What can disqualify you from getting a passport?

There are plenty of reasons for a passport application denied to occur. So, not every applicant will get a passport after submitting the documents and paying the fee. Apart from getting a notice of denial, your money will not be returned to you. Before you submit an application and fee, read this article to be sure your application will not be denied.

Reasons for a Passport Application Denied

The most common reason for an application to be rejected is submitting a form with incomplete documents. Read the instructional guideline that is with the form to get all the information about the supplemental documents when you are completing your application. Completing the form is part of the process. Without the supporting documents, your application will be denied.

One of the supplemental documents is passport size photo. The State Department has stick guidelines that you must abide for your photo. Some applicants prefer to take the picture instead of paying for it. The cost of a photo is not that expensive at a Walgreens or CVS. It is best to seek a place that is aware of the criteria so that your application is not rejected for this sole reason.

If the application is for a minor, both parents are required to participate in the process. If one parent is absent, then a consent form must be included with the application. Whether the absent parent is involved in the minor’s life or not, proof must be given to complete the application process. When a consent form is missing, the application will be denied.

An application without a signature will result in a denial. Small as it may seem, you must carefully review all your documents before you submit them. It is best if you complete your application in one sitting instead of over some time. If you are applying for a child who cannot sign his or her name, then you the parent must sign on the child’s behalf. Do not leave it blank.

Other supporting documents are essential to submit to prevent rejection. These documents are in different forms of identifications. First-time applications must send copies of an ID card such as a driver’s license or state-issued car. The copy must be of the front and back of the card. For a minor, the official birth certificate must be submitted.  The State Department has a list of additional supplement identifications to send if you cannot provide the initial ones.

Parents who owe child support cannot get a passport until proof is provided that arrangement of payment is in process. The laws in regards to child support vary by state, check with local authorizes to see how you are affected by this.

Probation or felony problems will also deny your passport application. It is undeniable that if you are on probation and in some cases, you cannot leave the state or country. Similarly, if you commit a felony, you will not get permission to travel outside the United States. In some instances, some applicants may still get a passport. However, the better chance of getting it is to hire a passport expert to complete the process on your behalf.

Overall

If you do not have any of these issues, you will likely get a passport the first time you apply for one. However, if you do it is best, you hire a passport expert. An expert, for some reason, is more familiar with the process and can help. When you apply, and you use the post office, the average processing time takes 4 to 6 weeks. You will also have an expediting process that will get you a passport in 2 to 3 weeks. However, expeditors can get it in less than two weeks and even in 24 hours. It is an option to consider if you are in a rush to travel.

International Driver’s Permit

What is Necessary to Get an International Driver’s Permit

Do you have a trip coming up soon and you will drive while in the foreign country? Then you should apply for an International Driver’s Permit or IDP. The document, IDP, allows you to operate a motor vehicle in a foreign country that accepts it along with a current valid driver’s license. Click here to see if the country you will visit agrees with an IDP. Before you apply for an IDP, make sure you meet all the criteria below:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • You have a valid state-issued driver’s license with at least six months validity

Once you met them, you can apply for an IDP.

Applying for an IDP

American Automobile Association

The American Automobile Association or AAA is one of two places to apply for an International Driver’s Permit. To apply, complete the AAA IDP Application by downloading a PDF version here and then print the file. Provide your personal and license information and on the form. Obtain two color passport-size photos to submit with the application. You can visit an AAA office nearby to submit the documents and pay the cost personally.

If you prefer to mail in your documents, include a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license, complete the form, gather your photos, and a check or money order. Package all the papers and mail it into the nearest AAA office or location. Include a separate envelope with enough postage for your IDP to be sent to your address. Make sure you use the address you wish to receive your document. The cost of the IDP at AAA is $20.00.

American Automobile Touring Alliance

The American Automobile Touring Alliance or AATA is the second option you have to apply for an International Driver’s Permit. There is no other institution you can obtain an IDP. Before applying, download and complete the AATA IDP Application form. You can get a copy here. You must also have two recent passport-size photos, not older than six months. Also, have your valid state-issued driver’s license and money order, check, or a major credit card when you apply.

Like AAA, you can mail in your documents to an AATA office or nearby location. You must submit all the necessary documents including a copy of your driver’s license. The photocopy of the driver’s license must be the front and back. If your application is incomplete, you will delay the process and may not get your IDP in time for your trip. The price of the IDP at any AATA location is $20.00.

