4 Situations that Call For Expired Passport Emergency Renewal

If you’ve got a big international trip coming up and an expired passport sitting in your travel bag — and you only have a few days until takeoff — you’ve got a problem.

But just because everyone’s expecting you doesn’t mean you can jump to the front of the line and get an expired passport emergency renewal in less than six to eight weeks, the standard turnaround for a ticket out of the country.

Or does it?

Actually, there are certain scenarios where you can get a renewal of an expired passport today, sometimes in as little as a few hours.

The secret is to go to your local Passport Agency.

But here’s the catch: you must have travel already booked (with proof), a filled-out passport application with supporting documentation (expired passport or birth certificate), and a 2″ by 2″ color photo in front of a white or off-white background.

And be prepared to wait in line and pay an extra $60 on top of the cost of your passport ($110 for a renewal and $145 for a first-time passport).

passport renewal form

1. Life-or-Death Emergency

If there’s a serious illness, injury or death in your immediate family and your flight leaves within 72 hours, you have what the Department of State calls a Life-or-Death Emergency, and it gives you the highest priority.

That means you can call your local Passport Agency and schedule an appointment to meet with an agent and get your expired passport emergency renewal before your imminent flight.

But you still need to gather a bunch of materials and bring them to your appointment — like a filled-out form, a 2″ by 2″ picture, a copy of your ticket and your old passport.

Make one mistake, however, and you could be sent to the back of the line for a few more hours, or they might even send you home to come back another day if you’re missing something big.

And if you don’t have an appointment or your flight leaves tomorrow and you don’t have time to make one, you better show up early.

That’s because, like the DMV, they’ll serve people with appointments on time, but everyone else gets a number. And if you’re not there hours before they open, you could end up waiting behind dozens of people all day instead of catching your flight.

2. Urgent International Travel Plans

If your flight leaves within two weeks and you don’t have a life-or-death situation, you can still book an appointment at your local Passport Agency and get an expired passport emergency renewal.

The catch is that you can’t book an appointment more than two weeks out from your travel date, so make sure you’re not calling your local Passport Agency too early because they’ll just tell you to call back later.

You can, however, try your luck by showing up sans-appointment at a Passport Agency, but there are no guarantees.

Even if you’re one of the first in line, a simple mishap like a missing piece of documentation or an unacceptable photo can hold up your renewal of an expired U.S. passport.

And even if everything’s perfect, a stubborn agent might not take too kindly to someone skirting the rules and block your renewal.

3. You’d Rather Not Wait

If you’re like most people and you’d simply rather not wait the couple months it can take to get a new passport in the mail — longer if it gets lost or there’s some kind of hang-up — you can apply for an expedited passport emergency renewal at a passport acceptance facility or through the mail.

The best part is that you don’t need a reason to expedite, and you also don’t need proof of travel or even real travel plans at all; you can expedite your passport just because you don’t want to go through the regular channels and wait forever.

That all sounds good until you realize you need a different form than what’s required by a normal passport renewal, and it’s not clear how long it’ll actually take — the Department of State says under six to eight weeks.  Generally, it’s known that a “typical” expedited renewal will take two or three weeks, to use this approach, but you will not be provided a delivery date and things can get lost in the mail. 

The kicker is that your passport will be sent via First Class Mail unless you pay for 1-2 day delivery service on top of the $60 expedite fee and the $110 passport renewal application fee.

4. The Non-Emergency Expired Passport Emergency Renewal

But if you really don’t want to wait — and you don’t have an emergency but you do have tickets and travel plans — you can try what we call the expired passport emergency renewal for non-emergencies.

It works like this.

Gather all your materials, including a copy of your ticket, a filled-out passport renewal application, your old passport or a birth certificate, a correctly-sized color photo and enough cash to cover all the fees, and bring everything to the closest Passport Agency.

Keep in mind, however, that there are only a couple dozen Passport Agencies nationwide, so even if there’s one in your state — most states have none — you may have to travel and book a hotel to make this work.

The idea is you want to be first (or close to first) in line when they open, but give yourself a couple hours’ buffer here. Trust us; if they open at eight, show up at five or six.

And if you’re at the front of the line when the doors open and you get a helpful agent, you could be walking out of the Passport Agency with a brand new passport. Just think of the places you could go!

But not so fast. If they’ve got a lot of appointments or you’re missing the smallest little thing, you’re out of luck, and you’ll have to come back another day.

Let The Passport Office Help

If all that sounds like a nuisance, we agree.

Here at The Passport Office, we can help you get an expedited passport renewal without all the fuss.

We’ve helped thousands of travelers just like you skip the lines, confusing forms and complicated picture requirements by helping you through every step of an expired passport emergency renewal.

And if you’re missing anything, we’ll courteously walk you through it, not kick you back to the end of the line.

Just check out our easy-to-use passport renewal application form or call or click today to see how we can help you!

Six Benefits of Expedited Passport Services

There are many benefits associated with getting an expedited passport. Taking advantage of expedited passport services is a much-needed solution for many travelers, especially those who need immediate travel.  The Passport Office is here to help you get on your way as quickly as possible.   

International travelers have plenty of things to organize before their trips, and loose ends always seem to appear shortly before the departure date.  If one of those “loose ends” involves remembering that your passport is expired or you need a new one, expedited passport services is the way to go.   

An expedited passport service can send you on your way to your dream vacation!

The Passport Office is a renowned expedited passport agency in our industry, with locations in several major cities.  Whether you prefer to walk into a business or click away online, you’ll always receive top-notch customer service and will be ready to take off on your next adventure with quick and efficient expedited passport services. After reading through these six wonderful ways in which an expedited passport can make your travels smoother and simpler, be sure to visit The Passport Office for the best quality expedited passport services. 

1. Avoid Unforeseen Delays 

The number one benefit of an expedited passport is without a doubt the ability to avoid long delays. No one enjoys waiting in long lines whether it is at the grocery store, post office, or any other business. With The Passport Office, all you need to do is spend a few minutes online completing your application and your new passport will be sent to your home address within a matter of days.  

The Passport Office has unparalleled customer service, with a team of experts available to answer any questions you may have about your passport application process. There are also locations across the US, so if you’re more comfortable applying in person, The Passport Office has you covered!  

It is common for people to make errors on their passport applications, especially if it is your first time applying for a passport.  A mistake on your application may mean a delay in receiving your passport and thereby cause other problems. Thankfully, you can avoid the delay of waiting in the mail for an approved application and passport. With The Passport Office, you will know quickly if your application is error-free and can choose your personalized option of delivery time based on how quickly you are taking off and how much you’d like to pay. 

2. Receive Personalized Services 

Instead of opting for regular passport services through the State Department, choosing an expedited passport service will guarantee you quick and efficient services. The Passport Office’s top priority is to make sure you receive quality service and all within your time constraints.  

You can choose from a multitude of delivery options depending on how quickly you need your new or renewed passport. No matter if you need a passport in two weeks or are willing to pay a little extra for overnight expedited passport services, you’ll be able to pick what suits your custom needs. 

The Passport Office focuses on helping you secure your passports as seamlessly as possible. Our team of professionals will ensure you have all the necessary information you need for a new passport and to receive it as quickly as you need. 

3. Skip Long Lines and Maintain Your Schedule 

Another wonderful benefit of expedited passports is that you can skip the unnecessary long line. There is no need to wait in a sweaty, cramped line at a crowded agency while you miss work or other important things. You can simply apply for an expedited passport with a few clicks of a mouse or by walking into a conveniently located local building of The Passport Office.  

Let the team at The Passport Office do the waiting around for the application approval, and you can kick back and rest comfortably knowing that your new or renewed passport will be arriving in the mail in just a matter of days. 

By applying online, not only do you get to skip the long lines at an office, but you can also skip the traffic lines and avoid any parking fees and gas prices.  Let the Internet work for you. 

4. Reduce Stress 

In these modern times, it can be difficult to find some down time. Especially when you’re planning an international vacation or business trip when there are so many things to get done ahead of time. Don’t let applying for a passport be another stressful to-do item on your checklist. By applying for an expedited passport through The Passport Office you can be sure that you’re in good hands and your passport will be on its way to your front steps in no time.  

