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Around the World: New Passport Regulations and Airport Security

Jennifer Merin on


It’s always been a good idea to have a passport at the ready, and the best time to get one is before you actually need it. So, avoid last minute anxiety and rush. Apply for your new passport or you passport renewal now. At present, the same charges are applied for new and renewal applications. For adults, that’s $110 for the passport and a $35 ‘execution fee.’ For minors under the age of 16, the passport costs $80, plus the $35 ‘execution fee.’

Of course, with proper documentation, passports can be ordered and delivered on the same day. But in order for that to happen, you must provide proof of need, and that is usually in the most dire of circumstances – a life or death emergency.

You can also expedite service if you are traveling within three weeks of you application. Again, you must have proof of need, usually in the form of a ticket for travel to a destination that requires a passport.

For example, if you're traveling overseas on July 22. Beginning July 1, you should schedule an appointment at a passport agency or center that is on July 8 or later. You can only go to the actual appointment within 2 weeks of international travel (or 4 weeks if you need a visa). 

Whether for an emergency or immanent travel, you must pay a $60 expedite fee, in addition to the $110 passport fee and the $35 execution fee.’ And, if you need expedited delivery, you’ll be charged another $13 for postage.

If you are traveling in six to eight weeks, it’s recommended that you request (and pay for) expedited service. If you’re traveling in more than six to eight weeks, you can request routine service and avoid the expedite fee. For service on either of these, you have the option of going to a passport issuing facility or applying by mail.

Yes, the summer travel season is upon us and there are long lines at official passport offices and passport facilitating post offices. So be prepared to stand in line for a while before you get your turn at the window -- even if you have an appointment.
To make sure the wait is worthwhile, be sure to have all the necessary documentation at the ready. You need to fill out a form, which you can get online and fill out online or by hand
Additionally, you need certified proof of citizenship in the form of a photocopy of the front and back of your birth certificate or a previously expired US passport. Or copies of your naturalization papers. If you are applying for a child, you must show proof of your relationship to that child.

There are other forms of proof, as well, but if you don’t have the documents that are accepted as proof of citizenship, you must submit a request for a search to be done for your records, and there is a fee of $150 for that search.

If this is a first passport and/or if you are under the age of 16, you must appy in person to the passport office or a post office passport center. You can renew your passport by mail if it was issued less than 15 years ago, or if it was issued when you were under the age of 16. You must also apply in person if your previous passport was lost, stolen or damaged, or if you’ve changed your name and cannot provide legal documentation of the change.

You are required to have a regulation passport photo, one that is the right size and with an acceptable light colored background, Recently, the State Department has been more stringent about the quality of passport photos. Additionally, since 2016, applicants are not allowed to wear glasses in their passport photos, unless there is an extenuating medical condition – not just poor vision. If that’s the case, you must present a doctor’s note with you application and photo. You can usually find a passport photo shop near the passport office, and many post offices will take passport photos for an additional fee.

US passports were redesigned in 2016 with a computer-readable chip for added security and a protective coating that prevents damage, but it also contains fewer pages and additional pages can no longer be added to it. In other words, if you run out of space, you have to get a new passport and pay all the fees all over again. That’s a real annoyance – and expense – for frequent travelers.

Additionally, in 2018, the Real ID Act, implemented by the Department of Homeland Securty, set higher security measures for airport check in for both international and domestic flights. Because of more stringent proof of identity requirements, you may actually require a passport for airport check in, depending on the state from which you are departing and the compliance of that state’s identification proofs to the new Department of Homeland Security standards.

The Rea; ID Act goes into full effect in until October 1, 2020. But, still, the best advice is to get your passport now, before you need it – and to carry it with you whenever you travel.

 

Copyright 2019 Jennifer Merin
 

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