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When Do You Need 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.

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.

There was a time when the only people who needed a passport were those who traveled internationally on a frequent basis, or those who worked as foreign diplomats. However, passports are becoming more widely used for more reasons than just travel. Since 2009, Americans have been required to possess a passport to cross the border into Canada when traveling by airplane, whereas before they only were required to have valid photo identification and a birth certificate to prove citizenship.

So with all of these changes afoot, when do you need a passport?

The primary reason to own one is for foreign travel purposes. Passports have been required for entry into foreign countries, as well as re-entry into the United States from foreign countries, since Dec. 15, 1915, when an executive order was issued requiring all who traveled abroad to possess one. Prior to that, passports rarely were used for foreign travel or re-entry into the United States from a foreign country. There are only a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Closed Loop Cruises. Cruises that begin and end at the same United States port, known as closed-loop cruises, do not require a passport. A certified birth certificate and valid photo identification, such as a driver's license, are all that is necessary.
  • Nexus Cardholders. A Nexus Card is issued jointly between the United States and Canadian governments and is designed for those travelers who frequently commute between the two countries. It is awarded to low-risk travelers following a rigorous application process and can be used in place of a passport to travel between the two companies.
  • Land or Sea Travel. Traveling by land or sea to Canada or Mexico does not require a passport. However, you still will need more than a traditional driver's license or birth certificate to enter these countries and then re-enter the United States. A Nexus Card, which we previously discussed, can be used for this kind of travel. Land or sea travelers to these countries also can use an enhanced driver's license if they are available through their states. Currently, only the states of New York, Michigan, Vermont and Washington offer enhanced driver's licenses.

Even if yours is a situation which does not require a passport for travel, it is highly recommended that all travelers possess one. During emergency situations, air travel which was not previously planned may become necessary, which would require a passport. For that reason, travelers should weigh the benefits and risks of not having a passport before they leave the country.

Ministers want to issue teens with 'digital passports' to prevent access to pornography

MPs heard up to a third of content on social media sites is pornographic - yet will not be covered by age restrictions being introduced next year. Margot James, Minister for Digital, said officials ar...

Published:  Tue, 13 Nov 2018 21:00:00 GMT



Watchdog knocks State over seizures of Americans' passports

State Department officials failed to follow proper procedures as they seized passports from dozens of U.S. citizens in Yemen, leaving them stranded as the country descended into violence, a federal wa...

Published:  Fri, 02 Nov 2018 14:17:00 GMT



Electronic passports are a must to enter Oman

Muscat - The ROP has said an electronic or machine-readable passport is a must for anyone planning to visit Oman for work or travel purposes. Lt Col Hilal bin Said al Wahaibi, director of residences d...

Published:  Thu, 15 Nov 2018 01:58:00 GMT



State Dept. Improperly Seized Passports of Americans in Yemen, Inquiry Finds

WASHINGTON - The State Department improperly seized the passports of at least 31 American citizens trying to obtain vital records and other paperwork from the United States Embassy in Yemen, according ...

Published:  Fri, 02 Nov 2018 16:54:00 GMT



Imams oppose bid to bar caps in passports

The Imams also claim that members of other faiths like the Akorino and Sikhs are treated differently and do not remove their headgear before being photographed. Muslim clergy have protested against Im...

Published:  Wed, 14 Nov 2018 10:00:00 GMT



UK digital minister pushes "˜digital passports' to keep teen web surfers away from porn

UNITED KINGDOM, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) - The ubiquity of pornography on the internet is an ongoing concern for governments and communities around the world, and the United Kingdom is current...

Published:  Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:33:00 GMT



Busted: Bulgarian Officials Caught Selling Passports for Bitcoin

Authorities in Bulgaria have clamped down on the shady sale of international passports to foreigners from some parts of Eastern Europe in exchange for bitcoin. Erring citizens of Bulgaria, Ukraine ...

Published:  Sun, 04 Nov 2018 01:35:00 GMT



Ugandans with national IDs to get passports with ease

Ugandans who hold valid national identity cards will no longer require recommendation from local authorities to process passports, as the ministry of internal affairs moves to ease the process. This f...

Published:  Tue, 13 Nov 2018 23:03:00 GMT



Lawyers using 'dead Irish grannies' to get passports

Some British lawyers are using their Irish roots in a bid to maintain their status as practitioners of EU law post-Brexit. Law Society director general Ken Murphy said he was aware of a number of Brit...

Published:  Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:30:00 GMT



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