Think Quick: Where is Your Passport?

Something that we don’t think about, until it affects us, is the importance of personal paperwork. Paperwork can be the difference between easily moving between countries and having difficulty doing basic things like buying a mobile phone sim card. As a Human Resources geek, I constantly see the struggle of people to find documents they need for employment, or the long wait times to get them produced. Avoid the pain – get organised and you’ll be set for life! This can especially be a good exercise to go through if you are preparing to move.

Step 1: Gather Your Documents

1. Travel documents: Passport / Visa documents

2. Identity documents: Birth certificate / Marriage licence / Identity cards

3. Profession documents: Qualifications / Certificates / Memberships

4. National documents: Driver’s Licence / Healthcare System

Hot tip – if you are going to a country with a different official language, you may want to research whether you need to get your key documents translated, so they will be recognised in your new home.


Step 2: Record Your Documents

You will also want scans of each of these documents. With so much online these days, you will be endlessly uploading copies of your documents. With that in mind, in can be handy to have scans stored somewhere like Dropbox.

I also like to keep scans handy on a little portable hard drive, where I also store things like photos.


Step 3: Make a Designated Storage Place

A home for everything and everything in its home – or so the saying goes? Well this can not be more important than for these priceless documents. Find a spot where they will live, and abide by it religiously. When you get home from holidays, passports go straight back to the drawer. When you use your healthcare card, it goes straight back to its spot in your purse. Wherever these items live, there’s not really a right or wrong place, unless it’s not in the place you have decided, and then it is wrong.


Step 4: Set Reminders

Set up reminders in your diary for future renewal dates. You will want to kiss yourself when you easily breeze through customs with your new passport, while you see fellow travellers being pulled aside for having less then 6 months’ validity (yes, this is a thing in some countries).

And that’s it! You are officially set for life! It’s really very little effort for a huge amount of reward…

High five 🙌

P.S. I will admit something that I know is kind of crazy, but it helps me sleep at night. I invested in a little fire proof box to house some of our documents. I can’t imagine losing everything in something like a fire, and then having to go through an awful process of getting all your identity documents again – especially if the embassy is a hugely expensive plane trip away. So although highly unnecessary, I do like it.


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