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U.S. Passport Guide : Travel Advice and Passport Information

Passport Validity Requirements for Top Destinations

July 22nd, 2015
There's a passport requirement you may not know about, and it could cost you your trip. No matter how long you plan to stay, many countries require that your passport has at least six months left before it expires. If it expires any sooner than that, they'll turn you away. Does your passport expire this year? We've compiled a list of passport requirements for the most popular destinations according to market research firm Euromonitor. Read on to see whether or not you'll need a passport renewal before your next trip. Passport Validity Requirements for Mexico Mexico is by far the most popular US destination, with 21,297,000 US visitors expected this year.  Returning to the US from Mexico is covered under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). What does that mean to you


Warning: New Passport Requirements for Sport Fishing Mexico

June 25th, 2015
Planning a fishing trip near the coast of Mexico? There are some new passport requirements you need to know.  Anglers now need a passport to fish in waters within 12 miles of the coast of Mexico, even if they leave from the United States and never step foot on dry land. To fish in the waters off Mexico, you need an FMM visa. Previously, the government of Mexico would issue these visas with just a government-issued ID, or even a birth certificate. Now, you need a passport. This isn't really a new rule; in fact, the passport requirement has been in place for a number of years. Now, Mexico has gotten serious about enforcement. As Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, explained to the San Diego Tribune: “For those applying for an FMM (visa), the governm


New Passport Office Opens in Virginia

June 11th, 2015
There's a new passport office available for Virginia residents, just in time for the busy summer travel season. If you live in or near Roanoke, Virginia, you can now apply for a passport at the South County Library in Southwest Roanoke County. If you work during the day, you'll be pleased to note that this new passport office location offers convenient evening and Saturday hours, too! No need to request time off work or to spend your lunch break doing paperwork instead of eating. Now, you can just make an appointment at the library. As Michael Meise, Roanoke County Public Library assistant director, told the Roanoke Times: “There is a limited number of passport acceptance facilities in the Roanoke Valley, and none of those are open past 5 p.m. Libraries are a natural fit for thi


When Do You Need a New Passport Photo?

June 2nd, 2015
[caption id="attachment_4121" align="aligncenter" width="655"] © Karenfoleyphotography | - Passport Picture Photo[/caption] Love it or hate it, you're stuck with your passport photo for the next decade. But what happens if your appearance changes? Will you need a new passport photo? In most cases, no, according to the State Department.  Rebecca Dodds, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, told, "As passports are valid for 10 years, the Department (of State) understands that applicants may undergo significant changes between the time the passport is initially issued and the time it is renewed."  Fashions may change with the season, but passport control officers are trained to look at facial features that stay constant. So, you can go from preppy


US Passport Security Features: 4 Facts You Didn’t Know

March 25th, 2015
The first US passports were simple pieces of paper. Times have changed, and today's passports rely on cutting-edge technology to protect against forgery.  While most of that technology is top-secret, here are four elements that distinguish a real passport from a fake. Ink: More than Meets the Eye Put your passport under a black light and prepare to be amazed, as special fluorescent ink creates glowing patterns across the pages. While this makes for a cool party trick, the UV-reactive ink is actually a security feature. According to a recent article in Gizmodo, your passport is printed using a variety of specialized inks with properties that are difficult for forgers to duplicate. As another example, some text is printed in ink that changes colors as you move it. And that's only


Mega California Passport Office Now Open

November 4th, 2014
As of October 2014, two post offices have opened "mega passport acceptance offices".  These California passport office locations are part of a pilot program that will eventually include seven passport application locations.   Here's the scoop on the new facilities: Van Nuys Passport Application Location Address: 15701 Sherman Way Van Nuys, CA 91409 Phone Number: (818) 374-5650 Office hours: Tuesday through Friday : 11:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Santa Clarita Passport Application Location Address: 28201 Franklin Parkway Santa Clarita CA 91383  Phone Number:  661-775-7166 Office Hours:  Tuesday through Friday: 10:00am - 6:00pm Saturday:  9:00am - 5:00pm According to the LA Times, a third office is expected to open in Glend


Global Entry: What Happens When I Renew My Passport?

October 8th, 2014
If you're a Global Entry member, you may be wondering what happens when it's time to renew (or replace) your passport. Will you need to register the new passport with the Global Entry program? Will you need to get a new sticker for your new passport? First, the bad news: Your Global Entry account doesn't update automatically. Now for the good news: Unless you've changed your name, you can update your information online using your GOES (Global Entry Online Enrollment System) account. You actually don't need a sticker on your passport to use the Global Entry kiosks, as long as the information stored in the system is current. However, if you want a new sticker, you can visit a Global Entry, Nexus or SENTRI enrollment center to have one placed on your new passport. It's up to you. P


Lost Passport Statistics: Could It Happen To You?

August 28th, 2014
Worried about losing your passport? Most Americans don't give the possibility a second thought, according to a new survey released by Mandala Research. The group surveyed 1,000 Americans to gauge their concerns about lost or stolen passports. Here are the results: 87 percent of respondents said they were "confident in their ability to protect their passport during travel." Only 2 percent of respondents had experienced a lost or stolen passport In a press release, Laura Mandala, managing director of Mandala Research, said: "Americans love to travel, but when it comes to matters of personal security and identity theft, these are hot button issues that raise concerns. We undertook the study to see if passport theft was a deterrent to international travel, and the numbers indi


Travel Vaccines and Travel Medicine: What You Need to Know

May 15th, 2014
Traveling internationally?  Don't bring any exotic diseases home as unwanted souvenirs -- get the right vaccines before you leave! What Travel Vaccines Do You Need? Which vaccines will you need to protect yourself? The answer depends on a number of different factors, including: Which vaccines you've already had. The countries you'll be traveling to. When you plan to travel. The activities you plan to engage in. Additionally, some countries may require a yellow fever vaccine as one of their entry requirements. Travel Medicine Risk Factors Even within the same country, some itineraries are riskier than others.  Here are some risk factors to consider: Where you'll be staying (are you staying in a five-star hotel, a hostel, or couchsurfing in someone's home?)


Get a Passport, Get a Job?

May 15th, 2014
Today's job market is tough. One way to make your resume stand out: get a passport, and study abroad.  According to CNN, only 1% of US students study abroad. Employers are increasingly seeking out candidates with this experience. That might be why Harvard Business School sent its entire 2012 class overseas. As reported by CNN, First Lady Michelle Obama recently got in on the act. She encouraged students to study abroad during a recent trip to China: "The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless," Obama said during the CNN iReport interview. "First of all, it is going to make you more marketable in the United States. More and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world." Does studying abroad really make you more employable? Studies