You may be contemplating anything from a weekend trip to Quebec to a month-long tour around Europe, but before you go, you should make sure your passport is in order.
Your passport is a travel document that identifies you to foreign governments as you cross the border. Having a passport is a globally valid form of identification, and is necessary to travel to another country!
Passports are usually valid for about 10 years for adults—5 for children 18 and under—and applications and renewals can take up to 8 weeks to process. While it’s possible to expedite this, it can get a bit expensive! This is why it’s important to plan ahead.
Important: Most people don’t know that many countries require at least six months remaining on your passport before it expires. Airlines will not let you board with an about to expire or expired Passport.
What kind of passport should you get?
There are several different kinds of passports, and you should apply for the one that makes the most sense to you!
- Tourist/Ordinary Passport
This is the passport that you are most likely to need—it allows for international travel.
- Passport Card
This kind of passport takes a little less time to go through, but is only valid for land and sea travel to Mexico, Canada, and some islands in the Caribbean. If you’re just planning on a day trip to Canada, this may be a passport that makes sense for you.
- Official or Diplomatic Passport
This kind of passport is provided to U.S. government employees (and sometimes their families) for official travel. If you’re eligible for an official passport, your place of work will tell you!
- Emergency Passport
A passport that is available if your own is stolen or lost while abroad. If this happens to you, contact your embassy or consulate!