Monday, January 25, 2010

Passports 101

Once you have selected your destination, it’s time to get ready! Besides all the fun things you can do (learn some of the language, research destinations, buy cool travel gear), there are a few very critical items for your to do list, and right at the top should be: Get my passport!

If you already have your passport, great! Get it out and check the following:
  • Expiration Date: The U.S. State Department advises that a U.S. passport should be valid six months beyond your proposed return date. Many countries require up to six months validity before allowing entrance or issuing a visa or visitor’s permit.

  • Your Name: Be sure your passport reflects your current legal name.

  • Blank Pages: If you’re a globetrotter and are running out of blank pages, make sure to add some. Many countries require two blank pages for entry (immigration officers need the space to affix approved permits and/or stamp entry/exit stamps).

  • If you need to get your passport: Get started now! Depending on your program, we may need your passport details up to three months prior to departure. If this is the first time you will be issued a passport, start the process by first finding your state-issued birth certificate. Go to to find the appropriate offices to contact about retrieving vital records in all U.S. states and territories.

Whether you’re getting a passport for the first time, renewing your passport, or adding blank pages, the place to start is the U.S. State Department’s travel site:

Get ready to pack your curiosity and GO!

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