Photo Regulations for US Passports Change from November 01, 2016

Rules and regulations regarding documents, application forms and photos keep on changing for US passports from time to time. And all this is done to enhance the security measures in the country.

The new rule that is implemented regarding getting a new passport in USA is related to the passport photo. From November 01, 2016, the candidate has to remove his glasses while clicking photo for the passport. Infact this rule will also be applicable for people who are looking to renew their passports as photos are needed at the time of passport renewal as well. As per AAA Northeast, without this step, it is becoming difficult to process passports fast. Continue reading

Many European Nations Don’t Accept U.S Passports – Know the Reason

Planning an international vacation with your family to some European destination? Well, it might sound strange but it is true that many European countries will not accept US passports. So before you start the procedure of planning, here is some important information that might be of help to you.

I know a couple who had immaculately planned their European holiday. With the Monaco Grand Prix dates colliding with the holiday dates, they had decided to take a halt in France and enjoy the grand event. This was among the ‘wish list’ that the couple had. But, things didn’t seem as smooth as they had thought. Continue reading

New Passport Rules to Come in Force from November 2016 for USA Citizens

Citizens of USA, who are looking to get a new passport or renew their passport, will need to follow some new rules and regulations for the same. Rules regarding passport photos are changing and it will come in effect from 1 st November 2016. As per information obtained from AAA Northeast, candidates looking to apply for fresh US passport or passport renewal need to remove their spectacles while clicking pictures for the passport.

This step is being taken as it is getting difficult for the U.S State Department to verify the identities of various travelers. Continue reading

The Inter-state Passport Looks at Enhancing the Completion Rates for Graduates

This far, the transfer rules of the United States of America were not pretty pleasant for the students in the middle of a course to say the least. When the matter was regarding an intra-state transfer, things looked pretty normal where students were allowed to carry on with their courses without losing any credit and as such without any hiccups. But when it was about an inter-state transfer, it meant that the students who were enforced to change their location in the middle of a course would have to lose quite a few credits if not the entire ones forcing them to start all over again from the block. Continue reading

Tips on Preserving Your Passport While on Travel

Your passport is probably the most important document that you can possess when you are travelling abroad. Thus, keeping them in safe custody while in an alien country demands some attentive measures as this is the one document which is the proof of your identity and if you are amidst any trouble, this is what bails you put of your critical situation. Losing your passport abroad might fetch you into consequences which would be far-fetched to say the least. Thus, we would try to figure out through this discourse the necessities and the ways out of preserving your most important possession during the span of your travel. Continue reading

Good News for the Spanish Supporters Residing at US During the Euro Cup 2016

Perhaps for the first time in the history of football two major tournaments are going on simultaneously. With the US obsessed with the Copa Centenario the residents from the European nations would also like to have a glimpse of the Euro and that too directly from the stadium. This thought is specially applicable for the Spanish people as they are the only team in the history of Euro cup to have defended the title over the last two editions and winning the current tournament in France will definitely cement their position in the history for being the first team to achieve hat-trick of success in the Euro. Continue reading

IRS can now Quash Passports as US passports for Domestic Flights Start Appearing

In the year 2020 October, travelers may face more hassles for domestic air travel. Very soon your driver’s license might not be a sufficient document to get you through the security and on board. In fact, as per the Los Angeles Times, including California, there are 26 states which don’t meet the regulations of the government. For these states, there has been allowed a time extension till 10th October, 2016 but soon after that you can be sure that the US passport will be required. Till 22nd January, 2018, there is a relief and Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary mentioned in a statement that until the aforementioned date, residents can continue using their driving license for traveling in domestic flights. However by 1st October, 2020, every traveler who travels by air will require a Real ID- compliant license for traveling domestically. As per the Real ID Act, they created a national standard for IDs issued by the state.

