Passport and Entry Requirements
Check that your passport:
- is not damaged
- is valid for more six months after your planned trip end date
- has four full blank pages left
If your passport fails on the above checks, you'll need a new passport. Usually it involves filling a few pages long form, paying around $150, and waiting at least two weeks. Use google to find out how to get a passport in your country.
If your passport is ok, the next step is to check the entry requirements, that is, visas and related paperwork. Enter your details at TravelDoc and check what the requirements are in your case. If it advises anything else than no visa needed, your next step is to find the embassy of your destination in your country, and find the information needed. Make sure you fulfill all the criteria to get a visa and other paperwork, and that there will be enough time for the process before your trip.
Remember that the embassy website should be your main source of information. You can use other websites for additional information, but treat them with caution. You don't want to rely your holiday completely on what some stranger wrote on the internet. Pay attention to the date the information was published, as entry requirements change frequently.
If you've been in trouble with the law before, double check the entry requirements. Most countries will have a good-character clause for admission even if it's not clear on the information you read online. What this means and how it's enforced varies. In this case, it's a good idea to give the embassy a call and explain your individual situation. This is specially true in popular destinations (USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand) where citizens can travel with no visa. But there are also good agreements in place to share criminal records among them, so immigration has easy access to individual criminal history that concerns them.
Always print on paper things related to entry requirements (e.g. airline tickets to proof onward travel). Don't rely on having the digital copy on your phone to show the immigration officers.
As there are 195 countries, and this will give you more than 37 thousands possible combinations of where are you from and where you're going to, it's beyond the scope of this article to give you specific advise. Google is your friend in this case.
Don't confuse immigration and customs. Immigration is concerned in controlling people getting in and out of a country. Customs is concerned in controlling goods getting in and out of a country.