Using Your IDP

Now that you have your International Driver’s Permit, you can use it to drive in a foreign country that accepts it and your driver’s license. Remember, your IDP is not valid by itself. You must have your driver’s license along with the IDP when you are driving abroad. The IDP is not a valid ID like the driver’s license, so don’t assume it is just because it has a photo. Your IDP comes with benefits when you are traveling. Here are some benefits you can enjoy when going abroad with an IDP:

  • The IDP will be in the language of the country you will visit. It will provide the authorities with the necessary information in case you need you to get stopped or in an accident.
  • You can use it to rent a car. Many rental agencies will not rent vehicles without an IDP even if you have a valid driver’s license.
  • With an IDP, you can get insurance for the vehicle you will rent. You may have coverage in the U.S., but it is not transferable in another country.
  • The IDP is an instantly recognizable and provides proof you are allowed to drive. Not everyone above 18 years can drive or have a driver’s license.

Should a Foreign Visitor Obtain an IDP?

It is advice that anyone visiting the U.S. obtain an IDP from the country they received their license; especially, if English is not the first or official language of the country. Remember, an IDP is provided in the language of the country you will visit. So, it will be given in English to be read by anyone in the states. Many states do not require a foreigner who will drive in the U.S. to get an IDP. Nevertheless, it is best to have it so that communication can become a bit easier.

Top 10 Destinations To Travel In The World

Top 10 Destinations to travel in the World

There are many countries you should visit while you are still breathing. This article will provide information on the most popular top 10 destinations to travel in the world. Plenty others did not make our list. Nevertheless, they are worth visiting at some point if possible. Some of the countries on this list have many sites which are considered unique and historical. Also, they display their cultures and fascinations regularly. So, let us dream of traveling to each until we can make it a reality.

China

China is the second largest country in Asia right after Russia. It is the most populous nation and borders 14 countries. China has a vast history that goes all the way back to the ruling of many dynasties. So, there are many historical sites to visit like the Great Wall. If you want to visit major cities like Beijing or Guangzhou, be ready for a fantastic time. China has fantastic coastlines that offer amazing views and luxurious hotels. During the holidays is another time to visit China.

India

India, like China, is another country in Asia. It is the third largest in Asia and has over 1.3 billion people. India is another nation with so much history. For the tourist, there are many places to visit in India. The Taj Mahal, for example, is a typical tourist attraction. This building is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. If you wish to visit the holy city of Varanasi, it is the principal city for Hindus or the Golden Temple of Amritsar which is essential to the Sikhs. Other historic sites are Mecca Masjid, Amer Fort, and the Agra Fort. If you want some tranquility, go to the beaches of Goa.

Nigeria

Nigeria is similar to the other African countries with many national parks. However, it is the most populous nation of all the African countries. If your next trip is to Nigeria, you should visit the Millennium Park, the Cross River International Park, the Okomu National Park, or the Yankari Game Reserve, just to name a few. Apart from the parks and reservations, Nigeria also has beaches like the Tarkwa Bay and Eleko. In the capital, you can also go to the more popular beaches like Elegushi Beach, Bar Beach, or Alpha Beach. These beaches are more crowded when compared to the others.

Russia

Russia is known for cold days, but it also has some beautiful summer days. When you are in Russia, there are some famous and historic places to see. For example, Saint Basil’s Cathedral is known for its one of a kind architecture design. If you are in Moscow, the Kremlin is a must see. This infamous building houses the top governmental offices, four cathedrals, several museums, the armory, and the Diamond Fund Exhibition.  The Diamond Fund Exhibition has a collection of jewelry that includes a 190-carat diamond given to Catherine the Great.

Cambodia

Cambodia is a religious country, and it shows the number of temples constructed across the country. The most visited temple is the Angkor Wat built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II.  Other temples that tourist flock to are Bayon Temple, Banteay Srei, and Koh Ker. The Silver Pagoda is another attraction that is located inside the Royal Palace. The Silver Pagoda houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Apart from the temples, Cambodia also has white sandy beaches like Sihanoukville. At Sihanoukville, you can sit, relax, and enjoy the view.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has the largest mosque in the world, the Masjid Al Haram. The mosque is also known as the House of God. It is a sacred place for Muslims who comes from all around the world for pilgrimage. Another mosque to visit is the Al Masjid Al Nabawi in Medina. The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum in Riyadh has on display historical facts and figures about Saudi air forces. If you want to see the tallest building in the world, you can visit the Kingdom Tower which stands 3280 feet tall. Another historical place to visit is the Rock Carving Site. At the site, you will see carvings done by Saudis in the earlier times.

