than 6 months remaining upon your return to the States you can still obtain a tourist visa or business visa.  You just will more than likely not get the 10 year Tourist or Business visa.  Also, if your passport is not in good condition or has water damage, the consulate can deny your application and force you to obtain a new passport.

We can help you apply for the Chinese Tourist or Business visa.  We have offices in Orlando and Miami that would be happy to assist with the applications and the process.  Please call us at 888-336-0683 or visit our site at www.passportsvisasandmore.com.