The New US Passport Rules Are Out

Last Revised on November 2, 2007

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Just in case you missed it, here is a news for you. US government has put forth a new passport rules as of October 1, 2007.
A simple driver’s license or a photo ID isn’t enough now to travel to Mexico, Canada, Caribbean and Bermuda by air for Americans. People have to carry passport along with them. These restrictions are only for travel by air yet, not until the restrictions for travel by land and sea begins in Jan 31. That’s coming next year. Then the American citizens will also need to carry a proof of citizenship along with the photo ID. Another thing is travelers who are age under 16 or traveling with a parent or guardian will have to carry a prove that they have at least applied for a passport if they are not carrying the passport with them.

The US state government has still to confirm the exact date for all the rule changes, but why not start the passport process early.
According to the US State Department, applying for a regular passport and getting it process can take from six to eight weeks while an expedited passport can take 3 weeks. Therefore, if you’re planning to travel this coming holiday seasons, it is highly recommended to apply for the US passport now. Or if you already have one, apply to expedite your passport now before the travel season kicks in. Just know that the expedited passport cost almost as twice as the regular passport application, which is around $95 per adult.

Government run post offices and other government buildings like public libraries and some municipal offices have set up one-stop locations for passport applications. They can take your photo and start the application process in few minutes. The State Department web site at www.travel.state.gov has all the resources you will need for your passport application. If you’re getting a passport for the first time, you’ll have to go to a passport acceptance facility in person. You can type in your Zip code and it lists down all the places where you can download an application. There you can indicate whether you are expediting the passport or applying for one. To get a passport through your post office, you need a legible proof of American citizenship (such as birth certificate or naturalization certification), proof of you identity, two recent identical 2-inch-by-2-inch passport photographs of you, passport application accompanied by a check or money order for $67 made payable to the State Department and a $30 execution fee made payable to the postmaster.

An Important Tip: if you are in a really desperate situation, you can try to get your passport in less than a week by finding out government passport agencies in your area. If you don’t know any, visit the website travel.state.gov and just type in passport agencies. The one thing you don’t want to do is use an expedited passport service from off the web from someone other than government run websites. There are lot of passport con artists online.

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