Where Can I Submit My Passport Application?

There are many places you can submit a passport application. Each site varies with the application process; therefore, the place you choose to give your papers can determine how soon you will need your travel document. Let us start with the most convenient and cheaper location and then finish with the most expensive but will get you a passport in a day.

Local Acceptance Facilities

There are facilities in your neighborhood that accepts your application with all the supporting documents and fees. These acceptance facilities are your post office, county clerk’s office, courthouse, and public library. Please note that all of these places will take a passport application. Mostly more populated areas will use these facilities with a higher volume of applicants; whereas, smaller counties and city may have only on acceptance agent.

Post Offices

The post office will accept a passport application. Some post offices require an appointment to submit the documents. With others, you can walk in anytime. The application must have the correct form completed, supporting documents as suggested on the form, and the right amount to cover the cost. If your application is not complete, it will get rejected.

Processing Options

The post office offers two options to get your passport application process. The first is routine and takes 4 to 8 weeks to get a new passport. The process is the average or standard way of getting an original document, and it is the cheapest. The second choice is expedited and is for anyone who must travel sooner than four weeks and can provide proof of travel. With this option, you will have a new passport in 2 to 3 weeks, but the cost will be more.

County Clerk, Courthouse, and Library

As the post offices, all these facilities offer the same services, and the price is similar to the post office. You have the two processing options available to you as well. However, each requires an appointment and has less operating hours to accept applications. If you find one of these sites that do accept passport applications, call to get an appointment before showing up.

Regional and Statewide Acceptance Facilities

There are acceptance agents who can provide a passport sooner than two weeks when necessary. Most are private businesses or state. For the privately owned businesses, you can submit your documents in person or by mail. However, the state processing centers require you to present them in person.

Private Expediting Company

Private expeditors apply on your behalf. You hire a private expeditor as the middle person to get your papers as quickly to a processing facility and get the new document back to you. It can take from one day and up to two weeks. It all depends on how soon you need to travel and the cost to pay. The price to pay will be much higher than the post office or any other facilities in your neighborhood. You will mostly find private expediting companies online or in large cities.

Regional Passport Agency

Regional Passport Agencies are state-run facilities that offer emergency passports to individuals with proof of travel and emergencies. To visit a regional passport agency, you must first call the National Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to get an appointment. Since there are only 26 regional passport agencies in the U.S., you may need to travel outside the state you reside for your meeting.

A regional agency office is in a Federal Building; therefore, you will encounter security. To prevent being late, bring what is necessary for the interview. Any persons without an appointment will not be allowed to pass guard. If you have the documents required to get a passport, you will get on the same day or the next business day. Since there is only a processing option available, you will have the only price to pay.

Overall

So, there are plenty of places to take a passport application to start the process. The most common place to go is the post office. People who are not in a rush submit their application at the post office. Another reason is that of the cost they will pay for their new travel document. With either service available at the post office, it will still be cheaper to apply to go to either a private expeditor or a regional passport agency.

The next time you need a passport and have the time to wait, visit your post office to submit your papers. However, if you need the document sooner than four weeks, the other options will be a private expeditor or a regional agency.

Ways To Expedite A U.S. Passport

Most countries outside the U.S require a passport to enter, regardless of the point of entry. So, if your next trip is to one of these countries, then you must apply for a passport. A passport requires a specific application form and supporting documents when applying. There are different ways to expedite a U.S. passport if you are in a rush to travel and need a passport. How soon you will need the document will determine the price you pay.

There are many places you can submit your documents. There are others who can send the documents on your behalf. To submit your application in person, you can go to a post office nearby. You also have the option to take your papers to the private expediting company or visit a regional passport acceptance agency. With either option, you can get your application expedited.

Expedited Your Application at the Post Office

At the post office, there are two choices to process a passport application. The first is routine that usually takes four to eight weeks to get a passport in the mail. The next option will take two to three weeks but will cost more than the usual time. The choice is known as expedited processing. So, if your trip is less than four weeks and you have proof of travel, you can get your application expedited.

