Passports are required for international travel. Sometimes cruise lines will allow passengers boarding on a cruise without a passport if they possess other documentation. Most cruise lines generally allow other documentation if the cruise begins and ends in the same US port. Cruise lines vary on the required documentation so ask a travel professional for specific details. If you are considering taking a family vacation outside of the United States each person must have their own passport.
Please note the following State Department guidelines:
- Minors under age 16 must apply in person
- All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air
- The minor and both parents (or guardians) must appear in person to submit the completed form at an acceptance facility or passport agency.
Each passport applicant needs to have two identical photos taken. Walgreens is a great place to get passport photos taken. Photos are the correct size, can be done quickly at the store and cost approximately $10-15 per person.
Adult passports are good for 10 years and a child’s passport is good for 5 years.
Remember to check the expiration date of your passport when planning to travel. This should be done several months in advance to allow for processing time if the passport needs to be renewed. Processing times can vary depending on workload and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. During busier times, such as the summer travel season, the State Department encourages travelers to expedite their applications if traveling in less than 10 weeks.
If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.
Post offices are generally acceptance facilities for passport applications. You may want to call your local post office in advance to see if an appointment is needed or if they only process passports during specific time periods or days of the week.
Additional information about fees, forms and FAQs can be found on the State Department’s website: http://travel.state.gov/. Click on the passport tab across the top of the page for details.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson says “Life is a journey, not a destination”. Enjoy the journey!
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