If you are in the planning stages of an international move or simply a trip overseas, one of the first things you will need to take care of is to make sure you have a valid U.S. passport for the duration of your time out of the country. A passport is needed to enter any country in the world (some countries will also require a visa). Here is some basic U.S. Passport information that will apply to anyone moving internationally:
- Typically a passport will need to be valid for 6 months beyond your stay in a country. In other words, if you plan to be out of the country until June, make sure your passport is valid for the remainder of the year.
- If your passport is lost, damaged (including having pages removed) you should apply for a replacement. Report lost or stolen passports immediately to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. They will be able to help protect you and replace your passport for travel purposes.
- If you are planning a trip and do not have a U.S. passport, be sure to apply as early as possible to make sure you receive it on time. Passport issue times can vary but a 6-8 week waiting time is not out of the ordinary. Express issuance times are available for an extra fee. Expedited cases can deliver a passport in under 2 weeks.
- Prices for a passport vary based on child or adult, documents needed (passport card or book) and speed of delivery.
- Passports are susceptible to theft so make sure your keep it in a safe place and take care to guard it when travelling.
- A passport is needed to travel to Canada and Mexico.
- Children also need a passport for international travel regardless of age.
- U.S. passports are good for 10 years before they must be renewed.
- The requirements for passports are specific in term of photos. Be sure to have your passport photo taken at a DMV or photo service that is familiar with the requirements. Passport applications that do not meet all standards will be returned costing you time.
For more information on specific U.S. passport requirements, fees, waiting times and where and how to apply, visit the U.S. Department of State Passports & International Travel website.