An expedited passport grants you peace of mind in moments when things just don’t seem to be going right. If you’ve lost your passport or your passport has been stolen, The Passport Office will get you a new one right away so that you can be sure to travel as soon as you need to. There could also be times when you’re on top of all your travel details but fail to notice that your passport has expired or is just about to expire. The Passport Office takes care of those moments of panic by helping you obtain an expedited passport to make sure you’ll travel on your schedule. 

5. Free Up Family Time 

For those traveling with their entire families, taking time to apply and wait for a passport can be nearly impossible with little ones to take care of before and during your trip. There are much more important priorities for families who are about to travel.  Everything from packing to organizing lodging to putting together entertainment on the plane to food prep is much more involved when families with children travel together.  Adding several new passports to the mix can also be extremely difficult.   Eliminate that aspect of your planning by looking into expedited passport services for you and the entire family. 

Visiting a regional passport agency can be extremely time-consuming. During peak travel time periods, you could even be waiting for hours in lines. Even for those not traveling with children, with an international trip forthcoming, there are much better ways to spend your time prepping for your trip than waiting in passport application lines. By going through an expedited passport agency like The Passport Office, you can obtain your travel documents with convenience and ease in order to free up your time to invest your energy in more important matters. 

Excited family traveling

6. Get Your Passport Quickly 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of an expedited passport is that you’ll be guaranteed to get your passport quickly. There is really no need to wait up to six weeks or more for your passport. For that matter, there’s no need to wait for even three weeks for expedited services. Through The Passport Office, you can have your new or renewed passport within a day or two. If you really need a passport immediately, you can even receive one as quickly as the next day. Look into applying for an expedited passport through The Passport Office today and be on your way to your next international adventure. 

Top Five Cheapest Countries To Fly To Out Of LAX

Ready for your next international vacation? There are so many cheap flights from LAX that will have you up in the air and off to your next adventure in no time. Los Angeles is a place with many people coming and going, so this major international airport has prioritized quick international flights. Whether you’ve been wanting to dance the night away in Spain or grab a pint in Ireland, you should search for cheap flights from LAX to take you to your enticing destination.  

Los Angeles International Airport is currently one of the largest airports on the planet. As such, LAX has created international flights serving Southern California locals at a price that is easy on the wallet. It’s no wonder over 60 million people annually hop aboard the planes departing from this premiere airport.  

Before you book that luxurious vacation, make sure that your passport is up to date. Even if you’re making last-minute travel plans, The Passport Office has you covered with expedited passports. Specializing in fast passports in Los Angeles, The Passport Office of Los Angeles will help you navigate applying for a new or renewed passport and will deliver your passport to your home or work in a matter of days. And for that last minute time crunch, The Passport Office even offers same-day delivery service. By visiting your local LA Passport Office or using the online service, you will be able to access the top quality expedited passport services in Los Angeles. 

Bring your sunglasses on cheap flights from LAX to countries all over the world.

Travel To Barcelona, Spain 

LAX regularly offers some incredibly cheap flights to Barcelona, Spain, a top travel destination for vacationing families and young travelers alike. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Barcelona truly has a little bit of everything for everyone.  

Barcelona contains both the authentically historic and a wildly curious nightlife. It is a city that is richly steeped in history, with places like the Barri Gothic dating back to Roman times. There is also stunning architecture – Gaudi is everywhere – and unique and scrumptious food.  

There is a wide variety of things to do and places to see in Barcelona, Spain. No matter what your interest, whether it be dancing the night away at beachside nightclubs, exploring scenic trails on the vibrant Park Guell or in the narrow alleys of Barri Gotic, Barcelona draws all types of people to its wondrous city.  

Depending on where you’re coming from, especially if you’re from the bustling city of LA, Barcelona may seem incredibly relaxed for a city. Slow down and enjoy all that this city has to offer. So much of the activity in Barcelona revolves around Las Ramblas, a series of narrow streets and alleys with restaurants, markets, and nightclubs. So be sure to check out this popular scene and the rest that Barcelona has to offer by booking your cheap flight from LAX and making sure to book a fast passport in Los Angeles with the Passport Office. 

Head For London, England  

Cheap flights from LAX can be found all over the map.

As an American taking off on a cheap flight from LAX, you’ll be in for a rich history lesson in London that relates to America’s roots. London is not just known for its history though, as the fun pubs, interesting museums, exciting theatre, and vibrant royalty also draw people here. London is also a world capital of culture and fashion. It has amazing restaurants and markets to eat at and is an exciting place to go out in the evenings.  

London is split into North, West, South and East London – as well as the commercial and tourist hub of Central London. Every district has its own recognizable neighborhoods and there is always something to see and do in each of these locales. With some of the world’s best art, entertainment, shopping, dining, and history, London is a place well worth experiencing. 

Hyde Park is the most famous and enticing park in London, as well as one of the largest. Historically significant, it has hosted a number of demonstrations and protests including protests by the Suffragettes. 

Westminster is more of the political hub of London, and is home to the Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben. Big Ben is the name of the bell housed within the clock tower, and it continues to chime hourly. 

A trip to London really isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic London Eye. The Eye is a giant Ferris wheel offering gorgeous views across the city. It was originally constructed to celebrate the millennium, and continues to be celebrated and admired by tourists and locals alike. At night, the wheel is lit up in seasonal colors and is the centerpiece of London’s annual New Year’s fireworks display. 

For those who budgeted for a cheap flight from LAX and are looking for a more wallet-friendly vacation, it’s important to note that London is a bit more expensive than America. However, just as you can plan ahead and get a fast passport in Los Angeles through The Passport Office, you can also plan ahead to get the best deals and book restaurants and theatre tickets in advance there. 

Say Bonjour To Paris, France 

It’s always a good time to visit Paris, France. Each season brings different allure and magnificence. The warmer months bring more picnics and time to be spent exploring parks. In the colder months, skies may be grey, but there are fewer tourists and fewer lines. There even happens to be year-round events, from outdoor summer concerts to holiday extravaganzas in the winter.  

Paris is best known for it’s delicious and rich cuisine as well as its historic art collections. The River Seine gently flows through the city and passes famous museums, churches that are centuries old, and blocks of Rococo and Neoclassic designed architecture. The electrifying atmosphere alone in Paris is reason enough to book a cheap flight from LAX. 

When visiting this romantic city, be sure to explore Musee d’Orsay, shop major designers on the Champs Elysees, and of course take in the view atop the Eiffel Tower. You can even plan a day trip to Versailles Palace to really soak in all that Paris has to offer.  

Vacation in Moscow, Russia  

Moscow may not be an obvious choice for an American tourist destination, but Russia has so many sights and places to explore which you can get to easily with a cheap flight from LAX. Once you get through the bureaucratic hurdle of obtaining an entry visa, you can fly to Moscow as easily as you would to many other places across the globe. 

Moscow, Russia’s renowned capital, has its classic attractions that you won’t want to miss checking out. From the red-walled political stronghold known as the Kremlin to St. Basil’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Russian architecture, to Gorky Park, the Central Park of Russia, you’ll never grow tired of experiencing something new.  Moscow also has so much to show travelers who venture off the beaten path while maintaining some degree of street smarts, including offbeat bars, exotic meals, and intriguing and unusual people. 

The Metro is also easy to use and wonderfully maintained in Moscow. It’s fast, it’s reliable, and it covers the entire city. The Metro’s lines are continuously updated and expanded, even into present day. The longest you’ll ever wait for a train is perhaps three minutes. 

A downside of visiting Russia is that pickpocketing is a real danger; so carrying your passport with you is best avoided. If you have a lost or stolen passport, The Passport Office of Los Angeles will assist you in replacing your passport, along with expedited passport services in Los Angeles. 

Fly To Dublin, Ireland  

Dublin is filled with jolly, nice people, and has a stunning old-timey aesthetic. With old cobblestone streets, vintage pubs, and little shops instead of massive malls, people from all around the world love visiting Dublin. And with such cheap flights from LAX, Dublin Ireland should not even be a question of whether or not to travel here. 

Known for its traditions, fine literature, folklore, customary music and dance, and Irish whiskey, there is an endless amount to do and experience in Ireland.  One major tourist destination is always The Temple Bar. It is one of the most iconic bars in all of Dublin.  Although the history of the bar dates back to the early 1300s, it still remains popular to this day due to its famous red exterior, its great location in the heart of the city, and of course being a huge part of Dublin’s central nightlife scene.  

