Many times, I am asked information about Passports. It is important to know basic facts about where and how to obtain a passport. Also, it is necessary to keep your passport up to date, and always keep it in the same place for easy access when it is time to travel. You should check your passport before you actually book your next vacation to be sure everything is in order. No one wants to get to the airport or cruise port and be denied boarding!
Below I have listed several questions that I am frequently asked regarding passports. Much more detailed information can be found at Travel.State.Gov website.
Where do I get my passport? – The first place that always comes to mind for people is the post office. I know this can be frustrating when it comes to getting an appointment.
Go to Travel.State.Gov, click on where to apply, then pick the choice that best fits your timeframe. The website will now ask you for your zip code, and a list places will be generated.
What do I need to apply? – Go to the Travel.State.Gov website and fill out form DS-11.
Then you will need evidence you are a citizen, like a certified copy of your birth certificate, or naturalization papers (more detailed information is on the website)
Additional form of ID – examples are drivers license, government ID, or Military ID
Bring a photo copy of the front and back of the ID above
If it is for a child under 16 – you must show parental relationship
Provide a photo that meets the size criteria, both Walgreens and CVS can take these photos
Calculate the fees so you are ready to pay at the end of the process
More details about other special circumstances are on the website
Can I apply online? – You can renew your passport online if you meet the following conditions. You must fill out form DS-82 and submit the following:
Your current passport
It must be undamaged (other than normal “wear and tear”)
Was issued when you were age 16 or older
Was issued within the last 15 years
Was issued in your current name (or you can document your name change with an original or certified copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)
Also, must be submitted with a new photo and the fees.
If you do not meet all the criteria above, you must go in person to renew your passport.
What if my passport is about to expire? – Many countries and even some airlines are suggesting that your passport must be valid six months after travel. Currently it is only sometimes required. You do not want to be denied boarding and miss your trip. So always check the expiration date when you begin to plan your itinerary.
Do I need a passport to Cruise? – You can only cruise in the Caribbean without a passport (Alaskan Cruises require a passport). If you choose to cruise without a passport, please note the following:
If you have an emergency of any kind and need to fly back to the US, you will not be allowed to fly!
I always recommend traveling outside the US with a passport!