Applying For a Passport After Naturalization

Now that you are a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you should apply for a U.S. passport. You will need a passport to travel internationally. Another document you can use to go outside the U.S. is a passport card. However, a passport card can only be used to reenter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. So, it best to get a passport.

Steps to Apply After Naturalization

Every U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization, should have a passport. Applying for one requires some documents and a fee. The State Department provides a list of all the necessary documents on the application form. So, when you get the application form, you will have all the information on how to apply.

Get the Application & Gather the Supporting Documents

To start the process, you must get the application. You can get a copy at any acceptance facility or download it here. Once you download form with instructions and print it, you can start gathering the supporting documents.

Since you had to give your green card at the ceremony, you can use your Certificate of Naturalization as proof of citizenship and your identity. So, you must make a copy of the certificate and keep it safe. As one of the supporting documents, you must submit the original Certificate of Naturalization. Don’t worry; you will get it back 1-2 weeks after to get your passport.

In addition to the Certificate of Naturalization, you must submit a passport size color photo. You can have your picture taken at the nearest CVS pharmacy or Walgreens. If you want to do it yourself, make sure you follow the instructions that apply to a passport photo.

Applying for a Passport

Now that you have the application complete it with a black ink pen. Do not sign it yet. Since it is the first time you are applying for a passport, it should be done in person. Locate the nearest acceptance facility to submit your documents. You can go to the post offices, clerk of court offices, public libraries, and other government offices to give the application.

When you apply, you will have two options to process the application. The standard processing takes 4-6 weeks and costs the cheapest. It will cost $145 for a new passport. If you need a passport sooner, pay the additional $60, and you will get it in 2-3 weeks.

The facility will accept a check, money order, credit or debit card, and a cashier’s check. You must make your check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of State.”

Getting Your U.S. Passport

After the agent accepts the documents and payment, you can now wait until you receive the passport in the mail. The waiting time is going to be on the type of processing you choose.

Once you receive your travel document, open it and sign it. Your passport is invalid until you sign it. You must sign with a pen and not a pencil or marker. For a minor’s passport, a parent or guardian can sign for the child.

Understanding the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule

Traveling to another country can be fun. But before you go, get to know some laws that may affect you during your trip. For instance, did you know that your passport must have a specific time before it expires before you can enter another country? Now, countries have their laws and can change them whenever they see necessary. So, know if the country you plan to visit has this requirement. It is known as the Six-month Validity Rule.

What is the Six-month Validity Rule?

The Six-month Validity Rule is the time your passport must be valid before you enter another country. Some countries require your passport to have enough time for your stay. If there is more time before your passport expires, it is even better.

Even though there are some countries with this requirement, there are others who impose a three-month validity and others that require a valid passport for entry. Regardless of the rule and the place you plan to go, it always better to have a passport that will not expire sooner than six months.

Which Countries Impose the Six-month Validity Rule?

Here is a list of the countries that impose the Six-month Validity Rule:

 

Regions Countries
Central America Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua
Panama, Honduras (3-month validity)
Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique,
St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago
South America Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela
Europe Austria, Belgium, 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, Switzerland
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, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Middle East Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Gaza Strip, Yemen
Asia & India All Asian countries except Hong Kong and Macau, Russia, India
South Pacific French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Apply For A U.S. Passport

If you need a passport, you can visit your nearest post office and apply. You can also submit an application at a county clerk’s office, courthouse, and a public library. You can have your application process at the post office using routine or expedited processing.

The difference between both options is the time it will take for you to get a new passport. Routine or regular takes 4 to 8 weeks. Expediting processing will take 2 to 3 weeks. However, the cost is more if you need a passport sooner than the average processing time.

If you have an emergency and you must travel within days, you can hire an expeditor. Expediting companies can get a passport in 24 hours is necessary. The cost to accelerate the application will have a substantial cost. You can visit a regional passport agency to get the same service.

Regardless of choice you make to get a U.S. passport, have one with enough validity to so will not have any issues when you travel to any country that impose the Six-month Validity Rule.

What You Need to Know When Traveling with Dual Citizenship

What does it mean to have dual citizenship? When you are born in a country, you automatically gain citizenship of that country. Later, you can become a citizen of another; now you have dual citizenship because you are a citizen of both countries. Getting citizenship from another country can be achieved in different ways. Once you have dual citizenship and you travel, there could be some difficulties you encounter going to other countries. It is best you do your research before visiting.

Gaining Dual Citizenship

You can obtain citizenship from another country in a variety of ways. If you reside in the country as a permanent resident, you can become a citizen through naturalization. You can also become a citizen by marriage or as a child of the union. Some countries also use a lottery system to grant citizenship to others who are seeking asylum for prosecution.

Once you have dual citizenship, you must now know the laws of the countries you plan to travel. Keep in mind that countries have their rules and you as a citizen must abide by the laws when you go to it.