Expedite Your Application at a Private Expeditor

A private expeditor is for applicants who need a passport in less than two weeks. If your trip is in five to ten days, then this one of two options you have to get a passport. You can also get a passport the same day if necessary. A private expeditor requires additional documents than just the application and supporting documents. Since the expeditor will submit your papers, it requires authorization from you, the applicant, to do so. Once you hire an expeditor, the company will provide a list of documents you must submit to proceed with the process.

The price of hiring a private expeditor will be more than going to the post office. Be prepared to pay a substantial amount of money since the service is speedy. Keep in mind that you will travel on the day you want and not have to worry about how you will get your document.

Expedite Your Application at a Regional Passport Agency

A regional passport agency offers only one service, and that is same day service. If you have an emergency and must travel within 24-hours, go to a regional agency. However, there are only 26 regional offices across the U.S. What mean, not every state has an agency and likely the one you live may not. For that reason, regional agencies offer the service to all U.S. citizens.

If you decide to visit a regional agency, you must first get an appointment. To get a meeting date and time, call the National Passport Information Center hotline at 1(877) 487-2778. You can call any time or day and schedule your meeting. However, agencies are in Federal Buildings that are mostly open Monday through Friday and your interview set on one of those days.

Overall

Before you visit any site, make sure complete the appropriate form and have all your supporting documents. Not having your papers in order will result with a delay in the process. If you are not sure about the form to complete or the other documents that must accompany the application, search online or visit the post office. A clerk will provide you with the information you need. The private expeditor will do the same by helping you get all the information you need.

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule For U.S. Citizens

Most U.S. citizens believe they can hop on a plane or ship and go to another country as long as they have a valid passport. Most people may have gotten in without realizing their passport was checked the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule. So, what is the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule and does this rule affect U.S. citizens trying to enter another country?

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule for U.S. Citizens

The Six-Month Passport Validity Rule is a rule enforced by some countries to tourist entering the country for a short stay. Most countries recommend a tourist passport must have at least six months validity before it expires. Why six months? For many countries that require a visa, the visa issued is usually valid for thirty or sixty days. If you have an emergency while visiting and must remain longer than your visa requires, you will not have a problem to exit the country with a valid passport or reenter the U.S.

For other countries that require three-month validity, the visa issued will have a shorter stay applied to a tourist. Some countries wave the validity rule and allow a visitor to enter even if their passport expired. U.S. citizens can enter any U.S. territories without the use of a passport. A valid state-issued ID can be used as identification or a passport card. The most recognizable U.S. territories include Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Countries Where One, Three, or Six-Month Passport Validity Rule Applies

Many countries in the western hemisphere implement the Passport Validity Rule. Whether it is the three-month or six-month, you must know this information before making plans to visit. So, here is a breakdown by region of which country is implementing the six-month validity rule.

Region Countries
 

Central and South America

Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama**, Suriname, and Venezuela
Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago
Europe, Asia, and Middle East Albania**, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus**, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia**, Hong Kong*,  Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan**, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau*, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, East Timor, Turkmenistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, West Bank/Gaza Strip and Yemen
Africa Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia
 

South Pacific

French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and New Zealand*
 

Schengen Treaty Countries

(Three-Month Validity Rule)

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

** Three-Month Rule, *One-Month Rule

Best Places To Get a Visa Photo Taken

There are plenty of sites that offer visa photo services. Each is familiar with the requirements set by the State Department for the photo to be accepted. As a consumer, we look for the most convenient location and the cost of the service. The same photo requirements used for a passport are also applied for a visa. So, here is a list of best places to get a visa photo taken.

