Holidaying Abroad is Fun Provided You Carry along the US Passport!

Passports of United States are issued to both citizens and non-citizen nationals and the U.S. Department of State issues it exclusively in booklet form. For the Americans to travel anywhere in the world this booklet is valid although certain countries require a visa as well and conforming to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards Travel to the USA from another country also requires a passport. The passport an adult gets is valid for 10 years, but should be renewed before it expires, at least 8-9 months prior to that, since at least 6 months validity for entry is required in many countries.

Who requires a US passport?

To get a US passport can almost be like quick course in bureaucracy or a simple procedure. . For trips to Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico, according to a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), they accept a compliant document. A passport is required by all US citizens who are traveling outside the United States with no exceptions for children regardless of age. Infants and newborns also should have their own passport. For all Minors Ages 16 & 17 special requirements are there.For direct travel within the 50 States (including District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii) and U.S Territories passport is not required.

Requirements and Procedure for Applying

User need to apply in person if it’s the first time you’re applying, if you’re below 16 years of age or the passport issued previous was when you were under age 16. In case previous passport got lost or damaged or stolen or its more than 15 years since the previous passport was issued also you need to apply in person. In case of a name change also you need to apply in person. Also you need a proof for US citizenship when applying in person. One of the following as proof of citizenship is accepted 

-Certificate of Citizenship

-Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth

-Birth certificate issued and certified by the city, state or county of birth

– Previously issued, undamaged US passport

– Naturalization Certificate

– Valid Driver’s License

– Current Military ID (military and dependents)

You can submit an acceptable form of US Citizenship of Secondary Evidence if either one of the above don’t meet the requirements.

To start application procedure INS forms DS-11, the application for a U.S. Passport, need to be filled but signed in presence of passport agent ONLY. Along with the form, two identical US passport photographs need to be provided. The photos should show current appearance and taken within past six months and be 2 x 2 inches in size. Photos should be front view of full face with an off-white or plain white background. You should remember that from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head it should measure between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches. Normal street attire is the dress code and not any uniform. A hat or headgear that conceals the hair or hairline should not be worn.  If normally you wear a hearing device, wig or prescription glasses for the picture you should have worn it.

Processing procedure and time

When you are applying in person you can do it at any Passport Acceptance Facility mainly a Post Office or may be in one of the many state, Federal and probate courts or in one of county and municipal offices and pay the current fee. You can even apply in some public libraries for a US passport and pay the processing current fee. By paying an extra $60.00 fee you can expedite the process.You need to schedule an appointment in this case at any of the 13 regional passport agencies. After applying you can do an online check of the status. In case of renewals you can do it by mail paying $75 as renewal fee. 4 to 6 weeks of processing time is required. Once you receive the passport you’re all set and have it ready for your holiday out of the USA!

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