Indonesia

Indonesia is one of the chain islands in South Asia. This country has beautiful beaches in Bali or if you want to go to the Gili Islands to snorkel at the turtle sanctuary. You can visit the Orangutans of Borneo at the Tanjung Putting National Park or the Komodo at the Komodo National Park. Indonesia sits on the Ring of Fire; this is an area with some of the most active volcanoes in the world. So, if you want some adventure, Mount Bromo is the place to go. Another famous volcano in Indonesia is the Mount Krakatau which has the world largest eruption recorded in history. If you wish to go to a lesser known island than Bali, the Banda Islands are ideal. It is a cluster of 10 islands that sits at the edge of the Banda Sea.

Kenya

Kenya is an African nation with many national animal reserves. There, you will see many of the wild animals roaming in their protected reservations. If you wish to take a tour in one of the reserves, you can choose from many. However, the best site seeing reservations are Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Reserve, and Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves. Also, you have Tsavo National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park where you can see a large flock of pink flamingos. You can also visit the historic Lamu Island which still displays Kenya’s history dating back to the 12th century. The capital, Nairobi, also has its history on display by its colorful colonial buildings.

Vietnam

Vietnam, like Indonesia, is in South Asia. Vietnam has an astonishing mix of cultural diversity and natural highlights. Halong Bay is one of the most amazing sites, especially by boat. These islands have plenty of caves that attracts tourist daily. For example, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang cave displays magnificent stalactite and stalagmite. Another fascinating experience is to go through the Cu Chi Tunnels which were used during the war and stretched for more than 250 kilometers. If you want to go to the beach, this beach is about 6 kilometers long and is popular among the natives and especially tourist. Nha Trang is known for designated swimming areas, manicured lounging areas, and a white sandy beach. If you prefer the city, then Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi will give you a taste of the bustling streets and vendors.

Tanzania

Tanzania is home to some famous places like the Serengeti National Park where you can see the famous annual wildlife migration. Another is Mount Kilimanjaro which is renowned for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world. You will find many national parks and reserves for wild animals. Tanzania also has the Pemba Islands which attracts divers to the corals and marine life. Another is the Mafia Islands which also attract tourists who want to relax on the white beach or snorkel.

So, to visit any of these countries, you will need a visa and a valid passport. To get either, you can contact https://nationalpassportservice.com for expedited service. You can get a U.S. passport in as little as a day or any time up to two weeks. Similarly, we will expedite your visa application so you can have it well before your travel date.

Places to Visit in China

China, the most populous county in the world, is rich in culture, history, and some of the best landscapes you will ever see. With its vast geography, there are so many places to visit that it is an injustice to say there are only ten places to visit in China. If all the attractive tourist places were to be mentioned, we would be reading a book about this fantastic place.

China’s history provides scenery for many places to visit with family and at the same time have a lot to do.  Places like the fantastic food courts of Shanghai, the Forbidden City of Beijing, the tombs of Xi’an, and the Great Wall. Apart from the hustle and bustle of the cities, there are desserts and tropical beaches waiting to explore.

So, on your next trip to this grand country, here is a compiled list of places to visit in China.

  1. Beijing

Beijing is the capital of China with a population of over 21 million. It has over 700 years of history displayed everywhere you go. Beijing is one of many cites tourists love to go. It is straightforward to get to by air and with high-speed trains is transit to other favorite cities.

Beijing has many famous attractions to visit. For example, The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, and The Temple of Heaven to name a few. It is also the city that is home to the Tiananmen Square and the National Museum of China. You will see ancient architecture and the Chinese gardens.

Beijing has plenty of sites deemed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Especially sites like the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Also, you will see opulent ceramics, fountains, and paintings. With so many places to go, it is best to plan before going so that you will get the best sites from your trip.

  1. Shanghai

Shanghai is China’s biggest city with over 24 million people. It does not display many historical sites as does Beijing because of the constant development of skyscrapers. Shanghai is a city with major shopping malls, luxurious hotels, and prestigious arts.

In Shanghai, you can stroll through the Bund or the Yu Garden. Go downtown to the Zhujiajiao Water Town to see the ancient canal. The Shanghai Tower will offer the most fabulous view of Shanghai in the day or night. If you are ready for an adventure, take a ride on the fastest train, running at 270 mph. You can also spend some time in the French Concession.