Dublin is also well known for Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest and most notable college. Among its alumni are world famous writers like Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. Today, visitors from around the world come to explore the college’s stunning campus and towering Gothic-style halls. 

No matter where your next adventure takes you, you can always get a fast passport in Los Angeles through your local Passport Office and be off to your next quick international flight in no time! 

Emergency Trip? How To Get Your Passport In a Hurry

Getting a passport in a hurry allows you to travel the world.

There are lots of reasons you may need a fast passport. Here at The Passport Office we’ll make sure you get your new or renewed passport as soon as possible so that you can make it onto your flight. Whether you qualify for an emergency passport, or simply want an expedited passport in the next few weeks – or even the next day – we’ve got you covered.  

You can take a deep breath and rest easy knowing that you’ll have your updated passport in no time. As the number one expedited passport agency, The Passport Office will make sure you receive your passport in a hurry. 

Common Reasons For Needing A Passport In A Hurry

Typically, getting a passport can be a drawn-out process. Waiting is always the hardest part and when you have a plane to catch it can be stressful not knowing how quickly your passport is arriving. Sometimes there are emergencies or unavoidable circumstances that arise, forcing you to try to obtain a fast passport. The Passport Office makes sure that you receive an expedited passport as soon as you need it so that you can be on your way to whatever country and adventure awaits you next. 

There are multiple reasons people may need a passport in a hurry, and one of these reasons may apply to you! One of the top reasons is your passport simply went missing. You have your bags packed, itinerary stored, and as you’re going over your checklist you just can’t seem to find your passport. No matter how cautious you are about keeping your passport in a safe place, anyone can misplace their passport. If you realize your mistake shortly before your trip, you’ll have to get your passport in a hurry. 

The second reason you may need a fast passport is that your passport expired. Even if you remembered to store your passport in a safe place, it can be difficult to keep track of the expiration date – especially if you haven’t traveled recently. Passports are valid for 10 years for adults before they need to be renewed.  It’s important to keep in mind that some countries won’t allow you to enter their country unless you have at least 6 months left before your passport expires. 

Reason number three for needing a passport in a hurry is that a sudden need to travel arises. Whether an overseas family member has an impromptu wedding or falls ill, you never know when you’ll be needed in another country. If your passport is not up-to-date, The Passport Office will get you equipped to be on a plane and visit your loved ones at the times they need you most. 

The final reason is confusion about whether or not you need a passport for your trip. For most cases, you need a passport to travel anywhere internationally. However, several years ago you weren’t required to have a passport for traveling to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean from the US. Visit The Passport Office today for assistance on passport tips and requirements and for applying for a fast passport with our simple and easy application process. 

Requirements For Expedited Passport Services 

An expedited passport is obviously a need that arises when you have to leave the country quickly. The Passport Office can get you set up with an expedited passport with proof of travel, and you can have your new passport in the mail within a matter of days.  If you suddenly face the need to travel internationally on very short notice, contact your local Passport Office to learn more about the best way to proceed.   

Have The Essentials Ready 

Getting a fast passport allows people of all ages to hit the road.

When applying for a new or renewed passport at one of our offices, make sure you bring proof of international travel. This proof generally involves airline tickets or tickets proving some other form of travel. If you are traveling by land, such as driving into Mexico, you can write a letter explaining your travel circumstances.  We can help you expedite the passport from there. 

This next piece is the most important! Fill out the application form ahead of time. If you aren’t sure how to fill in some of the information, ask for assistance at The Passport Office. You will also need a standard 2X2 inch photo for your new passport. There are specific standards that passports require, so either double check the requirements or get your picture taken by a service that guarantees to meet the standards.  Examples of these specific standards include: 

Photo Basics 

  • Submit a color photo, taken in the last 6 months 
  • Use a clear image of your face. Do not use filters commonly used on social media. 
  • Have someone else take your photo. No selfies. 
  • Take off your eyeglasses for your photo. 
  • Use a plain white or off-white background 

Resolution, Print Size, and Quality 

  • Submit a high-resolution photo that is not blurry, grainy, or pixelated. 
  • The correct size of a passport photo is: 
    • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)  
    • Head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head 
  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper 
  • Do not digitally change the photo 
  • You cannot submit a damaged photo with holes, creases, or smudges. 

Pose and Expression 

  • Have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.  
  • Face the camera directly with full face in view.  

Attire 

  • You cannot wear glasses. 
    • If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, please include a signed note from your doctor with application. 
  • Taken in clothing normally worn on a daily basis.   
  • You cannot wear a uniform, clothing that looks like a uniform, or camouflage attire.  
  • You cannot wear a hat or head covering. 
    • If you wear a hat or head covering for religious purposes, submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering in your photo is part of traditional religious attire  worn continuously in public. 
    • If you wear a hat or head covering for medical purposes, submit a signed doctor’s statement verifying the hat or head covering in your photo is used daily for medical purposes. 
    • Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot obscure your hairline or cast shadows on your face. 
  • You cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices. 
  • You can wear jewelry and keep on your facial piercings as long as they do not hide your face. Permanent tattoos are acceptable for passport purposes as well.  

For a complete list of requirements, see the information available here from the United States Department of State.   

Last but certainly not least – bring your checkbook. A new passport costs $110 if it is not expedited.  An expedited passport costs $170 and a child’s expedited passport costs $140.  You can pay with check, money order, or credit card. 

How Fast Is Fast? 

The Passport Office offers same day service for those who really need a fast passport. Depending on your circumstance, you can receive a rushed passport at varying prices. Emergency passports will differ from expedited passport costs.  

If your passport gets lost or stolen, you will also need to act quickly. It’s important to immediately report a lost or stolen passport to the police or the authorities in the country you are in. The urgent services you’ll need with a lost or stolen passport will move along quicker the sooner you report your incident. 

The Passport Office is the number one ranked expedited passport service in the nation. By completing the 3 easy steps for a new or renewed passport, you will receive a new fast passport within a matter of days. With priority service, you can receive your passport in 3-4 business days, and if you’re really in a rush, with a premium fee you can opt for same day service. 

Final Quick Tips 

The Passport Office wants you to be prepared for your next travel adventure. Some key insights will help you apply for a passport in a hurry successfully. When we’re feeling rushed it’s easy to overlook some important pieces. So here are some final quick tips to assure you are ready to apply for your new or renewed passport. 

Become familiar with what is on a passport. A passport contains a person’s legal name, date and location of birth, head shot, passport number, signature, and date of issue and expiration. By knowing where the expiration date is on your passport, you can be sure that your passport is up-to-date. Keep in mind that some countries require your passport to be within 6 months of expiring.  

If this is your first passport, if your passport was lost or stolen, or if it’s been 15 years or more since you were last issued a passport, you’re required to go in-person to a local passport acceptance facility to apply. The Passport Office can help you locate the nearest acceptance facility if you happen to be in the United States.   

For special circumstances with place of birth, keep these things in mind. If you were born to American parents while they were traveling outside of the country, you should still have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. You can contact the country’s consulate or embassy if you are unable to find this report. If you were born on a military base abroad, you may need to contact the hospital where you were born as you may not have been registered with a US embassy. 

When you apply for a renewed passport, the good news is you will get your old passport back! Your old passport will be sent with your new passport. That means that you can keep all your stamps of cherished memories from travels abroad. 

Contact The Passport Office today to get assistance with a fast passport. As the top-ranked expedited passport service in the US, you can be sure to get the friendly customer service you deserve and all your passport needs to be met. There are many reasons you may need a passport in a hurry. The Passport Office has you covered, so feel free to get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.   

Top 5 Fabulous Summer Vacation Ideas

Summertime is here! School’s out for the summer and it’s time to spend some quality time with the family. Now is the time to make memories with your loved ones. Give yourself some peace of mind because summer travel and obtaining a passport for the whole family doesn’t have to cost too much either. This article will not only give you plenty of ideas for planning the perfect getaway for your family’s unique interests, but it will also point you towards expedited passport services if you need help in that regard. Whether you’re taking a cruise, visiting a national park, or riding some epic rollercoasters, you can be sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. Treat you and your family to a fun and exciting trip with these fabulous summer vacation ideas.

Summer vacation ideas can include spending time on a lake.

