Passports 101: The why, where, when, and how of the little blue travel book

It’s the little blue book that could: your passport. Everyone should have one regardless of future travel plans. You never know when you might win that trip to Mexico or want to travel to Canada. The process is fairly painless and once you’re done, you’re good to go for the next ten years.

But before you fantasize about all the travel that could be in your future, let’s get down to the brass tacks of everything you need to know about getting a passport.

Do I need a passport?

Passports are necessary for any travel outside of the United States, and they are created for the protection of the individual. No matter your age, if you are leaving the US, you must have that little blue book.

Where can I get a passport?

Passports can be applied for at many state and federal courts, probate courts, and some post offices. A website with all the locations is below for your convenience.

When do I need to apply for a passport?

You need to apply at least three months prior to leaving the country, though we recommend six months. If you already have a passport, it’s important that you make sure you do not have to renew it. You may have trouble entering a country if your passport is expiring even a few weeks after your trip.

How do I get a passport?

First-time applicants must appear in person. Renewals can be done by mail. You must complete a DSP-11 Passport Application and be present when you sign it. You will also need other identification, so make sure you see the latest paperwork requirements in the link below.

Do I also need a visa?

If there are visas involved in the process of Wonder Voyage traveling, your Voyage Coordinator will make you aware of all requirements and steps necessary for obtaining them.

And please, keep your passport in a safe place that you’ll always remember so you don’t have that last-minute pre-trip panic attack. There is nothing like the feeling that sets in when you’re about to travel out of the country the next day, and you can’t find your passport. It’s not enough to have one if you don’t know where it is.

* The website gives you all you need to know about applying for or renewing a passport. You can download all necessary forms and a step-by-step checklist. The website also has listings of all local passport offices.

After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.

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