A Passport is Required for ALL International Travel
A passport is required for ALL international travel. If you’re traveling anywhere overseas, even to Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico, you need a passport to board an international flight and to enter any country. In general, your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date you enter a foreign country.
Visit the U. S. State Department’s website if you need a new passport or your passport is about to expire. There, you can find information on obtaining first time passports, passport renewals, second passport issuance and extra blank pages for an existing passport. You can also visit the U. S. Postal Service to find the closest Post Office that can also provide new and renewal passport services.
Time To Renew Your Passport? We Can Help
About ten years ago, the US State Department and Homeland Security started the Western Hemisphere Initiative for passports. Hundreds of thousands of Americans secured a passport to travel abroad during this time-frame. Those travel documents are starting to expire and we expect the US Passport Offices will begin to experience processing delays. Don’t get caught with an expiring passport, check the expiration date on your passport today!
U.S. Department of State to Stamp Out Additional Passport Pages
Much to the chagrin of frequent international travelers, the U.S. Department of State is poised to do away with additional passport pages. By the end of 2015, travelers will no longer be able to add extra pages to their U.S. passport, instead having to renew their passport altogether, which requires more money and additional paperwork. According to Allied Passport & Visa, beginning Dec. 31, 2015, passport holders will no longer be able to simply pay for extra pages to add to their book when they run out of room. Therefore, travelers looking to do so will have less than nine months to shell out the $82 fee for more pages. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have your documents sent in by Dec. 18 in order to have the extra pages added before the new policy takes effect. But there is some good news that comes from the State Department’s decision. New passport holders will be issued a 52-page “jumbo” book that will feature 20 more pages than the current standard passport. But at the same time, the increase in pages will also make the book more difficult to carry around, especially for frequent travelers. Outside of the inability to add extra pages and the size of new passports, there appear to be no other significant changes on the horizon. U.S. passports will continue to be valid for 10 years and travelers won’t have to worry about registering and paying for new visas before they expire so long as they bring their old stamped book along with their new one.
What you need to know about Passports…
Passports used to be valid for 10 years — and they still are. (It’s five for children.) But increasingly, said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary for passport services, countries demand that your passport has at least six months on it before the expiration date, a growing issue in European countries. Your passport may be perfectly valid, but it may not be accepted. Her suggestion: “Once you pass the nine-year mark, it’s time to get a new passport.” You used to be able to submit your passport application at just about any post office. Now not every post office accepts applications. Sometimes libraries do. Sometimes court clerks do. The days of passports with un-numbered pages are numbered. Sprague said the book’s pages had contained numbers at one time; that was stopped. Starting in 2016, pages will again be numbered so it will be easier to tell how many pages you have left. That’s important because some countries won’t accept passports that have fewer than four pages remaining. The bad news? Starting in 2016, you won’t be able to add pages to your passport. People who travel a lot often run out of pages for visa stamps; pages could be added. But, Sprague said, “Nobody does (that) anymore. It is not state of the art; it is archaic.” The good news? You can order a passport book that’s 52 pages (43 for visas) instead of the standard 28 (17 for visas), and it doesn’t cost extra. (It’s available now, by the way.) If you think you might need extra pages, you can ask for the bigger book, although the State Department website says that’s not guaranteed. The 2016 model passport will contain a polycarbonate page in which your info chip is embedded and thus better protected, something many countries are doing, Sprague said. The coating helps if your book gets wet or you sit on it and bend it, she added. Passport processing’s stated times are generally four to six weeks, but, Sprague said, “we consistently beat that.” About 20 percent of passport applications encounter problems, which means most do not. Since summer 2007, when a record 18.3 million passports were issued and applications moved more slowly than a slug in the sun, the number of passport adjudicators has doubled, she said, improving wait times. “Our goal is no missed trips,” she said — trips that aren’t missed because you don’t have your travel documents. (You’re on your own if you oversleep and miss your flight.) Remember when it was the rare American who had a passport? In 2013, 117.4 million Americans had passports; in 1989, that number was 7.3 million. “The most important thing is when people need a passport, it shouldn’t be an ordeal,” she said. “People are entitled to travel internationally. … We want to open up the world.”
U.S. Department of State
The mission of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is to protect the lives and interests of American citizens abroad and to strengthen the security of United States borders through the vigilant adjudication of visas and passports. CA contributes significantly to the USG goal of promoting international exchange and understanding. Our vision is to help American citizens engage the world. The Bureau issues the travel documents that allow Americans to travel the globe and lawful immigrants and visitors to travel to America and provides essential cycle of life services to American citizens overseas.