The Travel Factory Blog
There’s a real good country and western song out called “Don’t Wait” and that is my theme song for this column today. You just never can tell when you might get an invitation to go to an exciting international destination, and if you have a passport in hand, you are READY!!!
It’s the best identification for you as a U. S. citizen, the cost is $110 plus some postage, and it’s good for 10 years. This time of the year is a good time to get started on the application process. Later in the year, especially around the first quarter is when the passport office gets real busy. A passport for your children under 16 costs $80, and it is valid for 5 years.
Don’t be lulled into the price reduction of a passport CARD in contrast to a passport BOOK. A passport card costs only $55, but it is good only for traveling into and out of Mexico or Canada by foot or auto. You cannot fly in and out of these countries with a passport card, only a passport BOOK will allow you to do that.
If this is your first passport, you must apply in person. If there is not a passport office in your city, the local post office handles those responsibilities. Yes, your children must also be in person for the application. If you are in a hurry for the passport, in Texas you would have to make the application in person at the Houston Department of State Passport Office. The cost is an additional $60 fee to expedite the transaction.
You will have to have two passport size photos that accompany the application; the size is described on the passport application. Some post offices will take your photo for a fee of $15. You can also get them done at Pack & Mail and Walgreens at a lesser price. Make sure you do not have your glasses on or propped on your head, or band-aids on your face. Also, they would reject the photo if part of the top of your head is cropped off. Those are some real experience situations I have heard of where the passport would not be processed because the photos were not legal.
Some folks make copies of their passport and put the copies in their suitcase. Some make pictures of them on their smart phone, or keep a copy in the cloud accessible through the phone or tablet.
In the late third quarter or fourth quarter of the year, you can expect to receive the passport back within 3-4 weeks. Other times of the year it could take up to 6 weeks.
Interestingly, I read the statistic where in 2004, almost 9 million passports were issued. In 2007, they issued 18 million, and just last year, only 14 million were processed. Currently there are 27 passport agencies in the United States, so processing that number of passports each year is quite a task. That’s another reason not to wait!!!
We don’t issue passports at The Travel Factory, but we certainly like to help you go to places where you get to use it, so give our experienced agents a call and let us help you manufacture the vacation of your dreams. Call at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040.