The Newbie Guide to applying for a U.S. passport


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The Newbie Guide to applying for a U.S. passport

  1. 1. avie wt o at t http://aviewto -applying-fo r-a-u-s-passpo rt/The Newbie’s guide to applying for a U.S. passportRenee KingNow that you’ve decided totake the plunge to do alittle traveling across theborder, you should knowthat there have beenseveral changes regardingthe issuance of U.S.Passports in recentmonths which will af f ectyour travel plans.All U.S. citizens are nowrequired to have aPassport card in order tocross the borders toCanada or Mexico. Totravel anywhere elseoutside the U.S., you willneed a standard Passport.When should I apply fora Passport? Pho to c re d it: jame s he ywo o d .c o mMy advice is to go aheadand apply f or your passport if you have a reasonably good idea that you will be traveling internationally in thecoming months. You can never predict a delay of some sort happening, so don’t chance missing your f light byputting this of f .How long will it take to receive my Passport?T he standard processing time is between 4-6 weeks. If you will need your passport in less than two weeks, youwill need to schedule an appointment with your local passport acceptance f acility. If you plan during peaktravel seasons like the summer, be sure to apply within ten weeks of travel. Please note that in the rush to beatthe July 13, 2010 price increase, that there has been a large number of renewals that has extended theprocessing time to a solid six weeks. It will probably take that long f or the f oreseeable f uture, so planaccordingly.What if I need my Passport sooner than that?T here is an additional $60.00 f ee plus overnight delivery costs per application f or expedited applications. Ifyou choose to mail in your request be sure to clearly mark the overnight package “Expedite” and be sure toenclose the af orementioned proof of citizenship documents in the package; they will be returned to you.Where can I get a passport and how much does it cost?All f irst time
  2. 2. All f irst timeapplicants(and allminors, noexceptions)must applyin personat aPassportAgency,AcceptanceFacility, U.S.Embassy orConsulateto f ill outForm DS-11: Pho to c re d it: The Ne w Yo rk Time sApplication For A U.S. Passport. T he U. S. Department of State has made it easier to apply f or a Passportonline by using this wizard that will help you to determine the correct f orm that you will need to f ill out, howmuch you will have to pay and will allow you to complete and print out the completed application to take withyou to the af orementioned agencies. Be sure to leave the signature portion blank and do not sign thedocument until you are instructed by an agent to do so.As a general rule, passport f ees (which take into account price increases beginning July 13, 2010) are asf ollows:• New Passport (f irst time applicants)$110.00 plus $25.00 administrative f ee• New Passports f or children under age 16 (yes, even newborns must have one!)$80.00 plus $25.00 administrative f ee• Passport renewal$110.00 (it’s not necessary to visit Acceptance f acility; you can renew via mail)• New Passport cards (f irst time applicants)$55.00• Passport cards renewal$30.00• New Passport cards f or children under age 16$40.00• Passport cards f or children under age 16 (renewals)$15.00• Extra passport pages$82.00 (previously, they were f ree)What items will I need to bring with me when I apply for my Passport?In order to apply f or a passport, you will need to submit one of the f ollowing items to prove U.S. citizenship: Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport Certif ied birth certif icate (with registrar’s raised, embossed seal) issued by the city, county or state.
  3. 3. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certif ication of Birth Naturalized Certif icate Certif icate of Citizenship Additionally, you will need two 2” x 2” color photos (that you can buy f rom Walgreen’s f or 8.00) where one will be af f ixed to your passport and the other will be kept on f ile at the agency.What is an e-Passport?According to the State Department, the U.S.Electronic Passport (e-passport) is the sameas a regular passport with the addition of asmall contact-less integrated circuit(computer chip) embedded in the back cover.T he chip securely stores the same datavisually displayed on the photo page of thepassport, and additionally includes a digitalphotograph.T he inclusion of the digital photographenables biometric comparison, through theuse of f acial recognition technology, atinternational borders. T he U.S. e-passportalso has a new look, incorporating additionalanti-f raud and security f eatures.Since August 2007, the U.S. has been issuingonly e-passports. Passports without chipswill still be valid f or the f ull extent of theirvalidity period.When do Passports expire?T he Passport f or children under the age of 16years old expires af ter 5 years. T he passportf or adults expires af ter 10 years. Please notethat many countries require that you have atleast six months to go on your passport bef ore you can enter their country. In f act, some tour companieswon’t even book you nor will some airlines allow you to board if you have less than six months lef t on yourPassport. It’s advisable that you renew your Passport when there is about nine months lef t on it to avoid anysix month deadline conf licts.How will I know if a visa will be required where I’m going?
  4. 4. While U.S. citizens do not need a U.S. visa to travel, you may need a visa to travel to the country that you planto visit. T he Department of State has a list of every country that requires a visa. Use this searchabledatabase to determine whether or not your destination will require one. You will also be able to f ind out anytravel advisories, crime stats/penalties, traf f ic inf o, medical f acilities, etc. relating to that country by visitingthat website. Additionally, visas will not be issued if there is less than six months lef t on your Passport.Remember when you are traveling that your Passport is your proof of U.S. citizenship, so take care not to loseit. Your f riendly T SA agent and most assuredly, Immigration, will want to review it as you enter their country.Most travelers tend to store their Passports in their hotel saf e and carry photocopies of the Passport on theirperson. Or you may want to scan it and email it to yourself . Happy Travels!Renee King is an At lant a, GA based administ rat ive assist ant by day who spends most of herwaking hours plot t ing t he next excursion t o anyplace out side of her zip code. She want s t ot each t hose who t hink t hat t raveling is some unobt ainable dalliance f or t he rich and f amous ort he well connect ed, t hat it is not t rue.If you have never t raveled bef ore or want t o learn t ips on how t o see t he world f or as lit t le aspossible, subscribe t o her RSS Feed f or inspirat ion, reviews and t rip report s t hat will help yout o sample t he world by t raveling at a f ract ion of t he price!