1. For Families in General

Safety and fun are the two priorities for summer travel with the whole family. When choosing your destination, finding children-friendly attractions is a must. Thankfully, there are many summer vacation ideas in the US alone that cater to families.  Just to name a few of the adventures, you can: sleep at a museum, go to a resort, volunteer for your community, visit an amusement park, relax at the beach, head to a state fair, or dance at a concert in the park. All of these options are easy on the wallet and will bring adventure to your child’s life while staying near home.   It’ll also eliminate the need for expedited passport services unless you’re coming to the United States from abroad.

If you want to get out of town and hit the road, there are plenty of summery beach towns like San Diego, California or Bar Harbor, Maine, that have kid-friendly activities and affordable hotels for the whole family to get comfortable. Attractions at piers do cost money, yet they are more affordable than larger amusement parks like Disneyland or Six Flags.

For those living or traveling to the middle of the country, the town of Keystone in South Dakota hosts the stunning and famous Mount Rushmore. After gazing upon the majesty of this national memorial, you’ll be able to engage in other family activities in the area from gold mining to hiking to the National Presidential Wax Museum.

There are also plenty of safe and affordable fun times to be found outside of the country. Take advantage of the Passport Office’s expedited passport services and head down south to Costa Rica for a tropical getaway. Children can zip line and pet sloths, while parents can relax and enjoy a cup of locally harvested coffee. If you’re wanting to head north, the Festival International de Jazz in Montreal, Canada is a must-see for everyone. The city is transformed for two weeks into a magical festival for parents and children to dance their summer afternoons away.

2. For the Budget-Conscious

Summer travel can rack up costs quickly if you’re not careful, but fun summer activities shouldn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. One of the best parts of summertime is all the time you can spend outside enjoying the sunshine. Additionally, lots of outdoor activities don’t cost much, if anything. State and regional parks are all over America and provide excellent opportunities for the whole family to explore the local nature scene.

Many families prefer theme parks to nature walks. Theme parks are one of the top summer trips that families plan each summer. However, if Disney or Universal are out of your price range, there are plenty of smaller and equally enjoyable parks in the US. Hershey Park in Pennsylvania is a popular destination, as is The Michigan Adventure theme park, and Cedar Point in Ohio.

For families more interested in historical and educational outings, many cities offer free museum passes on certain days of the week or reduced prices for children. A location worth mentioning is Williamsburg, Virginia, which includes Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.  These are feasible to visit in just one trip.

When planning your budget-conscious family vacation, ask hotels and restaurants ahead of time if they offer complimentary amenities specifically for kids. Many hotels provide activities and games free of charge for children as well.  In addition, make sure your paperwork is in order if you’re going outside of the United States.  If it’s not, contact The Passport Office so we can serve as your expedited passport agency.

3. For Summer Travelers

Summer vacation ideas are ample and can include destinations across the globe. Choosing the best place to visit in the summer is a lot to decide on, but for some, getting out and traveling is the priority. For summer travelers, consider traveling within the US. You could spend your summer vacation on a cross-country family road trip, a few days exploring a new city, visiting museums and parks across different state lines, or a spend week at the beach or in the mountains.

Many family travelers enjoy the affordability and adventure of camping and sleeping out in nature. Arizona and Utah are ideal states to see natural wonders and stay warm in the evenings. Lake Powell is one of the most popular house-boating destinations. After gazing at sandstone canyons from the water, families can venture out and explore the glory of Glen Canyon.

Expedited passport services can have the whole family seeing new things quickly.

Even when staying within the country, it is a good idea to make sure your children have passports. Passports can be a fun way for children to learn about the country they are exploring and add stickers to commemorate their trip. The Passport Office, the top expedited passport agency, makes it simple and easy to start the application process when you want to purchase a new passport for your child.

For those who want to take traveling up a notch and see some world-renowned sites, a trip to Europe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Summer vacation ideas in Europe range from archaeological sites to museums to delicious food. Some of the world’s greatest cities are London, Paris, Berlin, and Rome, which have attractions and entertainment for all ages.

One of the best destinations for families with young children includes Riviera Maya, Mexico, which is famous for snorkeling and searching through Mayan ruins. Another is Buckingham Palace, London where children can learn about queens and get a taste of royalty. Another top family pick is Tenerife in the Canary Islands in Spain, which is Europe’s highest ranked water park that has world class beaches with sand imported from the Sahara.

4. For National Park Lovers

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular road trip choices for families across America. As one of the largest canyons in the world, this majestic piece of land makes sense to travel to, but there are many other magnificent national parks across America. If you’re a national park lover, a worthy summer vacation idea is to purchase a yearly national parks pass and see as many parks as you and the family can in one summer.

Some national parks that are worth mentioning are:

  • Redwood National Park
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Crater National Park

Those are just a few of the many wondrous national parks – and those are just in the western portion of the United States! Most parks offer camping, hiking, fishing, climbing, biking, or some combination of those activities. National parks are the perfect opportunity to teach your children more about the environment they live in and how to protect and respect the planet. Not to mention all the wildlife and momentous sights will have them swept off their feet for a summer vacation they’ll never forget.

5. For Those Who Prefer All-Inclusive

Sometimes planning a summer vacation seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Thankfully, all-inclusive resorts and cruises make summer travel simple and convenient. You can get your luxurious getaway started ahead of time by having the vacation planning taken care of.

All-inclusive resorts have expanded in the past handful of years, so you don’t just need to head to Mexico or the Caribbean if you’ve already explored there. Beachside resorts on Florida’s Gulf Coast, ranches in Montana with tons of cowboy activities, and other kid-friendly all-inclusive stays will let you sit back and relax.

One of the benefits of an all-inclusive resort or cruise is that food, activities, and entertainment are rolled into one price, making budgeting simple and without very many hidden costs. All-inclusive resorts generally include daycare, and you have the option of both casual and elegant restaurants so you can switch back and forth between family outings and one-on-one nights for parents.

Children always love all-inclusive resorts because they’ll be able to play with a variety of crafts and games and join in on special themed nights. In addition, all-inclusive resorts also usually organize activities for specific age groups so even older children will be entertained. Resorts tend to have pool areas and playgrounds as well.

How Expedited Passport Services Can Make the Difference

Whether you’re planning an excursion to foreign jungles or beaches or staying nearby and exploring your state’s parks and museums, summer vacation ideas are limitless. Moreover, The Passport Office has expedited passports for everyone in the family when you’re planning that last minute summer travel.  Now’s the time to get out there and enjoy the sunshine with your family and loved ones!

8 Vacation Spots Driving Distance From the USA

If you haven’t been in the loop for the past few centuries, the United States is pretty big. So big in fact that it’s the fourth largest country in the world, yet despite this it shares only two land borders. To those summer travel junkies who have always wished they could hop in their car and drive to a foreign land rich in culture, worry not. It so happens that our only two land neighbors in Mexico and Canada are also pretty large countries. Like the USA, Mexico and Canada have a variety of cultures existing within their borders.

But will you need a New Passport?


Before we get into the nitty gritty, I should mention what the exact requirements for entering Mexico and Canada are. For those that do not have one, you’ll need to acquire a new passport. Alternatively, if you plan on driving over the border like this guide suggests, you could bring a passport card with you instead. Passport cards work like new passports but they can only be used to cross certain land and sea borders. You could also just carry both and feel ultra secure.

Canada

Canada is almost cheating in this game of near the border tourist spots. Why? Most of Canada’s population lives within 30 miles from the US-Canadian border, so most industry, including tourism, is focused in this area. Let’s start this off with one of the more “foreign” feeling locations in Canada though.

Quebec

Ah, Quebec. Quebec gets a bad wrap, mostly because of the common stereotype of the french being rude to foreigners. While the residents of Quebec are not technically French, they came to be from a French colony. We can neither confirm nor deny whether Québécois carry the same reputation as their brethren over in Europe, but if you want to see what it’s like to be immersed in French life without going to France, this is the place. The primary language spoken in the Canadian province is of course French, so it’s kind of like France lite. Don’t expect everyone to speak English just cause Canada acknowledges both French and English as its national languages!

Niagara Falls

Located near New York, you can actually view Niagara Falls from the US side of the border, but while your there you may as well cross on over and say you went abroad. Niagara Falls is famous for looking better than every single other waterfall, Scientists the world over have joined hands in agreement that Niagara Falls is definitely the most datable source of water on Earth. All joking aside, watching water tumble over stone into more water can be quite awe inspiring if there’s enough water being tossed around. If you haven’t ever been to Niagara Falls, rest assured, there is enough water being tossed around.

