Last year (2017) was the 10th anniversary of requiring passports to visit Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. That year 21 million Americans had to obtain or renew their passports. According to the US State Department, they are expecting the same amount of passports renewal and application again this year. So what tips and information should you know about your passports
Believe it or not, passports use technology to assist with security to reduce fraud. This means that new passports will include a chip that provides all your personal information to a computer. As a result, newer passport books will be lighter and is reduced to 28 pages (much lower than the 52 page book), unless you opt for more pages.
Worried about the chip in your passport? No need to worry too much. According to Swift Passport and Visa Services, your passport would have to be open and someone at close range would need to scan it to obtain any information. In addition, all they would get is your personal contact info on the photo page and not your FBI file or tax returns. However, if you want extra peace of mind, consider obtaining a RFID protected passport wallet.
Children’s Passports – Better Double Check
Passport books and cards for children under the age of 16 expire after 5 years. Keep in mind that MOST countries expect your passport to not expire for at least 6 months after your return date back to the United States. Mexico is definitely one of those countries that has this requirement.
Just know there is more paperwork involved for children than for adults.. You will need to complete forms such as consent forms and parent-child relationships forms. So check your children’s passport information often and early and remember to double check your children’s passport book and card expiration dates to make sure there is at least 6 months left on the passport from the date of return from your vacation.
How to Renew Your Passport
For those ages 16 and older a passport can be renewed online through the State Department (but you still need to submit paperwork via mail). Make sure you follow instructions carefully. For example, as of November 1, 2016 you can no longer wear glasses in your passport photo. If you do, it could delay the process. If you do have a photo with your glasses on, simply obtain another photo and resubmit to the Department of State.
Using the photo requirements will keep your passport from being rejected or delayed. More than 200,000 passport applications in 2015 were rejected because of bad photos. Here are some passport photo tips:
For more specific passport and photo information visit the Department of State by clicking here.
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Sharon Pearson & AJ! Clonts
Sharon Pearson and AJ! Clonts, are Travel Information Consultants and co-owners of As You Wish Travel Agency. This husband and wife team love to travel and have been working in the travel industry for 4 years. AJ! & Sharon do not charge fees for their services. They focus on premium brands that provide luxury travel Worldwide; including River & Ocean Cruises, Hawaii, and all-inclusive resorts around the world with a specialty in the Caribbean and Mexico.