First step for international travel is getting a passport. Getting a passport book and/or passport card is easy as long as you have the right documents required. A passport book is required for all international air travel, and is valid for travel by air, land, or sea. A passport card is valid for international travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda only. It costs less than a passport book and it is the size of a regular ID, which makes it easy to place in your wallet!
Please keep in mind you cannot use a passport card for international air travel.
Passport for First Time Applicants
Step 1: Start early and gather documents needed, i.e. application forms, proof of identity document, and a photocopy of the front and back, proof of U.S. Citizenship, and a photocopy of the front and back.
Step 2: Complete the Form DS-11 application for U.S. Passport and print the completed application, but do not sign the application. A witness at your local Post Office is needed. Make sure to have your photo taken. You will need a 2 in x 2 in photo of you taken with the last 6 months in color.
Step 3: Visit your local Post Office! There is a $35 Post Office acceptance fee and an additional Department of State processing fee (this fee varies).
Passport for Minors – Under the Age of 16
In addition to steps 1-3 above, both parents must authorize the issuance of a child’s passport.
Tip: both parents should go with the child when applying. Children need evidence of citizenship and parents need proof of parental relationship. A birth certificate would be the perfect document to demonstrate this. In other cases, a document that demonstrates legal guardianship of minors would be helpful.
Keep in mind children’s passports are only valid for 5 years, while adult passports are valid for 10 years.
Note: there is a passport processing fee. The fee depends on if you are getting the passport for the first time, if you are renewing it, or if the process is being expedited. Passport application fee and processing fee is nonrefundable.
FedEx 24 Hour Service
As of July 1, Texas-based FedEx Office has teamed up with a passport company to offer an online passport expedited service: RushMyPassport. A passport used to take about 4-6 weeks to process. Now it takes about 6-8 weeks to process. Emergencies happen, which sometimes require you to leave the country or maybe you are a couple days away from your trip and you just realized that you lost your passport! That would honestly make my heart drop! This service allows for you to go into more than 2,000 FedEx locations, and online to get your passport processed within 24 hours. This service does in fact include renewals. This 24 hour turn-around service comes with a fee of $449. If by any chance you do not need the passport within 24 hours and you can wait a little longer these are also an option for you:
Two Business Days – $349
Three to Five Business Days – $249
Six to Seven Business Days – $169
Eight to 10 Business Days – $119
10 to 12 Business Days – $99
For more information please visit RushMyPassport or go to your nearest FedEx location.
REAL ID – Domestic Travel within the United States
Starting October 1, 2020, all air travelers will need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, state-issued compliant driver’s license, or a compliant ID. The easiest way to check if you already have a REAL ID is check for the star! All REAL ID compliant cards have a star at the top of the card
A state-issued compliant driver’s license is primarily for the following states: Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, and Washington State. State-issued compliant driver’s license has a flag in place of a star. #DifferenceBetweenREALIDandStateIssued.
This is super important that you have a REAL ID or a state-issued ID before October 1, 2020. If you do not, you will not be able to pass the TSA checkpoint during your travels.