Vancouver

Vancouver is one of Canada’s major cities. The city itself is only located about 3 hours from Seattle if you drive, this makes it a great place to go if your in Seattle and want to see a more extreme version of it with nicer people. Kidding. Vancouver is known for its seafood, its hockey, a booming movie industry, and the fact that it rains 160 days out of the year. Vancouver is out on the world scene taking shots at Japan, Toronto, Hollywood, and England it seems. Cost of living in the city is also rather high, so I guess you could also compare it to San Francisco. Lucky for you all, hotels and AirBnB’s are not as pricey as rent is in the city.

Toronto

The largest city in Canada! It boasts a population of roughly 3 million people and sits on Lake Ontario. Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Province that Toronto is located in is called Ontario. Toronto has much in common with Vancouver, it even has a much larger film industry presence due to even larger tax breaks and stand out architecture. The CN Tower which looms over Toronto is open to the public, and after a short 1 minute ride to the top you’re able take in all of Toronto at once.

Mexico

While the destinations located in Mexico don’t have the luxury of being kissing distance from the border, they do inhabit a much warmer part of the world. This means you may have to plan for a bit more of a road trip than the Canadian entries in this article. If you plan on traveling during the winter in hopes of escaping the cold, or if you’re just trying to take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight the summer provides, these locations are sure to be worth the drive.

Baja California

Baja California literally translate to “Below California” and believe it or not it’s just south of the US-Mexican border in the state of California. How convenient. The Baja region of Mexico is home to many an activity, Tijuana which is a bustling party town is literally on the border. If that doesn’t do it for ya, there are also several coastal towns that can provide many a beach goers a good time. There are wall watching tours available as well, so if you’d like to see some cetaceans basking in all their glory. Even further south of Baja California is Baja California Sur, which is home to La Paz and a whale museum. So if you wanna go all in on the whole whale thing, there you go!

Mexico City

While Mexico City doesn’t have access to beaches like the rest of our Mexican entries, it does have a population larger than that of New York City, making it one of the largest cities in the world! Naturally this means that the City is brimming with culture and many activities for tourists, whether they be on the more touristy side of things or not. You could begin the trip by easing in with a day trip to Teoihuacan, then go off the deep end and indulge in some not-so-casual Lucha Libre action. All in all, Mexico City has much to offer to the casual and avid tourist alike. Even if you don’t plan on making Mexico City, it’s still a great place to stop by if you’re heading to somewhere like the next location on this list.

Cancun

Cancun is renowned for being a stellar vacation spot for the youth of the world. In the USA venturing to Cancun during Spring Break could even be considered a rite of passage, if you’re into that sort of thing. Cancun is a great spot to visit for great beaches and partying, however like our next destination, it’s a way of a drive from the border. Starting from Houston, Texas, you’re looking at a 34 hour drive. Might want to pack a few snacks for the trip. On the upside, before you hit the beaches, you can stop at various other locations in Mexico on your way to Cancun to make the most out of your trip!

Tulum

Tulum is just a bit south of Cancun so it shares many of the same problems with it as far as transportation goes. Like Cancun, Tulum is a beach paradise, with one added caveat: it’s the only beach in Mexico that also sports ancient Mayan ruins. The city itself does not receive as much attention as its neighbor in the north Cancun does, so this might be an excellent alternative if you’re trying to stay away from too many tourists. That all being said, Tulum is quite the place to behold, and as a host of ancient ruins the area does receive some attention from travelers looking to take advantage of the locale’s unique set up.


Conclusion

That’s all the locations we have for you today! If your interested in learning more about either Canada or Mexico, you can get more information here and here. If you’ve never had a passport or passport card and were interested in obtaining one, we can help with that as well! We at The Passport Office have been aiding travelers with their passport expediting process since 1993. Visit our website to find out more information about how to expediting your new or passport renewal process.

TOP 5 Cruise Destinations

With the summer months quickly approaching, have you thought about those summer vacation ideas? How about a cruise?! It’s one of the easier summer vacation ideas out there since you can book most of the activities from the cruise line website. Whenever it’s time for vacation, I have a mental block on where to go and I can’t possibly be the only one. So, to make things easier for you, I have come up with the top 5 hottest travel destinations for this summer. Your summer vacation ideas don’t have to be stressful.  Once you have your reservations squared away, your next step should be to get your passport expedited, or otherwise you may find yourself high and dry come vacation time.

Cuba

Since this is still a new destination, I would leave the kids at home for this trip. If you’re in a hurry to vacation here before school’s out for summer vacation, you’ll need both your expedited passport (if yours is expired) and a visa issued by the Cuban government.  It’s worth it though, since Cuba holds so much history and there is so much to do, especially in Havana. Most sights to see are within walking distance of the cruise ship port! The walking tour is called “La Habana Vieja” and is offered by the cruise lines. You get to see each of the four main squares and how unique this UNESCO World Heritage site is.

Top Things to do in Havana, Cuba on a Cruise

Right down the road from the cruise terminal is the Havana Museum of Rum, which gives you a little bit of Cuban history, as well as a demonstration of the actual production process of rum. When you get tired of walking, you can catch a ride in one of their 1950s antique cars to finish touring the city. Cruise lines do offer this experience in advance, but local tour companies offer it for a cheaper price. Be sure to ask the tour guide to take you past Hemingway’s house, another must-see attraction while you’re here.

The Bahamas

A family favorite and a personal favorite summer vacation idea is The Bahamas. For this one, no visa is required, just an expedited passport if you want to hit the beaches the first day of summer (school’s out most places June 6th this year).  No matter which port you end up in, it is a guaranteed tropical adventure.  Excursions can be found anywhere on these islands. Literally. On the island of Exuma you can swim with pigs. Real. Live. Swine. And on the off-chance pigs do start to fly, you’ll have your expedited passport ready to get in the airplane and witness this miracle for yourself.  But I digress…in all seriousness, you can pluck the pigs right out of the water and cuddle with them if you want to in Exuma.

Since some of us like to keep it not so extreme and just go snorkeling, there is something for everyone in the Bahamas. Atlantis Resort has an all-inclusive water park that is out of this world and Nassau hosts a pirate tour for your little adventure seekers.  Be mindful though, child passports are only valid for 5 years (unless they were older than 16 when they got it, in which case they need an adult expedited passport if theirs is expired) so they might need a new expedited passport as well.

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Alaska

The weather is constantly changing, but that’s the best part. Between the mountains and the glaciers, how glorious! The wildlife there is diverse too. You can encounter all sorts of creatures, from eagles to whales. It is recommended that you remember to pack layers because it does get mighty cold in Alaska. Actual cameras, you know, ones with a lens, are also recommended for this travel destination because you cannot possibly capture the beauty on your smartphone camera app.

While you are in Alaska, the Misty Fjords National Monument is a must see. It is located near Ketchikan, which means it is only accessible by plane or boat. Thankfully, no expedited passport or emergency passport is needed since this is technically a domestic destination, but what is needed is a floatplane so you can get an aerial view of this National Monument.

Another amazing opportunity  in Alaska is the chance to visit is a Native American community. The Tlingit people are right outside Ketchikan and are known for their totem pole-making. The Saxman Village tour gives you an inside look at the Tlingit culture and has the world’s largest collection of totem poles. On the island of Metlakatla awaits the only Native American reservation in Alaska, and that is about 15 miles south of Ketchikan. There, visitors can get the inside scoop on another indigenous group, the Tshimshian.  How cool is that?

The Western Caribbean

Another quick, fun summer vacation idea is the Western Caribbean. This cruise typically consists of Key West, Mexico, Jamaica, San Juan and perhaps a stop in the Bahamas depending on how many nights you’re looking to go for. That expedited passport you applied for will come in handy to explore the beautiful beaches that Jamaica has to offer. Doctor’s Cave Beach and Seven Mile Beach are two of Jamaica’s must-see beaches, for surfers and sun worshippers alike.

