Family Vacation Tips

How to Renew A Passport

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 1, 2015 9:30:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

renewpassport.jpgPassports all come with expiration dates. If you love to travel then at some point, you will need to renew your passport.  If your US passport was issued when you were 16 years old or older, then your passport is valid for 10 years. If your US passport was issued when you were 15 years old or younger, your passport is valid for 5 years.

If you plan to fly internationally outside of the U.S. , ALL passengers including infants and children will be requied to present a valid passport at airport check in.  Cruise Ships have different requirements but we do HIGHLY recommend all passnegers have a valid passport for any cruise vacation too.

Every Foreign country has their own rules regarding entry requirements for tourists and visitors.  It is the responsibility of ALL passengers to arrive with the correct and proper documentation.  If you show up with the wrong documentation, you won't be allowed to board your flight or take your trip. Confusion or ignorance is NOT something that is covered by travel insurance. This means if your passport is NOT in order on the day of your departure you will forfeit the entire cost of your trip without any recourse for reimbursement.

IMPORTANT -  Many countries have RECENTLY CHANGED their requirements when it comes to passport expiration dates.  For example Mexico and several popular Caribbean vacation spots NOW require all passports to be valid for 6 months BEYOND your travel dates.  For example if you plan to return home on June 1, 2016 your passport must have an expiration date after January 2017. If not, you must renew your passport PRIOR to your vacation.

ALWAYS BE SURE - and double check the U.S. State Department Website to learn about the specific travel requirements for your specific destination in advance so that you are informed of your responsibilities and that your passports are good to go:

Whether your passport is still valid or has completely expired, the procedure to renew your passport is the same.  In the Right margin of that link, you'll find  the necessary forms that you can either download or fill out online to renew your passport.

Some people prefer to have their passports renewed in person.  There are many local court houses or post offices where you can go with your forms, old passport and photos. Staff here will go over your documents and insure everything is in order before processing your renewal application. If you are unsure or have any questions, this is a good way to go.

It normally takes 2-3 weeks to obtain a new passport using the expedited services. Expect a 4-6 week turn around for regular service.  If you find yourself in an emergency last minute situation then you must call and schedule an in person appointment at your nearest passport center.

You WILL need new passport pics when it comes time to renew your passports. You can take your own passport photo. Please know the government has very strict rules and requirements about ID photos and your application can be denied if your photos are incorrect. Many stores that offer photo printing like Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and the like have specialty digital cameras that are pre-set for passport requirements.  Do a google search for "Where to get passport photos near (city/zip code)" to find places that offer this service in your immediate area.

Remember you CAN go ahead and make your travel plans with expired passports but again, it is your responsibility to have your new passports in hand on the day of your departure.

Remember, your travel agent is ready to help you with ANY questions you may have regarding passports, visas, health requirements and more. Be sure to speak to us so that you're good to go!

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Topics: family vacations, Family Cruises, Family Vacation

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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