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Getting Your Passport In Person

Jan 5, 2008
It's vacation time! There are a lot of things to think about when traveling - where you want to go to and when you want to go, and how much time you'd like to spend there - but you also need to think about those little annoying things like the rules of travel, and even, getting your passport.

Travel outside of the United States requires a passport. For most people this is common knowledge, but other people may forget just how important it is to have a passport if you're going outside of the US. There are just a couple of countries that do not require seeing your passport upon arrival in their land.

When traveling to Canada or Mexico by land or sea, you may enter the country without a valid US passport, but you must have copies of both your driver's license and an official copy of your birth certificate. Traveling by air to these countries still requires a passport.

For people who have not yet had a US passport, there is a strict requirement that your passport is applied for in person. Probably the best way to do this is to look up which of your local US Post Offices accepts passport applications. Or, you can ask your post office in person.

You may not have a post office close to you. If you have a public library, a town office, a state office, a town clerk or other municipal office nearby, they may also accept your passport application. There are over 9,000 application acceptance spots for passports according to the US government's website.

When applying, bring your completed application (download a passport application off the Internet) along with two passport photos (2"x2", identical, obtainable at any photo processing store) to your selected site. You will also need proof of citizenship, such as your birth certificate.

Be prepared to also prove who you are. Proving your identity usually entails showing your driver's license or other identification card that has been issued by a state agency. Minors many not have cards like this, so they will need to be present at the application, and you will need to vouch for their id.

Aside from these few steps, the biggest hurdles remaining are the cost of the passport, which is around $100 (a little less for minors) and the wait for your passport to arrive. Depending on the backup happening during processing, you may be waiting up to eight weeks for your passport.

If you apply for your passport in advance (well in advance) of the time that you will need it to travel - three months is a good guideline - you can make sure that you will receive your passport in plenty of time for your trip, without having to worry about not making it in time for the big day!
About the Author
Aazdak Alisimo writes about travel subjects for NomadJournals.com - makers of travel journals that make great promotional gifts.
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