A surfer at Boston Beach | ©Flickr

You will also need to pull out that expedited passport when you step off the boat and into Cozumel, where you can learn how to prepare traditional Mexican dishes from a local chef while taking in the festive culture of Cozumel. Cruising through San Juan, it is recommended that you take the time to visit magnificent Old San Juan, as well as the Adjuntas Coffee Plantation. San Juan also has a Rainforest called El Yunque, good for a day of hiking and animal watching. If your cruise is going to stop in Key West, you’re in for a real treat. The nightlife there, and day life, for that matter is a whole different world. They have trolley tours for you to see the whole town, or you can just do the bar crawl…either way, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you don’t want to stay on land, you can rent a boat or go parasailing. What Key West is really known for though, is the sunsets, THOSE are one-in-a-million.

The Mediterranean

If the Mediterranean is your fancy, you should already have your tickets. And if you forgot to book your tickets, I’m guessing you also forgot to check your passport expiration date.  So if your heart’s set on Greece, Italy and Spain, get your passport expedited with just 3 easy steps, while we handle the rest.  Realistically, it’s not unachievable even at this late, especially because you’re going to be getting your passport expedited, but to save yourself some money, now would be the best time to book the cruise tickets if you’re serious about this getaway and summer is the only time you can go.

Must-see’s for this tour include the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, The Acropolis in Athens Greece, and the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, to start off with.   Aside from visiting the historical monuments, cruising to the Mediterranean is really for the cuisine and shopping. Barcelona is big on scooters..you can rent one there to sight-see all around Spain, which puts which will put a different spin on things. When you get to Greece, you’ll have the opportunity to look around the oldest city in Europe and travel around the volcanic island of Santorini. After arriving in Italy, you can wander around Vatican City and eat your way around Rome. They do offer a panoramic tour of Rome, which covers sites spanning over 2,500 years of history. This panoramic tour of Rome gives you the opportunity to visit all the main attractions, including Capitol Hill and the Tabularium. Then, they drive you back to your ship when the tour is over. You know how I mentioned shopping and food before? Since Italy is known for their fashion and design, it is only proper that they offer luxury shopping. Their shopping tour includes a personal shopping session with a professional shopper and image consultant. The expert guides you through the top shops, saving you time and money and helping you avoid purchase mistakes.

See the source image

Did you see a destination that was appealing to you and now you need an expedited passport for that special destination? Don’t fret! The Passport Office has over 20 years of expediting passports.  If you do happen to lose your passport on your international journey and need an emergency passport, applications for an emergency passport are accepted at the nearest United States Embassy or consulate general when traveling abroad and domestically, emergency passport applications are accepted through a registered passport expediting service such as The Passport Office, when applying for an emergency passport within the United States.

DS-82 Passport Renewal Application Form

No one likes paperwork, especially paperwork that might cause you issues if you make a mistake on it. Passport applications are exactly this kind of paperwork. A single mistake on the application could delay your passport weeks, even for US passport renewals. If you’re not traveling anytime soon, this isn’t an issue, but if you’re applying for an expedited passport renewal, you will want to ensure that the application is perfect.

The application in question is called a DS-82 form and is specific to those applying for a US passport renewal. New passport applications must be submitted using a DS-11, but that’s an entirely different can of worms. Today we’ll be discussing the DS-82 passport application form and what you need to do to fill it out without making a single mistake.

Where to Start

Before you can start filling out the DS-11, you’ll need to get a hold of the application itself. Shocker, we know. You can find the passport application available for download online (LINK HERE)…these are typically PDFs that can be filled out either using a PDF editor or by printing out the application and filling it out by hand. HOWEVER, while this is an option, it is not recommended that individuals applying for an expedited passport renewal fill out the form in this way. We highly recommend using the US Department of State’s online form filler located here.

When you fill out the DS-82 passport application using the online form filler you are granted a variety of benefits. For one, since it’s not filled out by hand or using a PDF editor, you can be safe in assuming that the font meets the legibility standards of  the US Department of State. Additionally, the form will catch any general mistakes you may make and won’t allow you to complete the application until these errors are corrected. Let’s take an in-depth look at the online form filler and its’ quirks.

Using the USDS Online Form Filler

To get started select “Submit” where it says “Complete Online and Print.” This will take you to the passport application itself; at this point the form isn’t a DS-82 or DS-11. Once you get to the section titled “Your Most Recent Passport” make sure you select the option that applies to you. If you don’t have a passport, then the form will become a DS-11 application (see you in another guide). If you have a passport book, card, or both and they haven’t been expired for more than five years, the form will become a DS-82. Make sure to enter the issue date of your passport book or card correctly as entering in a random date may alter the form that is generated. The DS-82 is specific to US passport renewal. If you are receiving a DS-11 form instead you may have entered something in wrong so go back and double-check to be sure!

Make sure you enter the correct information to get a DS-82 for your expedited passport renewal

Let it be known that if you have both a book and card but were only interested in renewing one, you still must submit the other. Once you’ve moved past this page, you’ll be prompted as to whether or not your name has changed since your passport was issued. At this point, you should select ‘yes’ if you are doing a name change. You should also go back and check to make sure that the name you entered on the first page is indeed your current name. Select the appropriate reason for name change, then select continue.

After you review your US passport renewal application and correct any mistakes you might spot, hit “Continue” again. Select what services you would like and make sure that you select the right box. If you go past this point having selected the wrong option, you’ll either have to pay for the services selected when you mail in your passport application or fill out the form all over again. Note that this website cannot charge you but is giving you a quote on government fees for the selected service. Select your service and “expedited at agency,” select ‘standard delivery’ and hit next. Typically, those who apply for a US passport renewal will have the passport delivered via USPS. Since you’ll be getting an expedited passport renewal, the delivery will be handled by a third party. Scroll down, click on the checkbox, and print your passport application. That’s it, done with the form filler!

Accessorizing  Your Passport Application

Now that you’ve completed the application, you’ll have to sign and date it on the first page. Make sure one last time that all the information printed is correct and that there is a barcode in the upper left hand corner. This barcode is important as it allows USDS agents to quickly scan applications into the computer, rather than manually transcribing the application. US passport renewals being submitted as expedited passport renewals that do not have a barcode may be suspended or delayed. After you’ve signed your name and insured everything on the application is correct, it’s time to accessorize.

Passport Photo

Getting a passport photo is kind of like getting a mugshot: no one ever smiles in them, everyone looks tired and well, you get the idea. You’ve had to have taken photos when you originally applied, but if you’ve never processed an expedited passport renewal you’re probably not familiar with stapling the photos to the passport application. For all US passport renewal applications, the applicant must self affix the photo onto the DS-82 application. It’s pretty simple, first you’ll need to take the photos. We recommend getting them done at a local specialist like CVS, Walgreens, or Target, which all offer passport application photos. If you’re working with us, we here at The Passport Office can take the photos for you as well.

If you decide to take the photo yourself, make sure that you take it on a white background, and that you print it out on 2×2 glossy paper. The photo you use must have been taken within the last six months to be used. You cannot use a photo from a previous passport application. Place the photo in the 2×2 box provided and staple vertically along it’s four corners as is indicated by the box.

Where to staple to ensure a successful expedited passport renewal


Check or Money Order

You’ll need a check when applying for your expedited passport renewal. A money order or cashiers check is also sufficient. You cannot pay with cash or card. The check should be made out for either $170 if you are applying for a passport book renewal, $90 for a passport card renewal, or $200 if you are doing both. Make the check or money order payable to “US Department of State.” If you are paying with a check, when you write out the amount make sure the and comes after ‘seventy’ if you are getting just the book.

That means it should be:

One Hundred Seventy and 00

NOT

One Hundred and Seventy 00

The US Department of State will not accept checks with the latter written out as they consider everything after the ‘and’ to be cents. You can find an example check below.

Example check for those applying for an expedited passport renewal.


This example doesn’t have a name or address, make sure that yours does. The address need not match the address on your application or on your ID, something simply needs to be there. This means starter checks are not acceptable. If you’d like to do this without having to think about it too hard, I’d recommend getting a money order, as they are much more straightforward. Simply pay for one, fill out pay to, sign, date, done.

Letter of Authorization

In this example we’ve been applying for an expedited passport renewal under the assumption that you’re doing this through a private service (kinda like us). As such, you’ll need to attach a letter of authorization to the DS-82 application. If you are applying for a standard US passport renewal, you can skip this step. A letter of authorization is something that private expediters provide to you when you submit a passport application using their service. Below is an example of one of our own letters of authorization.