Shanghai is so vibrant that it is compared to New York and Paris. It is China’s leading economic and business city. If you are ready to go to a modern city, Shanghai is that and more.

  1. Xi’an

Xi’an is one of four great capitals of old China and holds a lot of history. The most famous is the Terracotta Army. The Terracotta Army is made up of thousands of horsemen and soldiers buried with the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They were the protector of him in the afterlife.

Another famous attraction of Xi’an is the most extended city walls stretching a little over 13 kilometers or about 8.8 miles. The wall was used as a fortification in the 14th century. You will also see many mosques and Taoist temples that display the multiculturalism of the ancient capital. For example, one of the oldest Buddhist temples, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda or the Muslim Quarter.

Xi’an was the starting point of the Silk Road trade route to Europe. It was an economic and cultural exchange during the imperial times between the east and the west.

  1. Lhasa

Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and is sometimes referred to as the gateway to Holy Tibet. The name Lhasa is Tibetan for “place of the gods.”  It is one of the highest and elevated city in the world at 11,500 feet or 3,500 meters.

Lhasa has the Potala Palace which was once the home of the Dalai Lama before he was exiled. The Palace is divided into two, the White Palace (where the Dalia Lama lived) and the Red Palace (a spiritual center for the Buddhist Monks). The palace is now a state museum.

Outside the city of Lhasa are the famous Mt. Everest, Lake Namtso, and Mt. Kailash. Other places to go are the Barkhor Street and Sera Monastery.

  1. Guilin

If you like adventures, then Guilin is the place to come. It is known for its gingko-dotted parklands and winding historic streets. Guilin is filled with limestone scenery and sprawling rice terraces. The Li River provides one of the most beautiful sights on the planet.

Guilin main attractions are the Yangshuo and the Longji Terraced Fields. The Karst mountains in the backdrop will display a look from somewhere out of this world. Guilin is just an hour away from Hong Kong by air. The change in scenery will make it worth the wild.

  1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong was once a colony of the British and now displays a fusion of Chinese tradition and British culture. It is the world’s highest concentration of skyscrapers. Hong Kong is a commercial center with world-renowned shopping centers and many attractions.

Hong Kong famous attractions include the Victoria Peak, the markets of Kowloon, and many theme parks on Lantau Island. If you take the tram to Victoria Peak, you will have the most spectacular view of the city lights. Also, the dazzling skyline and skyscrapers can be seen.

While in Hong Kong, you can visit the local restaurants and enjoy the authenticated dim sum. Take the Starr Ferry to enjoy the Victoria Harbor. Your experience will be a once in a lifetime in a city that never seems to slow down.

  1. Chengdu

Chengdu Panda Research Base is where you will see the giant pandas in their natural habitat. Apart from the pandas, there are other well-known attractions to see. The Leshan Giant Buddha stone statue carved out of a cliff. This statue is 71-meters tall.

Chengdu is also famous for delicious food like the Kung Pao chicken and spicy hotpot. You can visit the Jinli Old Street to taste local snacks and see the architecture from the Qing Dynasty. You will also find ancient teahouses in the Kuanzhaixiangzi District.

  1. Hangzhou

Hangzhou is famous for its natural scenery. Especially, the West Lake that is aligned with ancient buildings and gardens designed for relaxation and spirituality. Also, you will see the cultural relics, the Broken Bridge, and the Qing Dynasty Mid-Lake Pavilion.

Hangzhou also has the longest ancient canal, The Grand Canal, which is over 2,000 years old. The Lingyin Temple is the wealthiest Buddhist temple that has many pagodas and grottoes. The Wuzhen Water Town creates the image of Chinese painting.

  1. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is about 5,500 miles in length. Many dynasties built it over many years for protection from invasions. With a history of over 2,500 years, some parts of the wall are in ruin or disappeared. It stretches from Hushan, in the east, to Jiayuguan, in the north.

The Great Wall winds up and down and across grasslands, mountains, deserts, and plateaus. It will be a great hike if you plan to walk on the wall. But how many can say they stepped on the Great Wall of China. The hiking trail can take hours at a time. It is something definitely to be done by a family or a group of friends.