It is therefore clear that a US passport will have increasing vitality even with regards to domestic traveling and the rise of importance of the passport clashes with a brand new law which gives enough power to the IRS to revoke passports. The easy solution to travel issues might be to dig your passport out and they’re already in proof within domestic air check in lines. However, have you ever wondered about what would happen if you still owe money to the IRS?

Will the IRS revoke passports of the indebted?

HR.22 added a new part 7345 to the tax code which has been given the name of “Revocation or Denial of Passport in case of Tax Delinquencies”. This idea dates back to the year 2012 when it was reported by the Government Accountability Office that passports could be used to collecting IRS taxes. Now that there is a change and the entire thing has become a law, the department of State will gradually start blocking all those Americans who are seriously drowning in tax debt. This will include anyone whom the IRS certifies as having accumulated tax debt which is more than $50,000.

Many months after this law was passed, there were no such administrative details about how it will be executed. But there were higher chances that it would mean no passport and no renewal of passports. It could even mean that the State Department may cancel the current passports of those people who fall into this section. The list of taxpayers who will be affected will be compiled by the IRS and while doing this, they will use $50,000 as a limit to unpaid government taxes. One more point to note is that if you’re contesting a tax bill with IRS at the court, that won’t be considered as delinquent. Apart from this, there is also another administrative exception which allows the State Department to issue emergency passports for various reasons.

Considering the 8 million Americans who live abroad, most of them are feeling the sting of FATCA related problems. Although passports are extremely vital for traveling internationally, state flights should also make them more fundamental.

Orlando IA Launches 1st Facial Recognition Device as an Extension of the Automated Passport Control

With the increase in terrorist activities worldwide, it is quite an acceptable fact that the security system is also going to receive a hike. The modern generation is all about the computer generated things which are things that might easily be sent and received. The similar logic applies with e-passports which has been a well-accepted innovation across the world. These e-passports have given the security officials even more scope to strengthen the security system across the countries. Slowly but surely the old paper passports will certainly give way to e-passports and the modern trend has already been implemented with a lot of success primarily in the Orland IA where the first facial recognition device has already been installed and has started working since October, 2015.

Thus, Orlando IA is the first airport in America to successfully install the facial recognition system to its automated passport control (APC) kiosks. The air transport IT solutions provider of America, SITA has already announced that similar plans are in the pipeline for other airports as well. This would be easily implemented by upgrading the kiosks situated in the other airports of the country.

While most of the passengers has been welcoming this initiative over the last few months, there has been many as well who has not taken this initiative too positively as, they see this as an additional burden which makes them lose even more time to check in and out of the airport. But as per the reports of the SITA president, once implemented in a proper manner, these kiosks would certainly decrease the lines by 40%.

As per the needs of the implementation of the new technology, the US government has already issued 500 million e-passports worldwide. These e-passports will certainly possess facial biometrics while some of them also possess figure prints as an addition to these facial biometrics. According to a survey conducted among the efficient security officials, this initiative will certainly bolster the security system of the country and the new APC kiosks will certainly tighten the security system in the international airports.

SITA has already launched with a great amount of success nearly 300 kiosks in 10 different airports and as per reports; they have hundreds of them ordered in the pipeline. They are quite confident regarding the fact that these kiosks are the future of the security system worldwide and the future is quite bright. The company has already showcased the APC kiosks in the Annual ACI-NA Conference and are of the opinion that once the passengers get accustomed to the system in a proper way, it will certainly save the a lot of time to check in and out of the airports even after providing the country with options of additional security. As per other reports, Las Vegas and Miami airports are among the predecessors who are ordering these kiosks to enhance their security system among many other airports.

Another Passport Disaster Approaching – Renew Passport Soon

The Great Passport Disaster of 2007 is not unknown to people. Almost 18 million US citizens faced the impact of the disaster and were trying really hard to get their passport before the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative became effective. The initiative directed that no one could now use any kind of official ID for returning to the United States from any place in the hemisphere. And this included places like Caribbean, Montreal, Quebec and Mexico.

