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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.

Americans could lose passports if 'seriously delinquent' on taxes

Americans who are behind on their taxes could be denied a passport, or even have theirs revoked, unless they enter into a payment agreement -- a radical step that forms part of a crackdown on delinquent tax debt legislated by Congress. The IRS announced ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:37:00 GMT



Dutton says facial recognition in lieu of passports 'very close' to reality

The Australian government has been trialling facial recognition at Canberra Airport, allowing passengers to walk through the terminal from their flight without producing their passport. According to Australia's new Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:08:00 GMT



PH to push for worker right to keep passports, cellphones in talks with Kuwait

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) - The government is eyeing talks with Kuwaiti counterparts on February 28 to finally sign an agreement that will protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), an official said Wednesday. "Actually we are requesting ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:33:00 GMT



Scanned Canadian passports found on open FedEx Amazon S3 bucket

The revelation last week of the discovery of unprotected scanned identification documents from a number of countries - including Canadian passports - on an open Amazon S3 server apparently created by a company FedEx bought several years ago is just ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:05:00 GMT



The IRS Is Coming for Your Passports

The U.S. government is building the world's largest debtors' prison: the United States. Beginning this month, the Internal Revenue Service will begin denying passports to some American citizens with unpaid taxes and, in some cases, revoking the ...

Published:  Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:52:00 GMT



What's up with passports For starters, higher fees

It would be convenient to blame Les Leach of Thousand Oaks, Calif., for my current obsession with the documents one needs (or will need) for travel. Leach wrote to ask what one should do if a passport is misplaced or lost. But instead, I will thank him ...

Published:  Sat, 17 Feb 2018 20:00:00 GMT



PA resolution for diplomatic passports to MPAs

LAHORE - Punjab Assembly on Tuesday passed two resolutions of public interest including the one demanding issuance of diplomatic passports to MPAs for five years on the pattern of MNAs. On private members day, two out of five resolutions on agenda were ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:17:00 GMT



Will we be allowed back Orengo and Wanjigi ask after passports returned

Nasa members James Orengo and Jimi Wanjigi finally have their passports and can travel to Zimbabwe for Morgan Tsivangirai's burial. The Siaya Senator and businessman were to leave on Monday night but were barred, just hours after the High Court suspended ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:13:00 GMT



Orengo, Wanjigi barred from leaving the country despite court order reinstating their passports

- Siaya County Senator James Orengo and billionaire Jimmy Wanjigi barred from traveling outside the country moments after court reinstated their passports - The two were on their way to Harare, Zimbabwe, to join NASA leader Raila Odinga who had traveled to ...

Published:  Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:53:00 GMT



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