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What You Need to Know about Passports

A passport is like a driver’s license in the United States. It is a very important document that is recognized globally, commonly used for international travel that will verify your identity and what place you are from. Most countries would really require a valid passport to enter and exit. Additionally, all countries issue their own internationally recognized passports, including the United States. In the US, the Department of States is the division of the government assigned to grant, issue, and verify US passports.

To apply for a new passport, some documentation is required validating who you are. For first time US citizens that have never received a passport before need to bring a valid and present driver’s license, birth certificate, two passport photos and also $97 for the fees.

All children under 17 years old are required to hold a passport for all foreign travel. While children under the age of 14 are required to have either both parents’ or guardians’ consent to apply for a passport. For children born in the US, that things you need to bring are 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.

The easiest way to find a passport location near your area is to type 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 getting your valid passport, it will expire after a full ten-year period.

The renewal of your passport is much easier and faster and inexpensive compared to the original issuance. You are eligible to renew your passport if it is not damaged, you have received it within 15 years, and still have identical documentation and name.

Electronic passports or “e-passports” are in the works in the United States, and it will be the same as the present paper passport. First benefit of this electronic passport is that the data stored will be difficult to alter and infiltrate. Second benefit is that through facial recognition technology, the digital photo will used for biometric comparison. 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. When you exit, the U.S. Department will verify what places have you been to, how long were you there, and what items you have to declare.

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