Guru Travel Tips of Proper Necessary Documentation

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  • It is different from a passport.  A visa is the permission, stamped in your passport, to allow you to enter the country that you wish to visit.  It verifies that your passport has been checked and that everything is correct and acceptable.  The visa gives you permission to visit a country for a specified period of time and for a specific purpose
  • Most countries in Europe don't require a visa.  In other parts of the world it's about 50-50.  To be safe, ask your travel consultant well in advance and check with the nearest consulate to make sure that you’ll have the proper paperwork needed.  Usually, visas take several weeks to process.  Again remember, all travel documents are the responsibility of you, the passenger.
  • Notify the local police and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately.  The sooner the better so that they can begin to work on a replacement. They can also grant you permission to re-enter the United States on a temporary passport, if necessary.  You should have made a copy of your original passport.  That along with the extra passport photos that you brought with you, will help to expedite the process !
  • usembassy.state.gov  Check the U.S. State Department International Information Program’s U.S. Embassies web page.  It contains links to U.S. Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries throughout the world.  While each is different, they all contain information that would be helpful to a U.S. citizen planning on visiting the particular foreign country.
  • Soon you'll need a passport to travel anywhere outside the U.S.  The passport requirement for all destinations, even Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, was to take effect January 1, 2007.  It has been temporarily delayed until 2009, but get the passport now and use it !  It's still the best form of I.D., especially in today's security conscious world. Foreign travel always requires a passport.  Often it's easier to enter some countries than to re-enter the United States.
  • Just assume that the foreign travel you are planning will require a passport or visa and plan accordingly.
  • You should be able to find specific instructions on what type of paperwork you’ll need from the embassy or consulate of the country you’ll be visiting.  

  • Remember, the passenger is totally responsible for all travel documentation.

  • If you don’t already have a passport, be sure to apply at least 3 months before you plan to travel.

  • If you have a valid, current passport, make sure that it will still be valid for the entire length of your trip.

  • If your passport has an expiration date within the next six months, consider re-newing early. Some countries require that passports be valid six months after returning to the U.S.
  • Any State Department Passport Agency or a designated U.S. Post Office.

 

  • www.travel.state.gov  Try the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services web page.  It contains information on how to obtain a U.S. passport.
  • You will need to appear in person the first time, at one of the official locations mentioned above. You'll also have to appear in person if it has been more than 15 years since your previous passport was issued or if you were under 16 years of age when it was issued. Applicants under 14 are required to appear in person along with both parents or one parent and a guardian.

  • You will need one of the following to provide proof of U.S. citizenship.
  1. A certified copy of your birth certificate with a U.S. State or county embossed seal. OR
  2. Your naturalization/Citizenship certificate. OR
  3. Your previously issued and expired passport. If your name has changed from the one listed on your previous passport, you must submit the sealed legal document showing the name change. (Marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)
  • Two identical, recent, color photographs, 2x2inch front view facial, from the bottom of your chin to top of head, including hair.  No hats or dark glasses, or other head coverings can be worn.  Some exceptions, for health or religious reasons apply.  Have them taken professionally.  Use a passport shop since personal snapshots or those taken at  a photo machine are not acceptable.  Get a few extra since they can be used for international driver's permits or other documents. Having extra photographs with you on the tr[p, also makes it easier to replace the passport if it's lost.

  • You'll need a driver’s license or Military I.D. issued within the last six months. State I.D. cards are acceptable only with other forms of I.D.  A parent’s I.D. can be used for a minor child.

  • The completely filled out, official passport application form.

  • The current passport fee.  It will be listed on your application form. Be sure that the form and amounts are both current.

  • www.travel.state.gov  Also try the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Foreign Entry Requirements web page.  It lists the entry requirements of all foreign countries. Included are the addresses and telephone numbers of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States.  This site is a good starting point, but remember that the information is subject to change.  To be safe, check directly with the embassy or consulate of the country that you are planning to visit.

  • http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/  This is the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Consular Offices web page. It contains a current listing of contact information for foreign countries’ consular offices in the United States.

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