Are you getting ready to travel on an upcoming international or domestic performance tour? Make sure that you have the appropriate travel documents!
Each year, people all over the world arrive at the airport and are denied boarding because there is an issue with their passport or a discrepancy between official travel documents and the name on their ticket. Don't let this happen to you! Luckily, our Encore Tours Program Managers and Program Consultants prepare Group Leaders and their passengers and provide information like this blog post to ensure everything is in order for their upcoming performance tour.
Below is information on what documents and information Encore requires from each passenger to travel on an international performance tour, as well as best practices for travel documents.
Passports are required for all Americans traveling abroad. You are responsible for obtaining your own passport – so don't delay! Visit your post office or a local office for the federal government for an application form. For more information on what materials you'll need to apply for a passport, visit www.usa.gov/passport
Many countries require that passports be valid for at least six months after you return to the United States. One more time: passports should not expire for at least six months after you return to the U.S. Please be sure that your passport is up to date!
For more information about passport renewals and processing times, visit www.travel.state.gov
Visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to western or central Europe, Costa Rica, or Mexico. Visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Japan, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and other countries in Africa.* Encore Tours will assist U.S. passport holders in obtaining visas for these countries. Group Leaders will collect the group's passports and send them to Encore Tours for visa processing approximately 120 days prior to departure. Visas are necessary for participants connecting through these countries, even if they are not the final destination.
* Visas may be required for other destinations. Please contact Encore Tours for more information.
Important information for Non-U.S. Citizens
Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for obtaining all documents needed to enter the countries to be visited or connected through, and for reentry into the United States. Please consult the consular offices of the countries on your itinerary, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), for complete information. Non-U.S. citizens denied boarding for the countries to be visited or connected through are only eligible for a refund if they have purchased the Ultimate Protection Plan and cancel prior to the trip's departure.
If you are flying within the U.S., you will be required to present an ID card that matches the REAL ID Act requirements. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Real ID identification has been required to fly domestically since January 2018. How do you know if your state ID meets the REAL ID Act requirements? Check out this interactive map on the status of states and territories complying with the REAL ID Act. You can find out more on the REAL ID FAQ page of the DHS website.
Those 18 and younger traveling to Canada by bus can travel without a passport as long as they have either their original birth certificate or a certified copy with them in order to cross the border (if traveling by plane, or if they are 19 or older, they will need a passport). In addition, passengers should bring a government-issued ID (if available) to prove they are the person whose birth certificate they are presenting.
The passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. If you are traveling to Canada by bus, you can use a Passport Card as an alternative to the passport book. However, this is only valid if you are traveling to Canada by land. If you are flying into Canada from the U.S., you must have a passport booklet. Passport Cards are not valid for international travel from the U.S. to Europe.
Why Encore requires your full name
It is necessary that we have your first, middle, and last name on file exactly as your name appears on your passport. This is to ensure that your flight tickets match your passport and to avoid any unpleasant surprises on departure day!
Whether you travel by land, by sea, or by air (though by sea is not quite as likely!), having the appropriate travel documents, making sure they are up to date, and providing Encore with accurate information will help your travel run smoothly!
Contact the Encore Tours team with any questions you may have about travel documents.