International travel is always an exciting prospect! That is, until it comes time to go through the process of acquiring a passport. The entire affair can be rather lengthy and frustrating, but there’s no need to fret. Here are some important things you need to know about US passports!
Getting or Renewing a Passport
If you’ve never had a passport before, you’ll need to apply in person. Find the passport agency nearest you, and make an appointment with them. Be sure that you are aware of all the different types of documents that you will need to have with you!
If your passport has not been expired for over 15 years, you can apply for a new one through the mail. There will be a small renewal fee, and you will get your new passport (along with your old one) in four to six weeks.
If your passport has been lost or stolen, you’ll have to complete the application process over again. Unfortunately, you must be in possession of your old passport in order to have it renewed. If you’ve lost yours, you’ll be required to apply for an entirely new one and pay the $145 fee.
If you happen to run out of pages in your passport, you will have to apply for a new one. There used to be an option to simply add more pages for a fee, but this was done away with in 2016. If you’re worried about this being a problem, there is an option when you first apply to increase the page count to 28 or 52.
If you’re on a time crunch and need your passport sooner than the traditional four to six-week time frame, you can pay to have it expedited. There’s also the option of making an appointment and showing up in person at your local agency if you need it in less than two weeks.
Changing your name on your passport is free if it was issued less than a year ago. If it was issued before then, you’ll have to pay the standard renewal fee to get it changed.
Passports for Children
Anyone age 15 and younger is considered a child when it comes to obtaining a passport. The fee for a minor is reduced to $105, and there are slightly different rules to apply. Look online well ahead of time to learn what is required for your child’s passport.
New Passport Rules
In the past, a passport was required only for travel outside the US; however, the REAL ID Act that was updated in 2014 established new regulations for the information displayed on IDs used for air travel. Certain US states still do not comply with this act, meaning your driver’s license may not be sufficient for domestic travel, and you will need a passport to travel within the US.
Stay up to date on the status of your state’s IDs!