Passport Tip 1
All travel out of the United States requires a passport. The only exception being a cruise that starts and ends in the same US port. For example, a cruise departing from Port Canaveral going to Nassau and back to Port Canaveral. Technically, you can sail these itineraries with a birth certificate and a driver’s license. That being said, should you have an emergency and need to fly home, you cannot gain re-entry to the United States WITHOUT a passport!
Passport Tip 2
You can get information on obtaining a passport at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/how-to-apply.html You will need to fill out a form, get a passport photo taken and go to a local post office or courthouse that has a passport office. You will need supporting documents to apply. There are different requirements if you were not born in the United States. Please check the requirements for proof of citizenship. The standard turn around time to get a passport is 6-8 weeks at this time. Sometimes it is longer, sometimes it takes less time to obtain the passport. If you are in time crunch, you can apply for expedited processing at an additional fee.
Passport Tip 3
Passports for individuals 16 and older are valid for 10 years. Passports for travelers under 16 are valid for five years. Your passport must not expire within 6 months of travel! You may see an option for a passport card which is less expensive, this is NOT a preferred identification for international travel and has limitations on where it is valid for travel. It is better to go for the full passport book. Current fees are:
First Time Passport over 16: $145.00 (includes $35 due to the acceptance facility)
Renewal Passport over 16: $110.00
First Time Passport Under 16:$115.00 (includes $35 due to acceptance facility)
You cannot renew a passport for a child under the age of 16.
**this information is subject to change at anytime**
Passport Tip 4
Make a copy or two of the information page in your passport book. Leave one at home with a trusted family member or friend and keep one in your luggage, separate from your actual passport. In the event you lose your passport while traveling abroad, that information can help in the replacement of the passport at the US consulate in the country you are in.
Passport Tip 5
Note on your calendar or phone when your passport expires and put a reminder in six months ahead of time so you can apply for your renewal. You do not want to find out a few weeks before your long awaited vacation that your passport is expired or isn’t valid for the next six months! This way you have the proper documentation and you are ready to enjoy your next adventure wherever that may take you!