Get Your United States Passport Now
Make a new years resolution to get yourself a passport this in 2013. You can’t leave the United States without one. Growing up in Oregon before the laws changed, our family on several occasions just drove over the border into Canada without any passports. This was also true once for Mexico. No more.
Applying for and getting a passport isn’t hard, but it is getting more expensive. Plus it takes time to get. Don’t find out that a great deal comes for a trip to Mexico or Europe and you don’t have a passport or have let your old one lapse.
As of this writing, you as a Citizen of the United States can apply for a passport. A passport will enable you to travel to most countries and the other upside is, a passport gives you another form of legal identification. Laws change. Take advantage of your opportunity now.
Remember, however, you might think the passport you have belongs to you. It does not. The passport you receive from the government belongs to the government. It must be treated with respect and kept in good condition. We recently heard about someone who booked a vacation to Belize, got to the airport with his family and was refused to board the plane. Why? His passport book was tattered and some of the pages were bent. Needless to say, he stayed home while his family traveled to Belize on vacation.
The Process of Applying for a United States Passport
The government has a wonderful website on how to get a passport. Please visit : Travel.State.Gov. The first requirement is to get a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you don’t already have one (and you should), go to the state’s website for your birth state and you can easily apply. Depending on the state this document may take several weeks to get. All states will charge different fees to have these copies made. I have several extra copies that I have in my possession now. Just in case.
The second document you will need is a “secondary identification.” For most of us that will be a current drivers license. They want copies of front and back. You can see more of the explanation for this in the website I listed above.
The third thing you will need is one Passport Photo. This photo has certain restrictions and requirements. I have had several Passport Photos taken recently for document changes for my marriage. I did all of mine at Walgreens. They charged $5.00 for each photo and it was processed within 10 minutes of waiting.
The application itself (DS-11)is available for download online. However, as a first time applicant you must apply in person with all the documents described above, along with the fee of course, which now is $165.00 of this writing. There are several local locations you can go to to apply. Again check out the website, you can enter your zip code and it will let you know of the locations in your area. They are usually post offices and city municipal offices.
It can take 4-6 weeks to get a passport back once you have applied.