What You Need to Know about Passports
In the US, a passport is same as the driver’s license. A passport is an internationally recognized document, usually used when traveling abroad to verify who you are and what country you are from. Almost all countries need a valid passport for you to enter or exit. Since it is a very important document, very country issue their own internationally recognized passports. In the United States, the one who is responsible for granting, issuing, and verifying US passports is the Department of States.
To apply for a new passport, you will need documentation that will verify who you are, as well as some time because it takes quite long to go apply. For first time US citizens that have never received a passport before need to bring a valid and present driver’s license, birth certificate, two passport photos and also $97 for the fees.
All children under 17 years old are required to hold a passport for all foreign travel. Children under 14 are required to have their parents’ or guardians’ consent in order to apply for a passport. Children born in the US who wish to apply for passport will need to bring a birth certificate, two photos, and the fees. The parents or guardians will need to provide proof of citizenship and identity, such as a birth certificate, valid passport, or driver’s license.
The best way to find a passport location near you is to visit the website travel.state.gov and click on “Passports” then on “Where to Apply for a Passport.” It will usually takes two to six weeks to get your passport once it has been issued. After you received your valid passport, you can start using it until its expiration after a full 10 years.
As compared to your first issuance, renewal of your passport is less expensive and quicker. You are eligible to renew your passport if it is not damaged, you have received it within 15 years, and still have identical documentation and name.
Electronic passports or “e-passports” are in the works in the United States, and it will be the same as the present paper passport. First benefit of this electronic passport is that the data stored will be difficult to alter and infiltrate. Another benefit is that the digital photo will allow for biometric comparison through facial recognition technology. There will also be a feature included on the electronic passport that will secure anti-fraud.
Regardless of which country you are going, it is always smart to carry around with you your valid passport. As you enter a foreign country, your passport will be stamped. Upon exiting, the Department of the United States will verify the places you have been, how long you stayed there and what items you have to declare.