Prepare for a Trip

Maintain Valid Passports

When you plan to travel to the country you hold citizenship, make sure you have a valid passport. Most countries like the U.S. requires its citizens to leave and enter the country with a valid passport of the country. So, if you have dual citizenship, it is best to use a passport of the country you will visit to enter or exit.

Some countries, especially in the Middle East, scrutinize travel documents from anyone who is traveling from countries they deem hostile. For example, Syria does not permit entry to anyone who visited Israel.

Military Obligations

Some countries require their citizens to serve a minimum number of years in their military. If the country you plan to visit is one which implements this rule, make sure you are exempted from this law. Some countries do have an exemption for non-resident citizens. If there is not clear law for it, it is best to consider not to travel until you have some clarity on your safety before going.

Tax Laws

Again, having dual citizenship does not exempt you from tax laws in a country you carry citizenship. Some may consider you pay tax on income earned abroad. If you travel to a country will similar regulations, you may require paying your share of taxes, or you could be held until you do. Speak with a financial adviser with who knows the tax laws in the country you will visit.

Dual Citizenship by Marriage

Gaining dual citizenship by marriage can be legal in one country and not another. Some countries do not recognize a marriage outside its borders, particularly to partners who are not a citizen of that country. Similarly, children of the union are not considered a citizen of their parents’ native country. But some countries give citizenship automatically to a husband and wife who gets married if one or the other is a citizen of the country.

For example, a woman who marries an Iranian national automatically gains Iranian citizenship. However, the woman cannot leave without her husband permission. Also, she cannot fly with the kids without his consent. She can divorce and renounce her citizenship, but the kids cannot.

So, traveling to countries with strict laws can create a significant issue when you plan to depart. Know the country’s laws and how they will affect anyone who carries dual citizenship when they travel to the country.

Can a Convicted Felon Get a Passport?

Having a felony conviction does not disqualify you from getting a passport. However, the type of conviction may disqualify you, but because the rules that define felons are not well defined, you may be able to get a passport. So, if you want to travel outside the United States and need a passport, you can apply for one the same way everyone else does.

Felony Disqualification

In the U.S., most individuals who have a felony conviction because of drug trafficking across borders will not get a passport. That means, if you are convicted of other felonies you can still get a passport. A felony is classified as a crime for which the penalty exceeds one year in prison. So, if you commit murder, treason, or financial crimes, which all have lengthy sentences, you may be able to get a passport.

Remember, a passport is merely a document which allows you to enter the country. Getting one does not mean you can travel to another country. Each country has its laws and if they don’t allow a felon to enter, having a passport will serve no purpose.

So, the State Department will likely not disqualify anyone, except for a drug trafficking conviction across borders, from getting a passport.

Other Reasons For Disqualifications

There are other reasons apart from a criminal conviction that will disqualify you from getting a passport. Even if you have a clean slate from any criminal activities, but fall into one of these categories, your chance of getting a passport is slim.

Here are some reasons that will disqualify you from getting a U.S. passport:

  •         You owe $2,500 or more in back child support
  •         Owe the government because of loans

Other reasons to get denied are:

  •         You are currently charged with a felony or a felony arrest warrant is outstanding
  •         You are currently in prison
  •         On parole for felony drug charges
  •         You have a court order, a probation order, or a parole order status that you cannot leave the country

These are some of the reasons you will get disqualified from getting a passport.

Can I travel until my passport expires?

Traveling with an expired document is a significant risk to take; especially if it is used as identification. If you want to remain stranded a foreign country, that is likely to happen if you are traveling with an expired passport. Also, most countries will not allow anyone with an expired passport to exit. So, before you take a trip, make sure your passport will remain valid up to the end of the journey. If not, apply for a new one before you go.

Passport Validity

Many foreign countries require a US citizen to have a passport and visa to enter and exit. But like many documents, a passport expires and must be renewed before used. An adult passport is valid for ten years, and a minor’s for five years. During that time, it is valid for travel. However, within the last year of validity, it is recommended to apply for a new passport. One primary reason to do so is that of the six-month passport validity rule. How does the six-month passport validity affect US citizens?

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule

The six-month validity rule is a law enforced by foreign countries and applies to anyone who wishes to visit for a short period. According to the rule, all visitors must possess a passport with a minimum of six months validity. What does it mean? If you plan to vacation in the country with this law, your passport cannot expire within six months of the day you will enter the country. Most countries provide tourist a thirty to sixty days stay except if the trip is business related. In such cases, then a passport must have more than six months validity.

There are a few countries that implement a three-month validity instead of the six-month. However, the trip time must be less than thirty days since the visitor’s passport cannot expire during the stay. Anyone with a passport with less than the six-month validity must obtain a new passport before traveling.

So to answer the question, the best advice to give is not to travel until your passport expires. If for some reason your trip became longer than you had anticipated, you must apply for a new passport at the nearest US embassy or consulate in the country you are currently staying. You will receive a temporary passport that may expire in two years or less. Once you are back in the states, you can apply for a passport that will expire in ten years.

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.