  1. Hainan

Hainan is a small Southern Island with many of the best beach fronts in China. It has a feeling more like Southeast Asia than China. With its tropical climate, you will find many beach resorts and luxury hotels. The lust jungles, coconut palms, and pine forest keep you in a relaxing mood.

On the southern tip of the island, the city of Sanya has beaches range from 22 km long. On hiking trails, you will pass over suspension bridges and waterfalls. This part of China gets many tourists during the spring and fall seasons but is as busy during the summer time.

So, if China is on the list for your next vacation, make sure you have your passport ready for traveling. China, like other Asia countries, does require a visa to visit. The Length of your stay will determine the type of visa you will need. It is best to get your documents in order before you leave the US.

Do I Need A Passport To Go To Puerto Rico From The U.S.?

Many countries require US citizens to use a passport to enter that country. It does not matter if the entry is by land, air or sea. For countries that have border agreement with the US, then a state-issued ID or driver’s license is accepted if you do not have a passport. In addition to having a passport, the passport must have some validity to it. For example, some countries require a valid passport with three months of validity while others want six months validity. Some require only one-month validity or for the passport to be valid when entering. Nevertheless, a passport is necessary.

Puerto Rico, like other U.S. territories, does not require U.S. citizens or green card holders to visit the island with a passport. Similarly, Puerto Ricans can come to the U.S. without a passport. However, a proper form of ID must be used as proof of identity to enter Puerto Rico, as well as for Puerto Ricans coming to the U.S. These IDs can be a driver’s license, state-issued ID, or green card.

Minors can use a birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate. Any non-resident of the United States must show a passport to enter Puerto Rico. Similarly, if any citizen of another country should come into the US, they must provide a passport. If a visa is necessary, then the visa must be presented to an immigration officer.

Going to Puerto Rico from other Ports

If you enter Puerto Rico form another country, you will surely need a passport. You will need a passport to enter a non-U.S. territory, so it is best to carry it with you to come in. Legal residents may use their country of origin passport since they do not have a U.S. passport as of yet. As for minors, if they have a U.S. passport that will not be a problem. If not, then the minor can use a birth certificate or other documents to prove his or her identity.

When leaving Puerto Rico, if your trip is back to main the land, then you can use any form of legal identification. If you will enter from a non-U.S. territory, then a passport is necessary. Going from Puerto Rico to another country, you must present your passport to enter the country. Any other form of IDs will not be accepted unless the country is a US territory.

Non-U.S. Nationals Visiting Puerto Rico

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then you must use a passport to enter and exit the Island. Likewise, if you plan to visit the United States from Puerto Rico or any other country, you need a passport to enter. You may require getting a visa in some cases, check with your embassy or consulate for verifications.

So, U.S. citizens and permanent residents do not need a passport to go to Puerto Rico if they are coming from the U.S. If coming from another port and entering Puerto Rico, then a passport is necessary to enter the island. Any residents of US territories can enter the United States or another US territory with any legal form of identification. If they choose to use a passport, it will be accepted. Otherwise, a state-issued ID or driver’s license will do.

Do I Need A Passport To Go To Canada?

There has always been confusion between going to Canada and re-entering back into the United States. Going to Canada by road does not technically require a U.S. citizen to have a passport but sure does if the entry is by air. So, if your next trip to Canada will be by road, there are alternative documents that can substitute for a passport. These documents must be issued by the government in order for them to be used. You will need only one to prove your identity. However, if you decide to go and only carry one form of ID, that can result in you being held up by Canadian authority. So, it is best to go with a passport due to the fact the when returning, you can use a passport.

Going to Canada by Road

Going by road has fewer restrictions as do by flying. By entering the country this way, Canadian Border Agents will accept similar travel documents. These documents are:

  1. NEXUS Card
  2. US Passport Card
  3. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)
  4. FAST Card
  5. Green Card

We know that minors don’t usually have the same identifications as an adult. So, minors are excluded from having a picture ID but can still own one if the parent gets it. A minor can use proof of citizenship which is a birth certificate instead of a passport. A U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of U.S. Naturalization can be used as well. All must all be original documents. If a copy is made, get the copy notarized before submitting it.

Going to Canada by Air

If you are flying into Canada, you will need a passport to show immigration before entering. Using your passport will surely make your return back into the U.S. a lot easier as well. As of 2004, U.S. and Canada had an agreement to strengthen border security by implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Due to this agreement, all U.S. citizens entering Canada does not need a passport but will do when returning home.

