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Passports vs Travel Visas

Thinking of traveling abroad? Certain documentation will be needed to not only enter a foreign country, but to also return to your own upon completion of your travels.

One such document that may be required is a passport. A passport is a document which is issued by a national government as a means of identification for the person who holds it. It certifies the identity and nationality of the person listed on the document, which is important when traveling internationally.

In the United States, passports are issued through one of the State Department's 14 passport issuing centers. They also can be issued through clerks at federal and state courts, designated post offices and U.S. consular authorities in foreign countries for citizens who are living abroad. Persons applying for a passport must provide proof of citizenship and residency at the time of the application, as well as a passport-specific photo.

Passports expire every 10 years for citizens over the age of 18 and every five years for those under 18. Upon expiration, passports must be replaced if the holder wishes to continue having one. Because people change in appearance with age, passports cannot simply be renewed, but must be completely replaced, including with an updated photo of the passport holder.

However, there are some instances when a passport may not be needed, or is not the only requirement for visiting a foreign country. There are times when a travel visa may be required.

What is a travel visa and how is it different from a passport?

A travel visa is a stamp or sticker that is placed on a traveler's passport by officials of a foreign country. The travel visa grants permission for that person to visit or spend an extended period of time in that foreign country. Over 270 countries offer travel visas. The kind of visa required depends on the reason for the visit. Many countries require travel visas in order to enter and spend time within their borders. Even with a passport, there are countries which restrict travel to those who do not also possess a travel visa.

In order to obtain a travel visa, a valid passport is required. Many countries which require travel visas also require that a person possess a valid passport for at least six months prior to using it to apply for a travel visa. The U.S. Department of State offers tips and tools for applying for visas for foreign travel.. Because requirements for visas change frequently, it is best to check with the state department prior to planning any trip abroad.

Travel visas aren't just used by Americans wishing to visit other countries. They also are required for foreign citizens who wish to enter the United States. There are two types of visas issued by the U.S. government: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.

Nonimmigrant visas are required for foreign guests who wish to spend an extended period of time in the United States, whether for tourism, business or personal reasons, but who intend to return to their home country.

Immigrant visas are for citizens of foreign countries who wish to relocate permanently to the United States, often for work purposes. Obtaining an immigrant visa is the first step toward applying for permanent residency.

Artists putting their stamps on Polk Street's "˜Passports'

San Francisco artist Lynn Kirby has been going to the Russian Hill Bookstore since it opened 24 years ago. So when she was invited by the San Francisco Arts Commission to design a unique ink stamp for any business on Polk Street, she requested the bookstore.

Published:  Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:16:00 GMT



Passports for purchase: Open citizenship doors around the world

(CNN) - Turns out money doesn't just buy a glamorous vacation in the Caribbean or a killer suite in Quebec -- it can buy residency too. While British citizens are rushing to claim Irish passports post-Brexit vote, the world's most elite travelers don't ...

Published:  Mon, 16 Oct 2017 04:03:00 GMT



Venezuela extends expired passports for two years amid paper and ink shortages

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed an emergency decree earlier this week extending expired passports for two more years amid a widespread shortage of paper and ink at the government agency that issues the travel documents. Demand for new passports ...

Published:  Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:58:00 GMT



Kane County Clerk encourages holiday travelers to apply now for passports

Falling leaves and temperatures are a reminder that the holiday season is coming. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day is one of the busiest times of the year for travel, and Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham recommends that Kane County ...

Published:  Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:29:00 GMT



ASU students receive free passports to study abroad

Albany State University school leaders are concerned about the number of students who study abroad. Right now, those numbers are extremely low, so school leaders are sponsoring 100 passports for students interested in studying abroad. It's a collaborative ...

Published:  Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:32:00 GMT



Travelers from 9 states will need passports for domestic flights in 2018

The deadline is approaching for nine states that have yet to update state IDs in compliance with the REAL ID Act, which was passed in 2005. As a result, residents in those nine states will have to present a valid U.S. passport - instead of a driver's ...

Published:  Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:12:00 GMT



9 States Will Require Passports for U.S. Flights

Come January 22, 2018, residents of nine states will need a passport to board any flight, domestic or international, according to new TSA guidelines. It's always refreshing when air travel becomes more complicated.

Published:  Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:06:44 GMT



22 states will require passports for domestic flights

Travelers from 22 states will need a passport in 2018 to board domestic flights if their states do not update their state IDs. States were required to comply with the federal Real ID Act of 2005 that was passed to ensure safer air travel.

Published:  Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT



Gender-neutral British passports bid reaches High Court

London (AFP) - A campaigner seeking gender-neutral passports won the right Wednesday to mount a challenge against the British government in the High Court. Christie Elan-Cane, who does not identify as either male or female, believes Britain's passport ...

Published:  Wed, 11 Oct 2017 07:49:00 GMT



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