Common Passport Mistakes to Avoid


All the work is done, and now you have a new passport. It is time for you to take care of the document you have so that when you travel, you will not encounter any mishaps. There are many passport holders who just take the document and safely put it away until a trip is coming up. However, there are others who do not protect this important document. This article will give you some pointers about passport mistakes to avoid.

Not Signing Your Passport

Not signing your passport makes it invalid. So, the first thing you do after receiving it is to sign your passport. If your trip requires a visa and you submit your passport for one, it will not be granted if the passport is without a signature.

When you sign your passport, follow these steps to make sure it is adequately signed:

  • Sign in black or blue ink and not pencil or marker
  • Sign your full name as it appears in your passport, including your middle name and suffix
  • Minors under 16 can sign their passport or have it signed by a parent

Not Making a Photocopy

Making a copy of your passport will serve many purposes, but the most important one is in case your passport is lost or stolen. When you report it lost or stolen, you must complete Form DS-64 which asked for the passport number and issued date. With a copy, you can provide this critical information. You may not be able to travel with the print by it will serve as proof of citizenship. Also, some hotels accept the copy of a passport during check-in.

Not Making Corrections on Misspelt Name or Name Change

Checking that your name is spelled correctly is one of a few things you do as you get your new passport. If your name is misspelled, request a correction right away instead of ignoring it. Also, if you change your name legally, it is best to have your document correspond to your current name. By doing the change, you will avoid any problems leaving but most importantly coming back home.

To correct your name, complete Form DS-5504 and submit it with the passport. If done less than a year, it will be for free. If more than a year past, you must complete Form DS-82 submit with it a passport photo, an official document with the name change, and fee.

Not Checking the Validity

Another common mistake to avoid is not checking when your passport expires. Again, as you get your document, make a note of when it was issued and when it expires. By knowing this information, you will know when to renew before it expires. Some country requires six-month validity for entry, with less you may not be allowed to enter.

Now the expiration date will save you a great penny. Getting a new passport in a rush will cost much more if you use a private expeditor or go to a regional agency. By know when it expires, you plan and go to the post office to re-apply.

Carrying Your Passport in Your Back Pocket

On your trip, it is tempting to bring your passport in your back pocket for easy access. Just as how it is easy for you to access it, it will be the same for a thief. So, avoid carrying it in your pocket and have it stored in a safe place.

Also, having in it your pocket can lead to your passport getting damage. Your passport has a chip that contains all your information, and if it is not readable, then that could be a big issue when entering the country you wish to travel or returning home. Also, you might forget you even have it in your pocket, and you put your pants in the wash. Safeguard your document will avoid these preventable issues.

Not Getting a Passport for Your New Born

People tend to believe a newborn baby does not need a passport. Anyone traveling international needs a passport, regardless of the individual age. So, a newborn baby is no exception. As soon as you receive your baby documents, go ahead and apply for a passport. The passport will be valid for five years, so and your baby can travel without any problems.


So, this was just some common passport mistakes many will make while possessing a passport. Other mistakes can cost you a new passport. Try and avoid them by safekeeping your document, write and keep in a safe place your passport information, and start the renewing process at least nine months before it expires.

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