So, even if you have other forms of ID and you choose to use one to enter Canada, it is best to carry your passport so that on your way back you can use it. Carrying your passport will help you enter the US and prevent you from being stopped by Immigration. A US passport in the reference must be a valid passport and not one that expired. If your passport expired while in Canada, go to a US Embassy and obtain a temporary passport to re-enter the US. Once back, you can apply for a new passport.

Going to Canada with Minors

Canada border crossing with children has its restrictions. If one parent is crossing with a minor, a signed notarized document and from the absent parent must be presented stating permission is granted for the minor to travel outside the U.S. If the parents are divorced, documentation with proof must be shown as well. Without these documents, you might not be granted entry or delay the entry process. These rules also apply to legal guardians who are crossing with minors. so, it is best to get all the necessary information before traveling to Canada or any other international destination. You do not want to travel to a border and cannot enter because of some technicality or existing laws you did not know about.

Travelers with Criminal Convictions

Possessing a passport does not automatically qualify you to enter into Canada if you have a criminal record. People with criminal convictions may not be allowed to enter unless due to the discretion of the Border agent. Also, if stopped for questioning, provide as many documents (court documents) as possible to make the entry possible. The more proof you have show your conviction was taken care off, the more likely you will have the opportunity to enter the country.

So, if you plan to go to Canada by either land, sea, or air, it is best to take your passport even if you have an alternative document. Hence, having a passport will not stop you from entering the U.S. on your way back. If you don’t have a passport, you should apply for it as soon as possible. You can also use an expediting company if you will travel soon. This way, you will have a passport to prevent any setbacks.

Where To Get A Passport Photo Taken

Getting a passport requires a form, supporting documents, and the fee. One of the supporting documents is passport size photo. So, where to get a passport photo was taken that will match the required standard is very easy. There are plenty of locations you can visit to take a picture near you. But before you go, here are the requirements set by The Department of State for all passport applicants.

Passport Photo Requirements

  1. Photo size must be 2in. x 2in.
  2. In color
  3. Taken on glossy or matte paper
  4. Has a white background
  5. The photo must be less than six months old
  6. No hats or glasses worn

By having this information, you will know how you picture should be and what to expect when you visit a photographer.

Places Where to Get a Passport Photo Taken

There are plenty of places to get a passport photo done. Most are aware of the requirements and are professional about their work. Also, the cost to get your passport photo taken will vary. In some cases, it may be free. Nevertheless, you will need your picture to get a passport. So, to get your passport photo taken, you can go to pharmacies, retail stores, passport acceptance facilities, shipping stores, membership stores, professional photo studios, or expeditors.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid will take your passport photo. These chain pharmacies are located in neighborhoods across cities. If you are not sure where to find one, go online and search for pharmacies near me or nearby. Since most of these pharmacies operate on a 24-hour schedule, call before going to make sure there is someone available to take your photo.

Retail Stores

There are large retail stores which operate 24 hours you can visit to have your passport photo taken. One, in particular, is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has an area where you can take your picture and get it right after. This makes it easy and quick to get your photo. Another major retail company to get your picture taken is Target. Target, like Wal-Mart, opens 24-hours and you can walk in and get your photo take. Again, you will get your photo immediately.

Passport Acceptance Facilities

At the start of the application process, you can visit a post office, county clerk’s office, courthouse, or a public library to submit your documents. At some of these facilities, you can take your passport photo at an additional cost. Not every location offers this service, so ask before you go and submit your application.

Shipping Stores

Two major shipping stores take passport photos shots. The two are UPS and FedEx. Unlike the 24-hours retail stores, these two shipping companies have regular business hours when they operate. So going to one may result in not getting your photo taken if you go after business hours. To locate a store nearby, visit the store website and go to the store locator. You may also inquire about the service and cost of passport photos.

Membership Stores

Some stores require a membership, and with it, you get some additional privileges. These stores are Costco and Sam’s Club. Like the retail stores, you can take your passport photo and get it immediately after. Another membership store that offers passport photos to its customers is AAA. AAA is not only about autos but also into the passport photo business. So, if you are a member of this organization, ask about this service and where to locate a facility nearby.

Professional Photo Studios

Professional photo studios do exist even though they are less in quantity if compared to the other passport photo providers. At a professional photographer, you will get your photo taken but may not get the photo right away. Also, the cost might be more than the other locations. If you live near one and it is more convenient to go, then you must get your photo taken well in advance of submitting your passport application.

