A valid passport and visa are the only two international travel requirements that are required for every country. Each country has its own specific requirements that must be met when you first arrive.
Passports: Every person arriving in a foreign country must have a valid passport. Even babies and children must have their own valid passport. Passport applications can take from four weeks to six months so plan ahead. Infant and children's passports require that their photographs be updated more often than adults. Child passports are only valid for five years.
Need a passport?
Visas: Visas are documents that tell the country you are visiting why you are there. Visas for travel are different than business visas. Additionally student visas and worker visas are different as well. Visas become part of your passport. Passports have blank visa pages to allow you to apply for visas while you are traveling. It is important to have at least two blank visa pages. Occasionally there is a fee for a visa. Check with the state department to see if the country you are traveling to requires a visa.
Travel Documents: The only individuals who need travel documents in the United States are persons who are not American Citizens.
Travel documents allow non-Americans to depart and enter the country. Prior to leaving the United States you will need to fill out USCIS form I-131 and attach copies of the front and back of your alien registration form. Additional documents may be needed so call the passport agency or facility prior to your appointment.
Health: In order to enter any country you must be healthy. You will be denied entry if you are sick. Immunizations are also required for many countries. Some of these inoculations must be given over a space of time in order to be effective. Check with the State Department or the CDC months before you plan to travel. Many seasoned travelers keep a record of their immunizations inside their passport.
Additional Information: It is important to have a travel itinerary. Some countries require that you show proof of hotel reservations and financial stability. Keep a record of your motel reservations, your credit cards and air or train tickets with your passport. This allows the custom agent to hasten your entry into the country.
Keep in mind that your Embassy and Consulate are there to help you with additional International Travel Tips. They are there to assist you and ensure your trip abroad will be a pleasant one.
Visit often to learn more information from our updated International Travel Requirements.