Prepare Carefully for International PADI Scuba Dive Trips
If you are want to travel outside you home country, you need to prepare carefully for international PADI scuba dive trips. The last thing you want to happen is to get far away from your home only to learn that you have failed to perform a step to allow you to enter the country where you wish to dive or that you have left your PADI Certification Card at home and can't rent equipment or get your tanks filled with air.
Of course, laws about entering any country are governed by that country and can change at any time. It is important that you check with the embassy of the country you plan to visit and ensure that you know the very latest rules and regulations about entering and leaving that country so that you can travel freely and safely without hassles.
If you are a United States citizen and choose to travel on your international PADI scuba dive trip to a country where a passport is not required, you will need proof that you are a U.S. citizen and proof of your identify. The proof of citizenship is usually documented with an original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal or with a U.S. passport, expired or valid. If you are a naturalized citizen or were born abroad, a Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, Report of Bird Abroad of a Citizen of the United States will act as proof of citizenship.
To prove your identify yourself during your PADI scuba dive trip, you'll need a valid driver's license or government identification card. This identification must have a physical description of you as well as a picture. This will also act as a second form of identification. However, for travel to many countries and for easy reentry into the United States a valid passport is the best identification.
Some destination countries may require that your passport be valid for at least six months or more beyond the dates of your travel. If your passport is near expiration, you'll need to apply for a new one and have time to receive it before you international PADI scuba dive trip to any of these countries. Check on the current travel regulations to learn if your destination has time requirements on the length of passport validity to enter their country. Contact the Embassy or Consulate for the country you are visiting to get details.
If you must apply for a visa to visit the country of your choice, be sure to sign your passport in ink and pencil in your address and daytime telephone number in the spaces provided before you send it through the mail with your visa application. Should your passport somehow become separated from the envelope, the U.S. Post Office will be able to identify it and returned it to you easily.
If you are planning to go PADI scuba diving in certain Middle Eastern and African countries, you may not be able to obtain a visa or obtain entry if your passport shows that you have been in Israel. Again, consult the Embassy or Consulate of the country you plan to visit on your dive trip before making final plans.
As of December 31, 2006, any travel, whether for a PADI scuba dive trip or other purpose, to or from American, the Caribbean Islands or Bermuda will require a passport to re-enter the United States. As of December 31, 2007 all travel by air, land or sea to and from Bermuda, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South American, Mexico and Canada will require a passport to re-enter the U.S. If you have questions about these changes and how they may affect your dive trip plans, contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
If your PADI scuba dive trip plans take you to a country where a visa is required, you must obtain it from the appropriate Consulate prior to exiting the United States. You'll need to allow plenty of time for processing your application. While there are Consulates in most major cities representing most countries, you may have to get your visa from the Consulate in the area where you live to meet regulations. Once you receive your visa, be sure the document is correct and has not errors. This is a very important step so that you do not have problems entering and leaving countries during your trip.
If your PADI scuba dive trip takes you to certain countries, you may be required to provide an International Certificate of Vaccination as protection against yellow fever. Medication for malaria and other preventive treatments may be advised for travel to countries where certain diseases are prevalent. To learn exactly what the requirements for your specific destination may be, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Depending on the destination of your PADI scuba dive trip, you may have other requirements to meet such as HIV testing, additional fees, customs restrictions and other facts you will need to know about in advance. Don't depend on a travel agent or other third-party to take care of these details for you. Contact the appropriate authorities yourself to ensure your travel is safe and pleasant and that you have an enjoyable PADI scuba dive vacation.