passportvisapagesSince we had this question from some women going to India with us in October,:here is a primer on visas.

To enter foreign countries, (or for non citizens to enter the US), travelers need a visa. If you look at your passport, you will see pages called Visa Pages. For many countries, US Citizens only need to have their passports stamped when they arrive overseas-that stamp is a visa.For Morocco for Thanksgiving, US citizens get their visa stamp on arrival easily.

However, for some countries, US citizens need to get a visa stamped in their passports before arriving. Argentina is on line with a printed paper, but India is on line with more documents to be presented.

Countries require visas for immigration purposes, and for revenue. So if you need a visa for your trip, first ask us for help, then prepare the papers exactly as requested by the foreign government, mail your passport and the papers, along with any fee required. If you live in a city where you can do this in person (like I did for India in New York at their visa office), then make your appointment, prepare patiently for wait time and do it yourself.  Or you can mail in all the information but remember to use tracking for the mail in both directions.

If you live no where near an appropriate office, then you have another option which is to use a ‘visa service’. They basically replace you, and bring your papers to the office and get your stamp for you and return your passport to you by mail.

If you are a big traveler, always renew your passport in time and always have  6 months left from the last day of your next trip!  Monitor your visa pages so you have some empty ones for new visas. When you re-enter the US, you can ask the immigration officer to use an already stamped page- they do not have to but if you are running low on empty pages, you can at least ask.  Of course, when you renew, ask for a 52 page passport.