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Passports vs Travel Visas

Monday, August 8th

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.

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Passport Service FAQ

If you are a US citizen traveling outside of the country, you will need a passport. The only exceptions are US territories like Puerto Rico, the USVI, American Samoa and Guam. Gone are the days of traveling to Canada or Mexico with just a birth certificate in hand!
That depends on your destination. There are over 170 countries that do not require a visa for US citizens to enter, but nations such as China, Brazil and Chile have visa requirements.
If you were at least 16 years old when you got your passport, it will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue. On the other hand, if you were under 16, it will only be valid for 5 years.
Fees for a passport can change at any time, but historically they've been set at $110 for an adult and $80 for a minor (under the age of 16). You may also have service fees charged by the location where you submit your application (e.g. the Post Office or local governmental facility), and you'll need to submit regulation passport photos.
First, report a lost or stolen passport to the US State Department (which can be done online or via phone at 877-487-2778). Next, if you are still in the US, you can apply for a replacement following the same procedures as a regular application. Or, if you are outside of the US, you should contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to get a replacement.
You can pay a $60 expedite fee and an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery, but even then the State Department says your passport can take up to 6 weeks! If you have international travel scheduled within 72 hours, you may be able to get an in-person appointment - but in that case, as well as in the event of having a trip coming within that 6-week wait time, your best bet is probably to use a passport service.
A passport service handles all of the paperwork and appointments to get your passport in hand. Believe it or not, it's possible to get your passport in hand within 24 hours!
They're more affordable than you might think, especially if you've got a trip that would be cancelled (with no refund!) without a passport in hand. You can get a one-business-day turnaround for under $300, and some passport services even offer emergency (same business day) options for that amount too. Keep in mind that those fees don't always include what the State Department charges for passport processing, or the expedited shipping to get your passport to you that quickly.

Compare Passport Services

Select any 2 Passport Services to compare them head to head

best-passport-services
  • Passport Visas Express
  • Fastport Passport
  • Travel Visa Pro
  • TDS
  • Fast Passport Center
  • Fast Passports and Visas
  • Expedited Passports and Visas
  • Passports and Visas
  • Visa HQ
  • Travisa
Passport Visas Express vs Fastport Passport Passport Visas Express vs Travel Visa Pro Passport Visas Express vs TDS Passport Visas Express vs Fast Passport Center Passport Visas Express vs Fast Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Expedited Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Visa HQ Passport Visas Express vs Travisa Fastport Passport vs Travel Visa Pro Fastport Passport vs TDS Fastport Passport vs Fast Passport Center Fastport Passport vs Fast Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Visa HQ Fastport Passport vs Travisa Travel Visa Pro vs TDS Travel Visa Pro vs Fast Passport Center Travel Visa Pro vs Fast Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Expedited Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Visa HQ Travel Visa Pro vs Travisa TDS vs Fast Passport Center TDS vs Fast Passports and Visas TDS vs Expedited Passports and Visas TDS vs Passports and Visas TDS vs Visa HQ TDS vs Travisa Fast Passport Center vs Fast Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Visa HQ Fast Passport Center vs Travisa Fast Passports and Visas vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fast Passports and Visas vs Passports and Visas Fast Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Fast Passports and Visas vs Travisa Expedited Passports and Visas vs Passports and Visas Expedited Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Expedited Passports and Visas vs Travisa Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Passports and Visas vs Travisa Visa HQ vs Travisa
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