So my tip for today is for you to take a moment to think about any time sensitive tasks you have for your upcoming trips. Write them down (if you haven't already) and make sure you set some time aside to get them done.
One big example - if you are going on an international trip, check when your passports expire! You do not want to risk being denied boarding due to an expired or soon to expire passport. With how quickly time passes by, you may not realize how long ago you received or renewed your current passport. Best to double check.
If you don't have a passport, getting one isn't difficult. It just needs some planning.
- You must go in person for your first application.
- To prove citizenship you must bring with you an original birth certiﬁcate, naturalization certiﬁcate, or a certiﬁcate of citizenship. If you need a copy of your birth certificate, contact the Department of Vital Records in the state you were born or try a third party vendor, such as VitalChek or Vital Records Online. (Note - these are not recommendations, such suggestions.)
- You will need 2 photos taken by a passport photo facility, such as Walgreens or a AAA office.
If you have a passport:
- Check the expiration date. Many countries require the passport to be valid for a speciﬁc time frame after you depart their country (usually a minimum of 6 months).
- If your passport expires within the next 6-8 months, go ahead and renew it now. Don’t worry — you won’t lose the stamps you have accumulated up to this point. You will get your current passport sent back with the new one. Although I have seen passports processed in 3 weeks, the average is 6-8 weeks unless you pay for expedited service.
- If your trip requires a VISA, make sure your passport has the required number of blank pages to accommodate the VISA(s).
- Give yourself plenty of time to get the VISA. Some VISAs are processed up entry into the country or online, while others require you to send your passport to the nearest embassy for processing. I have personally experienced processing time of almost 3 months , so beware!
When booking your travel:
- Use the full legal name exactly as it appears on your passport. If the name on your airline ticket is different than your passport you will not get past security. If you are getting married and you are booking your travel prior to changing your name, please make sure you book your travel using your maiden name.
- Make copies of your passport and keep them in a safe area. Take an extra copy with you on your trip but keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also give an extra copy to your parents or other trustworthy person in case you lose your passport while traveling.
- Safeguard your passport. While at the resort, hotel or on your cruise, make sure your passport is kept in the room's safe.
- Are you familiar with mobile passport? Mobile Passport helps expedite the entry process back into the US. Check the article below to see if this or one of the other programs will help you.
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