By Matisse Johnson
Passport Travel | Photo by Agus Dietrich on Unsplash
Travel 101 starts with the one item you absolutely must have for any international journey, your passport. If your preparing to study abroad or heading on a trip overseas, here is the step by step need to know about the little book that keeps you going places.
Getting your passport
The first thing to do when getting your passport is to visit your local passport acceptance facility, this can be a post office, library, or county court. The standard list of documents you’ll need to apply for a passport is proof of citizenship, either a birth or naturalization certificate will work, government-issued photo ID, a color passport photo, and ready to fill out a DS-11 form.
It is never too soon to apply for your passport, and typically it takes 6-8 weeks to receive your passport by mail. However, it is possible to have your passport expedited to receive it by mail in 2-3 weeks, and in case of last-minute traveling or emergencies, visit a local passport agency to receive your passport in 8 days. For even faster service, use a private passport expediter, its costlier, but may be worthwhile in last minute travel situations.
Renewing your passport
It is extremely important to make sure your passport is still valid for six months before going on a trip. There’s nothing worse than being at the airport and realizing that even though your passport isn’t expired, it has to be valid for at least six months to travel. Renewing your passport can be done in person or by mail, by filling out a DS-82 application form, which can be found online or at passport acceptance facilities.
Every country has different visa requirements, standard travel and tourist visas are normally fairly easy to obtain and typically allow travel around the country for up to 90 days, but it is very important to research the exact visa requirements for your destination. Head over to the countries official government immigration website for everything you need to know about visa requirements.
If you’ve been jet setting a lot and are running out of pages in your passport, it is time to get a new one. Some countries even require two to four blank pages in your passport in order to enter, this is another important thing to always check when planning to go abroad.
Passport cards are cheaper and a great thing to keep right in your wallet, they allow travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. For flights, you will need a passport book.
Lost passport while abroad
Losing your passport while traveling is never fun, but don’t stress, the first thing to do is find the nearest U.S embassy or consulate and report your lost or stolen passport. Head over ready to fill out paperwork and bring a new passport photo. A great rule of travel is to always have copies of your passport, as well as travel insurance. If your passport is stolen, consider filing a police report. If you need a passport in less than 24 hours, consider a passport agency.
Now you are ready to be whisked away and globetrot in style.