Your Passport Is Not Optional For International Travel

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14/04/2009 – Your Passport Is Not Optional For International Travel

This morning I received an e-mail from a photography colleague on a topic I had never really given much thought to. The e-mail asked me the best way to make a durable copy of a passport for his daughter’s study abroad this summer.

Many travellers make copies of their passport. In fact I highly recommend travelling with a copy of your passport should something happen to your passport while in transit and you need to obtain a replacement from an embassy or consulate. In quickly reading my colleague’s e-mail I replied that I thought a thick matte-heavyweight paper should be sufficient. Matte-heavyweight paper is fairly durable and can be printed in any home printer. After I sent my reply, I didn’t give it any further thought.

The following is the follow up question I received that lead me to wonder how many people planning for international travel think that carrying their passport is optional.

“Thanks for the quick reply. I figured heavy weight paper would be sufficient if folded and placed in an envelope. Does the copy need to be in color to be accepted by immigrations as a duplicate of the passport? I’d like to keep her original passport at home where it will be safe during her travels.”

While I understand the desire to keep a passport safe and secure, especially with a teenager traveling, you must have your original, government issued, passport with you to pass through immigrations. Many airlines require passengers to present their passport at check in, or at the gate area during boarding, to ensure that travellers have the required documentation. Failure to produce a valid, original, passport while checking in for most international flight would automatically have any passenger denied a boarding pass, or denied boarding at the gate.

Should a passenger manage to board an international flight without their passport, there is a good chance they’d be deported back to their country of origin.

When travelling internationally it is NOT option to travel with your original, government issued, official passport. Your passport must be in your possession for inspection by Immigrations upon arrival in a foreign country.

Happy Flying!


  1. And taken one step further, in some countries it is advisable to carry a passport at all times in case you are stopped by authorities – such as military road blocks. It can be the best form of ID, especially if you have visa’s or immigration stamps contained within. I can’t comprehend leaving it behind when I’m in a foreign country!

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