Visa Photo Requirements

  • Photo size must be 2 x2 in
  • In color
  • Printed on glossy or matte paper
  • Has a white background
  • The photo must be less than six months old
  • No hats or glasses worn
  • No head covers unless for religious purposes

These guidelines will give you a clear picture of how your photo must be after taking it. If the photo does not meet these requirements, it will be rejected.

Best Places to get a Visa Photo Taken

The list of places mention below is not categorized as first to last or best to worst. They all offer the same service, but the cost will vary. You can visit anyone, and your visa photo will look the same. So, to get your picture taken, you can go to retail stores, pharmacies, consulate or embassy, shipping stores, membership stores, professional photo studios, or visa expeditors.

Retail Stores – Many retail stores offer photo service. Retail stores like Wal-Mart and Target, which are open 24-hours, give you the convenience of walking in any time and get your picture taken. You will also get the pictures right after taking it. The cost per store may vary; however, you will have your photo to submit with your application.

Pharmacies – Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid also have the service. However, unlike Wal-Mart and Target, these pharmacies do not have a photographer present at a particular time to take your photo. The pharmacy may be open 24-hours, but you could not get this service later in the evenings. It is best to call before heading out to one. Again, the cost at each pharmacy will vary.

Consulate or Embassy – Some consulates or embassy will offer to take your photo at the time you are submitting your application without a picture. If you do, you will see the cost is more at the embassy or consulate when compared to the prices at a retail store or pharmacy.

Shipping Stores – If you plan to use an overnight delivery servicer like UPS or FedEx, you can also use either to take your photo. There are many of these shipping companies located in the neighborhood. So, finding one will not be that difficult.

Membership Stores – Remember that a passport photo is used with a visa application. So, membership stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and AAA offer passport photos at a discount rate to their members. If you were not aware of this perk, asked a manager the next time, you are in the store or on the phone with an AAA representative.

Professional Photo Studio – Even though there are not that many photo studios around, you can still visit one if you have it in your neighborhood.

Visa Expeditors – Visa expeditors will also offer to take your photo if you haven’t done so. The service is not free and expects to cost more at these locations.

Overall

A photo is a requirement when you submit a visa application. So, where you go to take one is up to you. As mention before, all these facilities that offer the service are well aware of the criteria, the picture must have. None will give you a photo not meeting the requirements. So, locate one in your neighborhood and get it done. You usually get a pair when you purchase the photos, so you can save the other in case you will need to renew your passport.

How long is a U.S. Passport Valid?

Getting a U.S. passport can take some time when applicants choose conventional processing to process the application. Regardless of the processing time, most people are excited to have their travel document. Especially, if it is the first time, they will own a passport or will travel outside the U.S.

A U.S. passport is an import document, and the bearer of it should always safeguard it. By keeping it safe, you can prevent it from damage or loss. Especially losing it since we live in a time where identity theft is widespread and you would not want another person using your name under any circumstances.

Know when your U.S. passport expires

Possessing a passport is as essential as knowing how long it is valid. So, do you know how long a U.S. passport is valid? Passports have different validity when it comes to an adult and a minor. For this reason, the cost for each is different. An adult passport costs more than a child. When an adult applies for a passport, the price includes the application fee and the execution fee. The application fee is $110.00, and the execution fee is $35.00.  So, it will cost an adult $145.00 for a passport that is valid for ten (10) years.

The price of a minor’s passport is less than an adult passport. The price includes the application and execution fees. However, the application fee is $85.00, and the execution fee is $35.00. So, the cost of a minor’s passport is $120.00. One reason for the lower price is a minor’s passport is only valid for five (5) years when compared to an adult who is ten years.

What happens when your U.S. passport expires?

An adult with an expired passport can apply by completing a passport renewal application, From DS-82. To complete the process, submit the form and pay the fee and you will have a new passport valid for another ten (10) years. However, a minor passport cannot be renewed. A new application, DS-11, must be summited and the passport will be valid for five (5) years. Only when the minor reaches sixteen (16) years will he or she is given an adult passport.