Passport Information for Travel
When considering international travel, a passport document is a very important item to have. In order to legally leave and reenter the United States, a passport document is required. Supplied by a national government, a passport contains vital identity information of the person it is issued to. Passports may or may not be issued by the traveler’s home government, but always contain their nationality. This universally accepted official form of identification also includes a photo of the person it is issued to.
In the United States, the initial application fee for an adult passport generally starts around $150. For minors, the cost is around $125. These prices vary according to processing fees and yearly changes by the State Department, but will usually be somewhere around this number. If it has been over fifteen years since the initial passport was issued, a renewal fee near the same price will be charged. No-fee passports are also available for certain individuals.
When initially applying for a passport, one must do so in person at an officially recognized location. These locations include several regional centers, clerks of the court, and post offices. Check an online listing of these locations prior to arriving, as not all of them are official passport centers.
Before applying, it is important to have a specific passport photo taken. These photos can usually be taken at many photo processing stores for a small fee. They are usually two inches square in size and two copies will be needed. Documentation of nationality is also needed, which can usually be satisfied by a certified birth certificate and/or valid driver’s license. Passport application forms can be printed and filled out ahead of time, making the application process easier at the center. After submitting documentation at an official location, the passport document will be sent to the applicant via first class mail within a few weeks.
If a passport is lost or stolen, it can not be re-validated. Instead, the State Department must be contacted to file a report by calling 1-877-487-2778. The traveler will then be directed to a nearby passport center to submit paperwork to replace the document. If a passport is lost or stolen abroad, the nearest United States consulate or embassy will need to be contacted immediately.
Before planning any trip outside the United States, make sure all passport documents are current and legal. While it may seem a little daunting to obtain a passport, the privilege of international travel is well worth it.