As you can see in this image, the first two boxes must be checked. Make sure your name is written last, first, middle. Your phone number should match the one on your DS-82 passport application and the date should be the same as the one provided when you dated your DS-82. Courier company name is typically listed at the top of the page, simply copy what is printed their into the space provided. Before signing make sure there are no errors present. If there are errors, acquire another form and fill it out again, you cannot scratch out mistakes to correct them. If the form has any visible marks that hint at alteration, the form will be thrown out and your expedited passport renewal application will be suspended.

Name Change

If you are doing a name change, you’ll also need to provide an original copy of the document that declares your name change. This can either be a court order or a marriage certificate. The one you provide should match the option you selected on the passport application itself. Keep the document you’ll be submitting for your name change behind the final page of the DS-82 passport application.

Bringing Your Expedited Passport Renewal Together

Once you’ve completed all of the above, place the check or money order face up on  the center top of the first page of the application. Open your passport book to the last page and place the inside of the back of the book under the DS-11 passport application with the letter of authorization near center top so that it’s opposite to the check. Once everything is centered, staple the stack of documents so that everything is stapled together. The stack should include all documents related to the expedited passport renewal process. If a document is missing, remove the staples and then reapply them after the document has been added to the stack. With that, you’re done!

You just need to mail in your passport application so that your expedited passport renewal can be processed! When people usually apply for a US passport renewal, you can ship directly to the US Department of State via USPS. Since you’re trying to expedite this, you’ll ship to the private expediter directly so they can process the expedited passport renewal on your behalf.

If you want to apply for an expedited passport renewal but don’t know who to turn to, we’ve got you covered. We at The Passport Office have been helping travelers expedite their passport applications since 1993. Whether you’ve never had a passport before or you’re a frequent flyer, we make the process easy. If you’ve already received your expedited passport renewal and would like to apply for an expedited visa, we can help with that as well. Check us out over at Visa Service Department.

Re-imagining the Travel To-Do List: Your Guide to Packing and Planning Smarter

Whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway, or a three-week vacation, understanding how to better organize your next trip can save you a lot of time and stress. If you’re unsure of how many suitcases you’ll need and how much of each item is really necessary, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  

First, discover our helpful packing tips for various types of trips. We will discuss beneficial packing hacks and outline how much you really need to bring along with you. It will probably surprise you…   

Then, we will help you navigate how to get a new passport in time for your next trip. Spoiler: the key is that you don’t have to tackle the confusing passport process alone. There are many reputable passport agencies who can help.   

At the end of this guide, you’ll be packing and traveling like a professional in no time! So, get your suitcases ready, grab your passport checklist and keep reading.  

Start planning and packing like a pro, from navigating the new passport process to figuring out how to organize your suitcase.

Discover How to Pack like a Pro for Your Next Trip    

We understand that sometimes the packing process can be overwhelming prior to your trip. By learning the secrets from travel experts, you’ll be able to focus more on the exciting elements of your next trip, like finding fun excursions and local events. Explore our following guide to stress-free, super simple packing.  

Weekend Trips 

How Many Suitcases Do You Need? 

Just one.  

How Much of Each Item is Necessary?  

Shoes- no more than two pairs. Consider bringing one comfortable pair, such as sneakers, if you’ll be doing a lot of walking. The second pair should be something versatile that you can easily dress up or down, such as a pair of flats or fancier sandals for women and nicer boots for men.  

Shirts and pants- try to limit yourself to one set of pajamas, two pairs of pants and two shirts total. By laying out your entire outfits for each day, you’ll feel less compelled to overpack several shirts that probably won’t get worn.  

Jewelry- Consider bringing one or two pairs of earrings and just one necklace. If your trip is only two days, this should give you enough options.  

Additional Helpful Packing Tips 

  • To save room in your suitcase, only bring travel-sized toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and face lotions.  
  • If you’ll be swimming, be sure to pack large plastic Ziploc bags to ensure your wet swimwear won’t dampen your other clothing items when you repack. 
  • Roll, don’t fold your clothes to save even more space in your bag!  

One to Two Week Vacations 

How Many Suitcases Do You Need? 

One large suitcase and one medium-sized suitcase.   

How Much of Each Item is Necessary?  

Shoes- try to stick to no more than three pairs of shoes. By thinking of the types of activities you’ll be doing, this should be easy to achieve. Consider packing one pair for walking or hiking, another for casual daytime activities, and one more dressy pair for evening events.    

Shirts and pants- Pick out a specific outfit for each day of your trip. By committing to pre-planned outfits, you won’t have to stress about what to wear once you get to your destination, as it will already be decided for you. Consider factors such as the forecasted weather and how you’ll be spending each day as you select each day’s outfit.     

Jewelry- Depending on the type of trip you’re going on, how casual or formal your resort is, and how you prefer to accessorize your outfits, the jewelry you pack may vary. Generally, packing three to five pairs of earrings and three necklaces will give you lots of options.   

Additional Helpful Packing Tips 

  • Keep in mind that most hotels or home rentals will have a blow-dryer on hand for you. It’s worth double checking this before taking up valuable space in your suitcase for these items.  
  • Consider skipping bringing an extensive health kit with you, especially if you aren’t hiking or spending a lot of time in nature. Remember that you can most likely purchase these items at your destination.  
  • If you’re checking your bags at the airport, consider bringing a few essential items in your carry-on bag. For example, bringing an extra outfit with you is a great idea, in case you’re stranded without your bag for a day or two. It’s also a smart idea to pack a photocopy of your travel itinerary, driver’s license and new passport information in case any of these items get lost along the way.

Planning for Two Week Trips & Beyond   

How Many Suitcases Do You Need? 

This will vary depending on the length of your trip. If you plan each outfit in advance and you’re conscious not to overpack, you should be able to make do with one to two large suitcases for every two weeks you’re traveling. Consider also packing two medium-sized carry-on bags, as well.  

How Much of Each Item is Necessary?  

Shoes- if you’re traveling for more than two or three weeks, you may need to pack several different pairs of shoes, for multiple occasions. Keep in mind that it may be easier to purchase less expensive footwear, such as sandals for example, while on vacation if your suitcase doesn’t allow you to fit them. If your trip requires bulkier shoes, such as snow boots, it may make sense to mail some of your shoes ahead of time to your vacation rental to save precious suitcase space.       

Shirts and pants- Along with packing specific outfits for each day of your trip, consider including items in your suitcase that you’re able to wear multiple days. For example, packing staple items like white and black shirts, and blue jeans, allows you to re-wear the same outfit more than once inconspicuously. Also, consider using a laundry service while on vacation to cut back on the number of outfits you’ll need to bring with you.  

Jewelry- Again, generally speaking, packing three to five pairs of earrings and three necklaces will give you lots of options during your travels. Consider packing your more expensive jewelry in plastic bags and keeping them in your carry-on as you travel. This will help protect you in the event your bags are lost at the airport.   

Additional Helpful Packing Tips 

  • If you’re traveling somewhere that will allow you to buy toiletries and bathroom essentials at a local store while on vacation, that’s generally much easier than packing a month’s worth of products in your suitcase.   
  • Don’t forget to plan several weeks ahead for certain travel requirements for longer trips, like a new passport, or a passport renewal. Then, as you’re packing, be sure to pack a photocopy of these important documents in both your suitcase and your carry-on.  
  • Consider getting a suitcase with a TSA-approved lock on it. This will allow you to feel safe when you leave all of your belongings in your hotel room or house rental while on vacation.  

Now that you’ve mastered properly packing for your next trip, it’s time to review how to navigate the new passport process.   

How to Master the New Passport Process Prior to Traveling 

Learning how to pack like a pro is only one piece of the traveling equation. If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to ensure your passport is ready to go long before your trip. This may mean applying for a new passport or renewing your current one. The best way to ensure this is a stress-free and smooth process is by enlisting the help of a reputable passport agency.  

An agency can answer all your passport questions, from helping you check all the boxes on your passport renewal checklist to assisting you with a new passport or with the child passport process. Review the three easy steps below to get started.  

Step 1: A common question travelers have is “how long does it take to get a passport?” First, if you’re on a time crunch and your trip is fast approaching, don’t fret. Many passport agencies offer expedited passport services for your new passport, to help you through each step of the process. Some agencies, such as The Passport Office, even offer same day services at their locations.  

