What You Need to Know about Passports
A passport is quite similar to a driver’s license in the US. 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. Additionally, all countries issue their own internationally recognized passports, including the United States. The U.S. Department of States is the division of the government that has the authority to grant, issue, and verify US passports.
In order to apply for a new passport, you will need some documentation that will prove who you are and the application process usually take some time. For US citizens that have never applied for a passport before must bring a birth certificate, a current and valid driver’s license, government or military ID, two passport photos and of $97.
All children under 17 years old are required to hold a passport for all foreign travel. For children under 14 years old needs to have a consent from their parents or their guardians when applying 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. For the parents or guardians, a birth certificate, valid passport, or driver’s license is needed as a proof of their identity and citizenship.
In order to find a passport location near you, go to travel.state.gov and click on “Passports” then “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.
Renewal of passport is faster and less expensive than your first issuance. A person is eligible to renew a passport if is not damaged, has received it within 15 years, and still bear the same documentation and name for a legal name change.
There will be an additional small integrated computer chip on the back of the cover and a digital photograph in an electronic passport that will provide numerous benefits. One benefit is that the data that will be stored will be much harder to penetrate and change. Another benefit is that the digital photo will allow for biometric comparison through facial recognition technology. There will also be an additional anti-fraud security features included.
Wherever country you visit, it is a good idea to bring your valid passport with you all the time. Your passport will be stamped once you entered a foreign country. 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.