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Got Your Passport Yet?

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robertdjung's picture
Joined: Oct 31 2006

Don't get caught having to delay your trip b/c you forgot to get a renewal or apply!

I have a friend that recently got her's in record time, but they still say that it should take 6-8 weeks.


Passport Pointers
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[LEFT]As of Jan. 31, 2008, new passport regulations were implemented that may affect the travel plans of both U.S. and Canadian travelers. Oral declarations of citizenship by all adult travelers will no longer be accepted. They will be required to present proof of citizenship when entering through both land and sea ports.

And, since the basic renewal application – now costing $75 as of February 2008 – indicates it takes between six to eight weeks to get a new passport, it’ll take some pre-planning to get everything in place.

You must go in person if you meet one of the following guidelines: If you are getting a passport for the first time, if you don’t have your expired passport, if your previous expired passport was originally issued more than 15 years ago, if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under the age of 16, or if your current valid passport has been lost or stolen.

U.S. citizens need to go to one of the more than 9,000 U.S. passport facilities with two properly sized photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license. Photos must be a 2-inch-by-2-inch head shot with a white or off-white background.

Previous holders of passports can renew by mail if your most recent passport is available to submit and not damaged, the passport was received within the last 15 years, you were more than 16 years old when you got your most recent passport, you still have the same name, or you can legally document any name change. A renewal application can be downloaded from the [URL]http://travel.state.gove/passport[/URL] Web site or an application can be picked up at any U.S. post office.

U.S. citizens were allowed to apply for the new U.S. passport card as of Feb. 1 of this year.

The main differences between a passport book and a passport card is that the book is valid for travel by air, sea or land. The card is not for travel by air, but only for land and sea crossings between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. The book is 5 inches by 3 ½ inches in size; the card is wallet size. For first time applicants, the book is $100 for adults and $85 for minors; the card is $45 for adults and $35 for minors. The renewal cost for the book is $75 for adults. The cost for the card for people who already have a passport book is $20 for adults. The cost for first-time applicants who want both is $120 for adults and $95 for minors.

Both are good for 10 years for adults and five years for minors.

Eventually, passports will be required at even more travel points. Sometime before June 1, 2009, passports will be required for cruise passengers and land border travel entering or re-entering the United States.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires all people traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a valid passport upon re-entry of the United States.

Travel between the United States and U.S. territories, however, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Swains Island, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will not be affected. U.S. citizens will not need to present a passport when traveling to these locales.

You can get passport photos taken right at the post office. It costs a few dollars more, but everything will be done in one stop.

Apply early to allow time for processing and anything that could possibly delay the passport, such as the volume of requests. Standard processing takes from six to eight weeks, but the best advice is to get a passport as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute.

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