Completing Your Passport Application Is The First Step To Exploring The World

by erin on June 21, 2010

You are required to present your passport any time you travel outside the United States, even to our closest neighbors, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Mexico. Every member of your family, even children, are required to show their passport to enter a foreign country. There is a standard new passport application that you will complete to obtain one for the first time or for renewing an existing or expired passport.

Hard copy applications can be obtained at your local library and most post offices. Some post offices also have set hours when they process applications including taking the required two pictures for placement in your passport. To find out if a post office near you offers these services, call ahead or research the internet. All you need to do is type in your zip code and a list of available locations and service options will appear on your screen.

If you are computer savvy, you can locate an application on-line. Search for U. S. Passport on your web search engine. Government sponsored sites allow you to download an application and instructions for free. There are also several non-government sites that will pop up. These will help you through the steps to obtain an application and passport but there will be an additional fee for downloading their guidelines with the application.

You must apply in person if you have never applied before or are under 16 years of age. Along with bringing the filled out application, you will need pictures and identification including a birth certificate. Review the instructions to find out the approved forms of identification to bring with you. If you are renewing a passport and it has not already expired or was issued within the last 15 years, you simply need to send in the application, your fee and the original passport.

Are you thinking about traveling but not sure when? You should apply sooner rather than later. The routine application process is less costly and less stressful. After you submit your application, you should expect to receive your U.S. passports in four to six weeks. It may take longer during traditionally busy travel periods like summer. If you have to travel in less than four weeks, ask that your application to be expedited. If you are traveling under 14 days, you must schedule an appointment at a nearby passport agency. These are located in most major cities or regions of the country.

All applications, routine or expedited, first-time or renewal, require a fee. Once issued, your passport is valid for 10 years if you are over 16 and five years if younger. Traveling has become more and more complicated today and having a passport will make things much easier. Even crossing the border to Canada or Mexico, flying to Bermuda or the Caribbean, you need a passport.

Of course expedited or direct agency processing will cost you more than the routine method so plan ahead or make sure you really have to travel on your desired dates. When you travel for work, whether it be a private company or government, you should be able to ask for reimbursement. Often your agency or company will have a person on staff with the expertise or duty to help you.

Having a USA passport is positive in many ways. Not only are you able to travel whenever and most anywhere you want, it may help when you are required to present photo identification. When you are applying for jobs or various government benefits, you are required to present one or more forms of identification. Often if you show your passport, this will count as two forms of I.D. given the initial process you go through to get one. As the world becomes more and more accessible by plane, train, ship or auto, you will be glad you filled out and submitted that passports forms.

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