This initiative was taken to strengthen anti-terrorism measures after the ghastly 9/11 and resulted from the 2004 act of Congress. In 2007, there was flood of passport applications and things went completely haywire. Americans were bewildered, deadlines were shifted, the passport processors found themselves under huge piles of paperwork and vacation plans and traveling went for a toss.

Till that time, majority of the American population did not have a passport – to be precise, the percentage is almost 3/4th of the whole population. But with the initiative coming into effect almost everyone wanted a passport now and the thing became weirdly out of control. Because from 23rd January 2007, a passport would be needed to fly to places which could till then be accessed with an ‘official ID’.

2016 and 2017 is approaching and all those passports which had been issued at that time will come for renewal as the validity of these passports is for 10 years. It just seems a thing of recent past and time really flies. People who had got their passports in the Great Passport Disaster know the pains of getting the document. And they are apprehensive of the renewal process as well, because all those million passports will come for renewal almost at the same time. Many are anticipating a sequel of the Great Passport Disaster in 2016-2017.

If you are a holder of American passport and your validity date is till the end of 2016, it is good if you plan for your passport renewal soon enough to avoid the rush that is bound to take place. And without the passport having validity of 6 months or more, you cannot make any kind of international travel plan at all. So it is best to be safe and get the passport renewed much in advance to avoid the rush and to get things done in a smooth manner.

The State Department in USA is also highly worried about the upcoming pressure of passport renewal. Demands for passport renewals have increased in the past few years. In fact millions of new passports are being issued by the State Department annually and the numbers are surging with each passing year. To make things little easy for the passport officials, the State Department has launched the Apply Early campaign so that people can have their passports renewed in advance and there is no high rush at a particular time.

The time crunch is being anticipated to commence in 2016 and will continue for some time. As per reports from the State Department, the current waiting time for passports is 4-6 weeks, but it has the chance of going up to 10 weeks or more during that time. Not only this, there have been price hikes in the rates of charges for passports and related issues:

  • New passport rate – $135 (previously $100)
  • Rate of passport renewal – $110 (previously $75)
  • Addition of pages – $82 (previously – free)
  • Renouncing of US citizenship formally – $450 (previously – free)

The Apply Early campaign should be successful if people understand the importance of it. Usually passport turnaround time remains fastest from September to December.

US Embassy of China will Discontinue Adding Additional Pages to Passport from 2016

The Embassy of United States of America in China has decided not to add pages to American passports after 31st December, 2015. Hereafter, the holders would require applying for new documents for their journey after the expiry of the older ones. Although this was declared in china during a government holiday which is very surprising as it is a very important announcement, but consistent announcements, posts and reports from elsewhere confirmed the news. The US Embassy in japan was one of the pioneers in publishing the news.

As per the report of the US Embassy in Japan, “For cost and security reasons, the U.S. Department of State has begun phasing out the option of additional visa pages for U.S. passports. Beginning October 1, 2014, all Embassies/Consulates worldwide will issue only 52-page passport books for full-validity passports. The thinner
28-page book option is no longer available. Requests for additional visa pages will be accepted for existing passports only through December 31, 2015. Starting January 1, 2016, applicants who need extra pages will need to apply to renew their passports and be issued the standard 52-page book…”

This newly made regulation would certainly prove to be a problematic one for the US passport holders in the country. In the current regulation the time required to add a page to the old passport is a 20 minutes affair. But with the changed rules, once the passport is out of space, the entire document is to be renewed again and it is naturally a time consuming affair. The only breathing space is perhaps the fact that the new passports would all be of 52 pages instead of 28.

As such, people in China with the will to visit the US will have to, from now on, be even more frequent in renewing their passports along with the annual 10 day visa renewal and a calculation says that holders of 10 years China visa might find themselves in a situation where they will be 2 passports beyond the original holding the visa itself.