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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.

US extends ban on passports for North Korea travel

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is extending a ban on the use of U.S. passports for travel to North Korea for another year. A State Department notice released Monday says the ban will remain in ...

Published:  Mon, 19 Aug 2019 09:42:00 GMT



They're US citizens and shouldn't fear deportation. But they're carrying their passports anyway

(CNN)Alejandra Duran was devastated the day she decided it was time to get US passport cards for her children. It wasn't because they were planning to take a trip abroad. Instead, the 42-year-old ...

Published:  Fri, 16 Aug 2019 03:45:00 GMT



Travelers should expect major delays as airport systems for checking passports in the US crash

US Customs systems for processing arriving travelers' passports were reportedly down on Friday afternoon, leading to massive delays at airport arrivals halls throughout the country. JFK Airport's ...

Published:  Fri, 16 Aug 2019 13:54:45 GMT



IRS can now revoke U.S. passports over back taxes

Aug. 14 (UPI) --The Internal Revenue Service has instituted changes that enables the U.S. State Department to revoke American travelers' passports if they owe a substantial amount of back taxes. The ...

Published:  Wed, 14 Aug 2019 08:46:00 GMT



Todd & Julie Chrisley Granted $100,000 Bond, Must Surrender Passports

Todd Chrisley and his wife, Julie, will be given the chance to bond out of custody ... if they can fork over the $100,000 each. The Chrisley's just appeared at a federal courthouse in Atlanta to face ...

Published:  Wed, 14 Aug 2019 14:36:00 GMT



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