Step 2: Now that you’re aware of how quickly you’re able to get your new passport, it’s time to choose a reputable, experienced passport agency to help you. This part is important! Choose an agency that has positive online reviews, offers safe and fast services and excellent customer support.   

Step 3: Last, determine whether you want to get your new passport online with the help of The Passport Office, or at one of their convenient locations. The Passport Office has offices located across the U.S. in San Francisco, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston. To schedule an appointment for new passport services, expedited or renewal services, contact the Passport Office today.  

Start Planning and Packing Smarter for Your Travels 

The Passport Office has assisted the American traveling public with their passport needs for years. If you are within the United States and need a new passport, let The Passport Office team help you navigate the process securely.  

To get started, apply for a new passport online or contact our team to set up an appointment today.  

Re-do your travel checklist like an expert by learning packing and planning secrets from the pros.

New Rule For US Passport Holders Entering the EU

The year is 2021. You’ve finally attained your new passport and you’re ready to travel through Europe like your folks did back in their day. However, as much as you try, you cannot…a new rule has been put into place that means US citizens must go through the grueling process of getting their European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) registration completed.

Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. ETIAS is predicted to only take a few minutes to apply for and will only cost applicants about $8. Currently US citizens are allowed to enter the EU’s Schengen Area as long as they have a valid US passport and a plucky disposition, so any labor added onto this load is quite the increase.

But why is the rule changing and why is it the way that it currently is? Today we’ll be taking a look at the Schengen rule’s history, it’s potential future, and what it might mean for American citizens trying to travel through Europe.

The Schengen Rule

All the places you can go in the Schengen Area with a US Passport
Blue areas are countries that are currently in the Schengen Area. Orange countries are in the process of joining.

The Schengen Area is a collection of 26 European countries (not all EU member countries) that do not currently have border checkpoints along their shared borders that require the presentation of a passport. This means that if you as a US citizen were going to travel to the EU today you would be able to travel by land from… let’s say Portugal to Germany, and along the way you wouldn’t have to pass through a checkpoint and present your passport.

To us in the USA this idea may seem a bit odd. We have rather strict border control here in the states with just our two neighbors, so how could 26 countries mutually agree to allow their citizens to travel freely between them? Well, there are many benefits to this rule’s existence. For one, let’s keep in mind that compared to the contiguous United States of America, most European countries are rather small. To give some more context, driving from Miami to Seattle would take about 50 hours to accomplish. When you compare that 50 hour drive to the 42 hours it would take to drive from Portugal to Estonia and then consider that on that drive to Estonia you’d end passing through 8 other countries I think the scale of the USA becomes a bit easier to grasp.

So, we have a large collection of culturally diverse countries that historically have not gotten along. In the wake of the horrors that occurred during both WW1 and WW2 an effort began to be made to prevent other such wars from occurring in the future. This eventually culminated in the eventual formation of the European Union.

Now with the European community closer than they’ve ever been in history, efforts were made to ensure that all European countries could benefit from both increased trade and security. The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 and went into effect in 1995. Essentially, it allows free travel for those within the Schengen Area. The consequences of the Schengen Agreement have led to an increase in trade among members of the Schengen Area as well allowed members to focus less of their defense budgets on protecting borders with their allies.

How This Affects US Passport Holders

As far as this rule applies to us here in the USA, it’s allowed for us to freely travel to a bulk of European countries without worrying about attaining a visa for each one. Furthermore, it greatly increases the speed at which one can travel within the Schengen Area. For example, once you’ve entered the Schengen Area, all travel within it can be done without presenting your passport at border checkpoints. This extends even to flights, and in fact all flights that occur within the Schengen Area are treated as domestic flights.

Now, if you looked at the map above for even a moment, you may have noticed that one of the most popular tourist spots in Europe is not included in the Schengen Area; the United Kingdom. By extension, Ireland is also not part of the Schengen Area, not because it’s part of the UK, but because it shares an open border with North Ireland, which is controlled by the UK. Essentially, because the UK and Ireland share an open land border with no checkpoint requirements, Ireland is unable to enter into the Schengen Area as it could lead to Ireland being used as a staging point for foreign nationals entering the UK illegally. Just keep this in mind if you’re planning your dream trip to see all of Europe.

Regardless of odd exemptions the rule has been a great boon to foreigners who wish to visit the EU and see all that it has to offer without the bureaucratic red tape that comes with strict border control. With changes in the international status quo come changes to established rules however.

Why Could It Change?

The Schengen rule as we know it today probably isn’t going anywhere come 2021. However the new rules could be a sign of a changing relationship between the USA and the countries of the EU. A recent Vox article describes this changing relationship, citing the incumbent US president’s negative view of the current US-EU Alliance. Additionally, the article mentions how five countries currently part of the Schengen Area still must obtain visas to enter the USA. This means that countries within the EU are receiving unequal treatment from one of their largest international allies.

Some countries within the Schengen Area have recently temporarily reinstated internal borders: you can find a complete list of these countries here. This is most likely due to the threat of terrorism within the EU. Again, unlike the USA, the EU is connected by land to the Middle East. Additionally, several EU countries took in a large influx of refugees from nearby humanitarian crisis areas. Some conservative politicians in the EU cite these refugees in conjunction with poor individual border security as a rising threat to the stability of the region. A heightend sense of individual state nationalism in the face of immigration and acts of terrorism may lead to tighter border control between members of the Schengen Area.

Should the EU dissolve in its entirety we could potentially see the end of the Schengen Area. While the EU itself and the Schengen Agreement are technically separate, the dissolution of the EU would be a sign of crumbling trust between EU member states which may ultimately lead to ex-EU members pulling from the agreement. While this future is unlikely, as seen with the UK’s Brexit movement, it’s not impossible for members of the EU to flirt with the idea of leaving. In fact, Brexit is currently threatening stability upon the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as questions have been raised as to whether the border should remain open should the UK pull out of the EU.

Where Does That Leave Us?

So, good news, the EU isn’t dissolving tomorrow and you probably won’t require a visa to go to the EU’s Schengen Area anytime soon unless you plan on working there. But the rules are still changing in 2021, and while it isn’t that much more work it’s still something that needs to be done. So how will you do it? According to this fancy little fact sheet provided by the EU, the process would look a little something like this:

  • US travelers will complete an online application which takes about 10 minutes
  • The application fee is €7 (about $8)
  • After an automated search of numerous databases, around 95% of all applicants should be allowed entry within minutes
  • If the application isn’t accepted initially, it goes to Frontex for manual assessment, this takes another 96 hours
  • A majority of the 5% of applications that are not initially accepted, the majority should be approved within 96 hours
  • If a traveler’s application is refused, they may appeal the decision in the country they are landing in
  • The travel authorization will be valid for 3 years or when the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first

A few things to note, applicants must already have a valid US passport in order to apply and they’ll also need a method of online payment, which means a credit/debit card is required. Unlike a visa, the ETIAS will expire once your passport which means that you’ll need to get a new one, even if it hasn’t been 3 years. With this in mind, once 2021 rolls around, we’d recommend checking your passport before you plan on traveling to Europe to make sure you get the most out of your ETIAS. If your US passport is expiring soon, consider applying for a passport renewal. If your passport has been long expired then it may be time to apply for a new passport altogether.

The databases that the database search covers includes the following:

  • The Visa Information System (VIS),
  • Europol data
  • The Eurodac database
  • The Entry/Exit System (EES)
  • The Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Document database (SLTD),
  • The Interpol Travel Documents Associated with Notices database (TDAWN)
  • A specific ETIAS watchlist

So as long as your face and name don’t end up on any of those lists you should be fine to gain entry into the EU. You may find yourself joining the 5% who don’t get instantly approved should you share a name with someone who is on the list, or if you are somehow related to someone listed on one of the databases. Do keep the fact that you could become part of that 5% in mind though. Don’t think that just because the chances of you getting approved lean in your favor means that you should wait until the day before you flight to apply.

Conclusion

All in all this change won’t mean the end of the world for those of you who enjoy hostel-hopping their way across Europe. It just adds a simple step with a small fee, and if you’ve ever applied for a new passport or visa on your own, it should be a cakewalk.

If you plan on traveling to EU before these new changes hit and need a new passport or a passport renewal, we’ve got you covered. We at The Passport Office specialize in getting expediting passports for travelers traveling within 30 days. Visit our main website for more information and get your application started today.