Passport Expeditors

If you are in a rush to get a passport and cannot locate a place to take your photo right away, the expeditor will do so for a fee. Most individuals use an expeditor to get their picture taken since they are in a rush to get a passport and everything else get done at the same time. Regardless of your choice, the most important thing is to get the photo so that you can get your passport.

Where to get a passport taken should not be something for you to worry about now. There are many sites you can visit to get your photo take. It is best to visit a place where the cost would not be high since you are already paying for your passport. Always check online or by phone at the location you plan to visit before going so that it offers the service you need. All these facilities are aware of the requirements set forth for a passport photo.

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule

Your passport carries great importance when it comes to travel abroad. For that and other reasons, some countries require a passport to have a minimum validity time before crossing their border. It does not matter whether your choice to enter is by air, land, or sea. The law that these countries implement is known as Six-Month Passport Validity Rule. Hence, you must abide by it or else you will be sent back to your previous destination.

What does Six-Month Passport Validity Rule Mean?

The Six-Month Passport Validity Rule suggests any passport used to enter a country, which practice this rule, must have a minimum of six months validity before it expires to enter the country. There are way more countries that impose this rule than don’t. So, during your vacation planning, make sure your passport has enough validity and if the country you will visit abide by this rule.

Three-Month Passport Validity Rule and the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule

Apart from the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule, some countries have the Three-Month Passport Validity Rule. This rule is similar to the Six-Month Rule but instead uses three months validity so that a passport holder can enter. In any case, it is always best to travel with a passport that exceeds Six-Month validity. It will give a chance to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your vacation.

Countries that Implement the Six Month Passport Validity Rule

Many countries implement the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule. However, most European countries do not, but instead use the Three-Month Validity Rule. The European nations signed a treaty known as the Schengen Treaty. All the countries in Europe implement the Three-Month Rule except for the UK and Ireland which follows the Six-Month Passport Rule. Apart from passport validity, some countries require a passport to have on one or two blank pages. So again, be aware of these countries immigration rules before you visit.

North America and the Caribbean

Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago

South America

Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela

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, and Vanuatu

Non-Schengen Europe, Asia, and the Middle East

Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, 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.

Countries that Require 3-Months Validity

Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Panama

Schengen Treaty Countries

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

Countries that Require a Month Validity

Hong Kong, Macau, and Zealand

How Long Does It Takes To Get A Passport?

Getting a passport for the first time can be an exciting time in your life. Just knowing you have something with a picture of yourself and a document you can use to travel the world. But thinking about getting one is just the first step of making it a reality. To get a passport, everyone must follow a specific process. So, how long does it takes to get a passport will be determined by the processing option you choose.

Gather the Documents

The first thing to do if you plan to get a passport is gathering your documents. If you had a passport before, you would be familiar with the documents you must provide. For all the first-timers, get the application form, online or at an acceptance facility, read the instructions before you complete it. It will give you a list of documents you must submit to start the process. Once you have all the necessary papers, now is the time to provide them.

Submitting your Passport Application for Routine or Expedited Processing

Now that you have your passport application and fee, you can visit a post office, county clerk’s office, courthouse, or a library to submit it. At any of these facilities, the process time will vary because of the two options available. If you are not in a rush to get your new passport, routine processing would be your choice. With this form of processing, it takes 4 to 8 weeks before you get your new travel document.

The second choice available to applicants is for those who cannot wait four weeks. Expedited processing is faster than routine but requires proof of travel and has an additional fee attached to it. With this processing choice, a passport application is processed in 2 to 3 weeks. So, with evidence of a trip coming soon, you can have a new passport to travel abroad.

A Regional Passport Agency or Private Expeditor

For other applicants who urgently need a passport, there are two places to go to and get a passport application process very quickly. The two sites are a regional passport agency and a private expeditor. Both offer emergency passports if you provide proof of urgency, specified documents, and pay their service fee. Their process takes from a day and up to two weeks.

Even though they offer the same services, they accept a passport application differently. For example, an expeditor will receive your documents by mail if you cannot go to their office. You will get a new passport as long as you provide all the materials they request. A regional passport agency requires you to submit your application in person. Not having an agency in every state can sometimes become a problem to get to one.

So, how long does it takes to get a passport will depend on where you submit your passport application and which processing option you select. Keep in mind the sooner you need your document, the more you will pay to get.