Here are some helpful tips when it comes to you and your passport
1. How do you obtain or renew your passport?
If you have never had a passport before you will need to apply for one.
In the US you will need the following documents in order to apply for your first passport
1. Form DS-11
2. Proof of US citizenship (Birth or naturalization certificate)
3. Government issued photo ID (Drivers license or military ID)
4. COLOR passport photo
5. Fee payment (check or money order)
You will need to appear in person with this information. You can do this at some of the larger post office facilities. Check your local area for passport location.
If you are renewing your passport here is what you need.
1. Form DS-82
2. Original passport, undamaged and in your possession, was issued when you were 16 or older, was issued in the last 15 years, was issued in your current name or you can document your name change.
3. COLOR passport photo
4. Fee payment (check or money order)
You can submit all the above via mail to receive your new passport back to you via mail
This process can take up to 10 to 12 week so plan ahead accordingly. You WILL receive your old passport back along with you new one, it will be 'punch' so you can no longer use it, but can keep it for your records.
Did you know?
You need 6 month validity in order to use your passport to travel outside of the US.
What does this mean?
If your passport is going to expire within 6 months of your 'return' date from your travels, you MUST renew it before your trip. Current guidelines recommend if you are less then 9 months, to make sure you renew it ahead of time.
Remember to plan ahead, it will take up to 10/12 weeks for your renewal passport to come back to you.
What if you don't have time to wait that long?
You can renew your passport in less then 24 hours (weekdays ONLY)
HOWEVER, this is going to cost you, expect to spend several 100 dollars to do this over your normal passport fee. We have even seen as high as 500 dollars over the normal fee. You can do this with a passport renewal service or even with Fedex. Please note that if you are at the airport on a Saturday or Sunday and find your passport is not valid to fly, you will have to wait till Monday to renew. This can be done in just one day if absolutely necessary. Again, plan ahead to save you money and headache.
When traveling, keep your passport safe. It should be secured or hidden away and with you while abroad. This means if you do not have a safe in your room or the hotel keeps them in their safe, you should find a good place to keep it tucked away and out of site. This is your re-entry into the US and while we'd all like to say it would be fun to get stuck in some tropical place...in reality it WOULD NOT.
We hope this helps you avoid any issues with your passport.