When traveling internationally it is vital that you have a valid Passport that is both up to date and in good condition. The U.S. Department of State recommends that anyone thinking of travel abroad, or who may have a job that could require international travel have a valid Passport. Some lessor known facts about Passports are… that to be valid a Passport must have an expiration date at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Additionally, travelers should be aware that a damaged Passport will not be accepted. The Department of State defines damage as “Water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing visa pages (torn out), a hole punch and other injuries.” To replace a damaged Passport one must make an in person visit to an Acceptance facility or Passport Agency. Mail applications will not be accepted. When you go you will need the damaged Passport, a completed form DS-11, your birth certificate and other items listed on the form. Normal wear that occurs when fanning the visa pages of a Passport, repeated opening and closing of the Passport and the expected bend that occurs when you carry the Passport in your back pocket are understandable and in most cases does not constitute “damage.” In these cases you can renew by mail using a form DS-82. As the State Department counts on the airlines to check your passports before flight, a traveller should not expect to be able to travel with a damaged Passport. Therefore, assuring that your Passport is in good condition before your trip is “must do” activity to assure that you have smooth travels. For those seeking a new Passport, you should mark your calendar for Saturday September 17th when Passport Day in the USA takes place. Here there will be many Passport themed events and an opportunity to apply for a new Passport at your Regional Passport agency. More information about this will be posted on our Travel N Relax Facebook page as the date approaches. For more information on Passports in general, we encourage you to visit the U.S. State Department Passport page by clicking here.