Five Things to Know About Passport

 

1)  More People Getting Passports

This is partially because of the Real ID Act.  This law established authentication standards for official ID cards.  Now that a standard driver’s license from many states can no longer serve as a sufficient form of identification, more people are obtaining passports. 

The deadline for enforcement of the Real ID Act is May 3, 2023.  After that, a driver’s license or state ID will no longer be an acceptable form of identification for domestic travel.  Currently all 50 states either issue Real IDs or have extensions in place to do so.

The US Government also offers a passport card.  Bear in mind that even though this is a great ID, it will NOT allow you to travel internationally 

2)  Passport requirements can be very specific.  

Read up the requirements for your country carefully.

Ie:  In the United States, you’ll need a completed application form, sufficient proof of identification, fees and a photograph that meets very specific criteria.  You cannot just take a selfie. 

If you are a member of AAA, they will allow you to take 1 free passport photo each year.   You can use your old passport as identification for your new one. 

3)  US Passports are taking much longer to process. 

Normal service may take up to 18 WEEKS from the day that your passport office receives your application to when they get it back to you. 

The United States offers an option of paying an extra $60 for expedited service, but this can still take up to 10 weeks. 

4)  Your passport needs to be valid for a certain amount of time after your entry into a country. 

This period of time differs from country to country.

Most European countries work under the Schengen Agreement.  This is a treaty that 26 separate European countries have signed that essentially abolishes their national borders, creating an area that is known as the “Schengen Area”.  It allows people within it to move around easily.   

If you get a Schengen visa, you can travel freely among the countries in this area for a period of up to ninety (90) days for the purpose of tourism or business.  If you have scheduled trials with clubs during this time period, you can participate in these trials.  You can schedule trials in more than one country during this time period.

Most countries in the Schengen area will typically want your passport to be valid for a period of time beyond your entry date.  The amount of time may vary, so it is safer to check what the individual country requirements are.   These countries do not want a situation in which your passport expires while you are there, leaving you stranded.  You can learn about requirements for passports here.

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html

5)  Some places outside of the US do not require a passport for entry. 

These include US territories such as U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St. Croix.