NEW FOR 2016: You can NO LONGER add pages to your passport, so if you are almost out of space, apply for a new passport now!
Two main things to remember:
1. Keep it safe.
2. Keep it current.
• Passports are now required for ALL travel that leaves the U.S., even if it is only Canada or the Caribbean.
• While at home, keep your passport in a safe place—a safe if you have one, or jewelry box, not in a desk or kitchen drawer.
• Make sure your passport is current when you make your travel reservations for your trip (that way you have time should you need to renew it).
Most international travel requires that your passport be valid a minimum of six months after your return date. It should also be in good condition and have EXACTLY the same full name as your airline ticket.
Applying for a passport is easy. Visit http://www.travel.state.gov for all the details.
First time applicants, you will need to apply in person at an Acceptance Facility. Allow 6-9 weeks for processing time.
You will need the following items:
• Complete Form DS-11
• Send in the fee of $135
• Two photos, (2x2 in size, full color, on white background, taken within the last six months) — many local stores and photo shops can take them for you
• Birth certificate, proof of naturalized citizenship
• A copy of the front and back of a government ID card/drivers license
Renewing your passport is easy too. You may apply in person or by mail.
To renew your passport:
• Complete Form DS-82
• Send in your old passport along with your renewal paperwork
• Two new photos
• Send in the renewal fee of $110
If you lose your passport, you must report it, and then apply for a new one. The link above has all the details.
IF YOU DISCOVER YOU HAVE LOST YOUR PASSPORT RIGHT BEFORE YOUR TRIP—RUSH SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE.