A true story…

A true story I heard recently — names changed!

Ashley Artiste stood at the airline check-in counter, doing her best to contain her excitement. She had been tentatively invited to a studio residency in Malta months ago. After meticulous planning and coordination — not to mention several reschedules — it was finally time to go!

While Ashley handed her paperwork to the airline representative, whose name tag read BELLA, in her mind’s eye she was already in a bright, quiet, airy room in Sliema, paint brush in hand…

“I’m sorry, Ms. Artiste,” Bella said. “I can’t allow you to board the plane.”

“What?” Ashley blinked, suddenly back at the gray, noisy departure gate. “But I tested negative for COVID this morning!”

“It’s not that,” Bella said. “It’s this.” 

She handed back Ashley’s paperwork, and tapped….

…the first page of her passport.

While Ashley had known that her passport needed to be valid in order to finally resume traveling, the global pandemic had brought so many other requirements — and distractions — that she hadn’t thought to check one small, but very important, detail.

Many countries require visitors to have passport validity beyond the duration of their trip. In some, like Malta, it’s three months. In others, it can be six months or more.

Your country’s international travel advisories can be an excellent resource for this information. For example, travelers with USA passports will find this on the US Department of State’s International Travel Country Information webpage:  Type the destination country in the “Learn about your destination” field, and then look in the resulting “Quick Facts” section.

If you are also resuming global travel soon, take a minute to check your passport’s expiry date — especially if it’s from a country with extended passport renewal time estimates. You might be very glad you did!

Written by Erin Fitzgerald, GMS, Content Manager