Is Your U.S. Passport Ready for Summer Vacations?

At this time of year, many Americans start to think of vacations, as the spring and summer are traditional times for travel and trips. This is therefore a good time to ensure that your passport is in good shape for the upcoming vacation season. All US citizens who are traveling outside the country for vacation this year will need a valid US passport to leave and re-enter the country. In addition, the passport must contain enough blank pages to accept any visas needed for travel abroad.

If you will be vacationing outside the US, a passport is a vital document. It allows you to get a visa or other travel authorization to travel outside the US. It also allows you to re-enter the US. If you run into any problems while abroad, your passport serves as important identification and can help you secure the services of a US consulate or embassy. Whether you have a passport that needs renewal or need a new passport, now is a good time to get started. If you wait until travel season, you may face delays as other travelers will also be renewing their passports or applying for their US passport. As well, if you apply at the last minute, you may need to pay expediting costs or delay travel until your passport arrives.

If you don’t currently have a passport, you will generally need to file Form DS 11 to get a US passport. As part of the process, you will need to visit a passport office and also submit two passport photos. If your passport is lost or stolen, you will generally need to file Form DS-64.Passport renewal can be accomplished by filing Form DS-82, (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail). If your passport is damaged, you will also need a new passport and will need to apply for passport renewal, as damage to your passport can affect your ability to travel freely. Your new US passport will be mailed to you. If you need new pages for your passport because your current passport is almost full, file from Form DS-4085. New pages will be sent to you in the mail so that you can travel without problems.