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Passport Problem

on November 29, 2011

Even a veteran traveler can hit a little snafu when it involves government red tape. My husband and I are leaving on a very much anticipated trip to Panama in a couple of days. Sort of a second honeymoon/anniversary type of deal. I’ve done tons of research, made reservations for hotels, tour and restaurants, made arrangements for animals left behind at home and was feeling pretty good about it all in general. Than about 4 am on Sunday I woke with a jolt and my heart racing. Dan and I both have valid passports – I’d been through a bit of panic back in October when I thought his was due to expire that month, but it’s good until Feb. 2012. Some bit of information was racing around in my head and it came rushing to the front all of a sudden. I hadn’t checked on the passport entry requirements from Panama’s end.

See, many countries have entry rules stipulating that a traveler’s passport must be valid for a number of months AFTER the trip. And yes, Panama is one of those countries and they require a passport to be valid for 3 months past the travel date. February minus December only equals 2 months. Dan would be denied entry on Thursday.

To be sure, the wording in the paperwork was a bit vague and in fact we even found a USAToday article stating that the passport must be valid for 3 months prior to the travel not after, but that is incorrect. Upon checking the official government website we resigned ourselves to the fact that Dan needed to get a new passport pronto.

Lucky for us, the National Passport Center is one of the passport expediting agencies and is located a mere 20 minutes away. There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled to get a passport in 24 hours, one of which is proof of an international flight within the next 2 weeks. A phone call later had him with an appointment for first thing Monday morning. The new passport was in hand by 8 pm Monday night. And we’ll be in Panama on Thursday as planned. As long as nothing else comes up.

Photo credit: Der Etienne,jaaron,damlan613/flickr


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