The Full Guide to Passports in the US
Passports are used as a form of legal documentation that proves both the identity and citizenship of the passport holder. Passports are required for Americans that cross any international border and also when they wish to gain reentry into the United States. When citizens first receive their passport, they should check it for errors and be sure to have an errors fixed immediately. Passports are important documents that should be safe guarded when traveling and also when stored at home.
Passport holders should also keep copies of the passport separately from the actual passport. In fact, when Americans travel internationally, they should also leave copies with someone in the United States, in case there should be an emergency. Applying for a passport is rather simple and includes the application itself, and the proper points of identification. New applicants must apply in person, while those that have a passport already, may generally renew their passport through the mail. renewals can not always be handled through the mail, but they can in most cases.
When passports are lost or stolen, citizens must report that event as soon as possible. If citizens are in a foreign country, they should call their closet U.S. consult or embassy so that they can receive assistance in getting a new passport. In addition, they should certainly report if they believe that the passport was stolen, rather than lost. In either case, citizens will not face penalties for the loss of their passport. Passport laws make several dictations as to the requirement to obtain a passport and for the right to continue utilizing that passport. Citizens that breach passport laws, or other criminal laws, may be subject to the demand that they turn over their passport.
The application process for new passports first involves finding the appropriate forms. American citizens can find the appropriate forms online, at the post office or at their local passport agency. The forms will explain what other documentation is necessary for citizens to apply for a passport. First, applicants must be United States citizens and they must be able to prove that fact. That proof can include a valid and original Social Security card. In fact, every document that is utilized as a proof of fact, must be original, as no copies are accepted in order to be issued a passport based on the facts contained on the document.
Applicants can also utilize an original birth certificate with the raised seal of the county that issued the birth certificate. However, the birth certificate must have been written within a year of the birth of the child, in order to be utilized to get a passport. For minors, the necessary documents are similar except that there is a special form required. That form must be signed by any individual that has any custodial rights of the minor. For example, parents that have shared custody, must both sign the passport application before a passport will be issued.
The passport itself must be signed, but the minor should not sign for themselves. Parents should write the child’s name and sign beside it, while listing their relationship to the child in parenthesis. If passports are not expedited, they cost about one hundred dollars. If a passport needs to be expedited, the added fee is sixty dollars. Expedition is only necessary if the applicant needs their passport sooner than two months. The average processing time for new passports is four to six weeks.
The process involved with renewing a passport is more simple than the process involved with getting a first passport. In most cases, citizens can handle the entire renewal process through the mail. However, there are situations in which renewals cannot be handles through the mail. For example, citizens must be able to produce their original passport in order to renew through the mail.
If they cannot provide the expired passport, or if it was issued more than fifteen years prior, citizens must renew their passport in person. If citizens do have their original passport, it must not be damages and all information contained in the passport must be readable. The original passport must also have been issued when the individual was over the age of sixteen. If citizens do not meet the basic requirements for renewal through the mail, they can renew their passport in person,. However, many passport agencies require appointments in order for individuals to renew their passports. There are many laws that relate to passports and international travel ,
Lost or Stolen Passport
When Americans loss their passport, they must immediately report the loss. Americans will not face any legal penalties for lost passports. However, if it is found that a citizen sold their passport, or profited in any way, they will face criminal charges. If they are in the United States, they can report the loss at their local passport agency. They will need to pay the regular fee to have a new passport issued.
Increase national security makes it a requirement for lost American passports to be reported, in case anyone attempts to use them in a fraudulent manner. It is especially important to report a theft of passport, as criminal rings sometimes participate in such crimes to sell the passports. Stolen passports can be used to commit crimes, or gain illegal entry through certain border crossings. In order to avoid becoming implicated in such crimes, victims should immediately report their missing passport.
Correcting or Changing Information
When American citizens have found that there is an error on their passport, they must not attempt to travel with it, or to use it as identification. Errors on passports are serious and could result in being denied entry into any country. Take for example an American citizen that is turned away from entering the U.K. because of an error on their passport,. They would be put back on a flight to the United States. Upon arrival, they could very well find that border patrol denies them entry into the United States. For this reason, it is vital that errors on passports are addressed immediately.
The process for having errors fixed is relatively simple and free, unless the passport holder requires expedited service. Even if the passport holder is traveling soon after attempting to have the error fixed, they will likely receive their new passport in time, as the passport agency treats such cases as rushes. In order to have errors fixes, passport holders must simply send back their passport with new passport photos and proof of the corrected information. The photos are necessary because the passport agency no longer makes amendments to passports. Instead of amended passports, new passports are sent with the errors eliminated in order to protect security measures in place for border control.
In addition, international travelers must be sure that they have enough blank pages in their passport, in order to be granted plane boarding privileges and entry into the country they wish to visit. Generally, passports need at least four blank pages to allow international travel. Passport holders can have pages added to their passport by mailing the passport along with the proper form. There is no fee for this service.
Passport laws have become more stringent in the recent past. For example, in the past, citizens that found errors on their passport were able to simply have their passports amended. However, errors can no longer be corrected in that manner and citizens are instead issued a new passport whenever changes are necessary. The reason for the new requirement is to keep passports as tamper resistant as possible. In recent years, there has been an increase in fraudulent documents circulating the globe. There have also been changes in laws that previously allowed Americans to cross certain borders without having a valid United States passport.
For example, citizens used to be able to come home from Canada while simply showing a drivers license or other identification. That is no longer the case because of increased national security and vigilance, due to terrorists attacks and attempted terrorist attacks. Border entry laws vary in each country, but passports are required to cross borders around the globe. There are also passport laws that prevent minor children form being taken out of the country by non custodial parents, or those that have no rights at all regarding the child.