April 22, 2009
On June 1, 2009, the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will come into effect for land and sea ports of entry. From that date forward, you will be required to present a US passport book, US passport card, or other document approved by the Department of Homeland Security to enter or re-enter the United States through land borders of sea ports of entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda. You are encouraged to apply early for passports, as passport demand is on the rise. Passports are obtained through the Passport Services Division of the Department of State. Through your local passport acceptance agent, usually the Post Office or county courthouse, you can apply for a new passport, renew your old one, or replace a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, or add new pages to your existing book.
You've got your passport and you're ready to go on your trip, right? Not quite. You still have to check with the country or countries you'll be visiting to determine whether or not you'll need a visa. A visa is permission from a country to cross their borders. A visa comes in the form of a page inserted in your U.S. Passport. You usually have to mail your passport to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you'll be visiting, so allow plenty of time to accomplish this.
Also, check the State Department website for travel warnings and consular information sheets that provide helpful information about the country you plan on visiting. The State Department services website also contains very comprehensive information on all the services it provides both stateside and abroad. This includes crisis assistance for U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, and various travel publications available on-line.
American Embassies and Consulates General
Many U.S. Diplomatic Missions abroad have information on the internet. For those that don't, check the State Department's Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts for addresses, and phone and fax numbers for U.S. Embassies and Consulates throughout the world.
Passports in a Hurry
Passports usually take from 30 to 40 days to issue. For a $60.00 fee, plus the cost of two-way overnight mail, you can "expedite" this process and receive your passport in 7 to 10 working days.
US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website- www.travel.state.gov
National Passport Information Center toll-free phone number- 1-877-487-2778
June 1 New Passport Information
April 22, 2009