Updated: May 4
Passports are required for all persons traveling to any destination not considered US territory. So that means kids and babies too
Also, it's just good to have one. You’ll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time. Make sure to check requirements before showing up. Appointments may be necessary.
Here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly in any case.
I am providing basic information, for more details you must visit the federal passport website or a passport processing location http://travel.state.gov/passport/
Apply sooner than later.
The process takes typically 4-6 weeks and take in mind processing can always get delayed due to an unexpected increase in requests. Typically, the beginning of the year is always busy as compared to other times. We just went through a pandemic and travel has went full swing as people have decided it is safe to travel which has caused a major delay for well past the normal beginning of the year. It is best to apply now even if you don't have a tripped book or don't plan to travel for a year or more.
If you didn't get the memo, there are some options. Emergency or expedited passports are options for traveling in 6 months or less. Either way you will be paying additional fees which can make your investment pretty pricey. Visiting an official passport office is a must. Make sure you call or go online to make an appointment. There are few cases were you can show up in person and that policy could fluctuate.
Also note that if you already have a passport and it is due to expire 6 months prior to travel, you will have to get it renewed or you will not be allowed to travel. You can not use a passport to board a plane up to it's expiration date. Renewals are NOT processed any quicker than new passports
Complete as much of the application as possible before applying.
Applications can be partially completed online or printed from home to complete. You would then take that application to a processing location, usually a post office. Recently, the ability to renew online has been available for limited amounts of time. There are some cases where you would need to go into an official office, especially if it is an emergency situation.
You can use an app to create you passport photo.
There are many to choose from and several that are free. They are very easy to use and convenient. Be sure to follow the required guidelines listed on the passport website.
Yes, children need passports too regardless of ages.
They will also need notarized permission to travel if not traveling with parents. Each child must appear in person with both parents or one parent who also has a motorized document provided on the US Passport website.
Popular apps: ID PhotoPrint, Passport Photo Booth
Websites: epassportphoto.com, also the US Dept of State Template Tool will allow you to upload a photo and print from home or send to drugstore to print.
Understand what documents you choose to purchase
There are two documents you can obtain for travel:
The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, and cruises to the Caribbean, and Bermuda. It is less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air. Just Ask Kiky does not recommend using a passport card just in case of an emergency.
The U.S. Passport Booklet is what is required for all international flights and entry into most countries.
NOTE: These two documents are NOT the same. I have had clients tell me they had a passport and actually had a passport card thinking it was the same. None the less they did not get to board their original flight. If you have any questions on what can be used to travel, please be sure to inquire well in advance.
Go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/for details on requirements for passports.