passport requirements for SA

Old Jan 31st, 2005, 07:03 AM
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passport requirements for SA



hello again--

my boyfriend and i are experiencing some confusion over passport requirements for americans traveling to SA. our hotel owner said that officials are extremely strict at the airport and will send back tourists whose passports are not valid for at least 6 months past their intended stay. when we called the SA embassy, we were told that the requirement was 30 days. i have read both of these requirements on various websites. my boyfriend's passport is good thru july--he cannot get it renewed before our March trip because of business travel.

i am quite concerned that we might encounter a problem at the cape town airport. does anyone have any firsthand experience with this or know what is actually enforced at immigration??

thank you!!
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Just returned from SA. It seems they are quite strict about the 6 month deal. You must also have 2 empty pages in your passport. Although I do not think they always abide by these rules..there have been tourists who are sent home. You should always have 6 months available on your passport. You can easily renew your passport in a few days..costs a little extra but well worth the peace of mind.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Actually, I just paid the extra $60 to have mine expedited and they guarantee it back in 2-3 weeks not 2-3 days. My boyfriend is an American working in London with his work permit inside his passport. Renewal for him is not so simple.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 09:55 AM
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I believe it is possible to get extra pages added to your passport at the embassy in London (I'm also an American living in the UK). It is also possible to get an extension on the validity of your passport, which might be faster than getting it renewed.

I've never been asked to show my work permit in the UK unless I am entering or leaving the country. Since a renewal can be expedited, it may be possible for your boyfriend to get his passport extended or renewed during a time when he doesn't need to enter/leave the UK. Of course, a copy should be made just in case.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 11:11 AM
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You can get a new passport expedited in a couple of days. Now I am not sure whether you are a US citizen living in the UK or not?
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Have your boyfriend go to the Embassy in London and put it in their lap. Have him tell them his situation and ask them to handle it. This way he's in London, his passport is in London, they should be able to handle. Embassies are good at getting replacement passports (in case of loss, stolen, etc.) in a day, so his situation shouldn't be unusual.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:52 PM
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do the 2 empty pages have to be empty on front and back? and do the pages have to be one right after the other? these border agents stamp all over the place!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 01:29 PM
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It's robably best that pages be next to (facing) one another, as the first page is for the Visa label that it is attached, whereas, the facing blank page is the one that gets the stamps - entering, departing, re-entering (during same trip, i.e, to Zim for Vic Falls) and returning, then departing; Or it could be to/from Botswana.

If you're not doing alot of entering, leaving, returning, etc. it would seem that a single blank page (front/back) would work. And if you only have that one page and your passport isn't about to expire for two or more years, you can send the passport in requesting additional pages. There is no fee for this; believe their is an application for this on the US Passport site. When I did mine, the passport was returned within 3-weeks, but don't know whether that is normal or it can take longer. If you choose to add pages, allow sufficient time to turn this around.

But I hear you about Immigration worldwide having a habit of stamping helter skelter. I eventually, stopped that by handing the agent the page I specifically wanted stamped and I've found immigration agents to be more then agreeable. A few pages up front have a mish-mash of all kinds of stamps, but those further on and the subsequent pages I had added are pretty neat, if I must say so myself. Try it. Worked for me, should work for anyone. Just ask.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:01 PM
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In my research before our trip, the rules were two passport pages facing each other. We were told this was strictly enforced. We did not want to test them.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:06 PM
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In my passport in June/2004 the SA customs official put the visa label on a page that had a Mexican and an Italian stamp. Which was opposite a page mostly filled with other stamps! This even though I had a couple empty facing pages left.

Customs agents always do things the same way and by the book, except when they don't. ;-)
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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Thanks everyone! I think I'm safe but will order up some extra pages if I need to.
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