Planning Matters.

A Vacation Abroad: Is Your Passport Ready?

Are you planning a vacation that will require a passport? If you need to apply for a passport or if your current passport is going to expire, it’s a good idea to plan on getting this taken care of well before your departure date. Finding out that you won’t have your passport in time for your trip will wreak havoc on your travel plans, to say the least.

In 2007, there were more than 18 million passports issued due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which required that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, entering the United States by air from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean have a passport. Since passports expire after 10 years, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has stated that they are expecting to see an increase in passport applications and renewals through 2018. Proper planning can prevent you from needing to pay an additional $60 for the expedited service due to potentially longer than expected processing times.

Depending on where you are traveling to, the country of your destination may require that you have at least 6 months of validity on your passport in order to enter the country. So be sure to see if your destination has this requirement and plan accordingly.

Be sure to remove your eyeglasses when you have your passport photo taken (unless you have a letter from your doctor stating that you must wear them for medical reasons). This is a fairly new requirement that was put into effect as of November 1, 2016 to help clearly identify passport holders. Also, make sure that your passport photo is clear, your facial expression is neutral, your position is centered in the picture and there are no shadows around your face or in the background. Passport photos that do not meet these governmental requirements will be rejected.

If you are applying for a passport or renewing your current one, it’s essential to make sure that you follow all of the passport guidelines exactly, or the processing of your passport may be delayed. If you need help or have questions, one option is to visit the National Passport Information Center at the following website: http://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/national-passport-information-center.html

So not only is it important to plan well financially for your trip, it’s also important to plan ahead to make sure your travel documents are ready and valid well before your departure date. Doing so will help reduce anxiety and will help you to have a relaxing and joyful get-a-way.

Wishing you safe and happy travels!

For more information on renewing or applying for a passport, requirements for passport photos, or to stay up to date on current changes and guidelines, please visit the following website: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html

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Written By Lana Alvarez