Passport Facts

What is a


That sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?!

Yet, you might be surprised to know just how powerful your passport is. It’s an incredible document that gives you many rights — including the right to travel abroad (assuming you have a visa, of course.)

All persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico, and some other destinations by land or sea (including ferries) may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

Here are some things you may (or may not know) about your passport:

  • Your passport is internationally recognized. It  verifies your identity and nationality.
  • Your passport is valid for air, land and sea crossing, including ferries.
  • Your passport is  required to enter and leave most foreign countries.
  • Your passport is procured only through the U.S. Department of State. 
  • All persons must have their own passports, including infants.

How To Renew a Passport

You can renew by mail if: 

  1. Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged nor altered.
  2. You received the passport within the past 15 years.
  3. You were over age 16 when it was issued.
  4. You still have the same name or can legally document your name change.

You must apply in person for your passport if :

  1. You are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time.
  2. If your previous U.S. passport has expired.
  3. If your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession.
  4. If your passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
  5. If you were under the age of 16 when you received your previous passport.
  6. If your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen.

Tourist stuff – almost free :)

To procure a U.S. passport you will need: Two photographs of yourself, Proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid photo i.d., such as your driver’s license.

So, go ahead – get your passport taken care of – they are good for ten years. Then, when you travel, you’ll be prepared.

And remember: Be as protective of your passport as your wallet or purse. Your valid passport is worth big bucks to unscrupulous people.

Addition Feb 3, 2013 – the amount you need to move to Mexico has changed – see –

Passport article by Barbie.

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