Here are some facts about your passport you may not know. They include some that are important and others just for fun!
There is more to your passport than meets the eyes, as any Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer will tell you. They will also advise you that before starting your travels, you familiarize yourself with the various aspects of what your passport offers you or, does not! Some basic knowledge can help make your arrival and departure procedures more efficient and relaxed.
Plan Ahead For a Smooth Transit
Whether you are a seasoned traveler or making your first journey, you want to ensure you have a convenient and efficient document processing experience. One important tip to achieve this is, if needed, make your passport application well in time. In addition:
- Have the appropriate passports and associated travel documents to hand for the processing CBP officer, at your home base or in a foreign country
- Find out about the required travel documents for entry into the USA or elsewhere
- Keep these documents with you during traveling and do not pack them
Automated Passport Control (APC) and Mobile Passport Control
There are various processes that can help you not only get a passport quickly but also aid in making the entry process more traveler-friendly, efficient and paper-free. Save some precious time and frustration by being able to submit your biographic information and answers to inspection-influenced questions electronically from self-service kiosks. These are situated at over 50-airports worldwide.
Keeping the Pace With Progress – The Right Apps
On this note, there is a convenient service located at 23-airports in the USA, whereby American citizens and visitors from Canada can technically submit their passport details and response answers to CBP-related questions. This is made via apps for:
- Smartphone’s or tablets before arrival
- Users of Android and iPhones can download the Mobile Passport app
- Free from Google Play Store and Apple App Store
If you are entering a country with any goods originating overseas, declare them, including duty-free items!
Checking Your Passport Validity
Probably the easiest way to verify your passport is still valid is the expiration date shown on the front page. However, there can also be other influencing factors that can affect the validity of your passport and which may not be obvious, and include:
- Accurate information
- A change of name
- Changes in appearance, such as injury or plastic surgery influences
- Your passport is in good condition
When Applying for a New Password
Other influencing factors that can determine your application for a new passport can be:
- Page(s) torn or defaced
- Damage from fire or water
- Unofficial writing or marking
- A passport reported stolen is invalidated. In the event of you recovering it cannot be used for travel or identification purposes
Passport Application Outside the USA
Procedures differ should you need to apply for an American passport outside the country. If you reside in Canada, for instance, you may be able to renew your passport by mail from Canada if you intend traveling overseas in over 4-weeks time.
Your application must be made in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate if you:
- Are a first-time applicant
- Applying for a new passport for a child under 16-years of age
- Each American embassy and consulate has different procedures for the submission and processing of your final documents.
- Forms, supporting documentation, and fees are similar
Some Validation Factors to be Aware of
In general, it is wise to be always aware of some basic passport safety tips, such as that a passport should have a minimum validation of 6-months when you travel internationally. The majority of countries do not grant entry to a traveler unless their passport has a determined expiry date at least 6-months beyond the final travel date.
The 6-months validity ruling is now the standard requirement for many countries, and most visitors to the United States are now also required to have six months validation of their passports. Worth noting is that:
- Classified adult passports for American citizens who are 16-years and above are valid for ten years
- Passports for minors, 15-years and younger are valid for 5-years
- In general, it is usual to allow between 4-to-6-weeks for first passport processing.
Adding to all of this is that amongst the most common errors made by travelers is failing to renew their passport before they travel, which could result in an embarrassing moment when you’re denied entry onto the aircraft!