• US Citizen Passport 101: What you need to know

    Your passport is your key to both business and personal international travels, and you don’t know just how important it is until it’s expired, misplaced or completely lost. Changes to your passport can take four to six weeks, unless you pay for expedited services as permitted under government schedules, making it even more crucial that you know the rules around updating your passport. Industry experts from passport and visa processing providers CIBT and A Briggs provide feedback below on common passport-related issues:

    U.S. Passports (State.gov photo)

    U.S. Passports (State.gov photo)

    Expediting your passport
    CIBT: For travelers with international travel plans confirmed in less than two weeks, there are a number of expedite options available from the U.S. government. At most agencies, passports can be secured in as little as one business day; however, an appointment with the government is required and travelers must make a personal appearance to show proof of departure.

    Name changes
    A Briggs: If you’re getting married or divorced and will be changing your name, the process is the same as renewing your passport with the addition of providing certified documentation of your name change.  

    Lost passport
    CIBT: To replace your lost/stolen passport, you must submit the appropriate application forms along with a statement regarding your lost/stolen passport. For passports lost or stolen overseas, you should immediately contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Once a passport is reported lost or stolen, it cannot be re-validated if found. 

    Validity of passport beyond travel date
    A Briggs: Travelers should have a minimum of six months of validity remaining on their passport prior to traveling internationally. Many countries will refuse to allow entry to anyone holding a passport that expires in three to six months. When in doubt, renew.

    Passport vs. passport card
    CIBT: Passport vs. passport card: The passport card is the wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea.

    Passport security
    A Briggs: Your passport is most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry it with you, you may wish to put it in a place other than your wallet or pouch. You can also obtain a passport card as a form of ID to use while your passport is locked in the hotel safe. 

    Do you have your own passport tips to share with other travelers? Post your feedback in the comment box below.


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