Top 7 Family International Travel Destinations

happy family jumping together on the beach

You and your family will have the time of their life exploring a new international travel destination! Where should you go? We have compiled a list of the perfect family friendly international travel destinations that is sure to help you find the perfect spot. Whether your loved ones are looking for an action-packed vacation, or a relaxing holiday, spending time with your family is priceless.

Tips to Successfully Book a Family Trip   

Before we begin, let’s review a few critical tips for traveling abroad with children. Booking an international getaway with your entire family has incredible benefits, like allowing your children to experience new cultures and cuisine. However, it also requires more planning than traveling with other adults.  

  1. Be sure your children have a current child passport at least six months before your trip. 
  2. Double check to see that the child’s passport is still valid for atleast another six months from the start of your trip. Most countries require a certain amount of validity on U.S. passport for entry. You can visit the U.S. Department of State website to check which countries require validity.
  3. Ensure your children have all the necessary immunizations for international travel.
  4.  Visit a travel clinic or your child’s primary care doctor approximately 3-6 months before your trip to ensure they have their required vaccinations in enough time. 
  5. Leave yourself ample time to travel from one destination to the next.
  6.  When traveling with your children, it will take longer to get everyone out of the house in the morning. The flight check-in process at the airport may take longer. Consider padding each leg of your trip with extra time to avoid being stressed or late on the day of your trip.  

#1. London 

Union Jacks on Oxford Street for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

London, England, offers something for the entire family. If your family is a fan of Harry Potter, you are in luck! Stop and take a photo at Platform 9¾ in Kings Cross station or consider traveling to the Harry Potter studio outside of London.

There are family-friendly activities in London, such as touring the Tower of London to immerse yourself in English history or visiting the famed Shakespeare Globe Theatre. For additional fun, take a ride on the London Eye to view the entire city, or walk the cobble streets of Fournier Street in London’s Spitalfields neighborhood to see beautiful historic houses.   

#2. Montreal

La Grande roue de Montreal Ferris wheel and downtown skyline in summer dusk. Quebec, Canada.

If you are interested in exploring Canada, visiting Montreal is a must! If you are located in the northern United States, traveling across the border by car allows you to avoid renting a car once you arrive. If you opt to drive instead of flying, each family member will still need their adult and child passports handy.   

To discover the city’s rich history, stop at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. Next, head to Mont-Royal, the mountain in the city’s center. You and your family can hike, bike, or even paddle board on the nearby lake. If outdoor adventure is your style, consider visiting Montreal during wintertime to explore the Hôtel de Glace, an entire hotel made of ice and incredible ice sculptures.

A visit to Montreal during colder weather also means your family can take advantage of the many ice-skating rinks throughout the city, including Patinoire du Bassin Bonsecours in Old Montreal.   

#3. Sydney 

Cityscape image of Sydney, Australia with Harbor Bridge and Sydney skyline.

Were you looking for warmer weather? If so, Sydney, Australia, is a fantastic international travel destination for your family. Spend a day at one of the many beaches, including Coogee Beach or Shelly Beach, soaking up the sun and admiring the gorgeous ocean views.

If fun marine interests your family, visiting the city’s impressive aquarium is also a fantastic idea. Other fun places to explore including the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Taronga Zoo. Last, the historic Sydney Opera House offers kid-friendly entertainment, with shows frequently geared toward children of all ages.      

#4. Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Cathedral in spring, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a beautiful travel destination with many options for your entire family to explore. Get a closer look at Gaudi’s artwork by planning a visit to Park Güell or wow your kids with an exciting ride in the city’s cable cars in Montjüic.

If your family are soccer fans, you will want to check out the Camp Nou stadium, the largest stadium in all of Europe and the third largest in the world. For more fun, the city’s L’Aquarium Barcelona boats a giant sea tunnel in Europe, and the Tibidabo Amusement Park offers rollercoasters and other rides for all ages.

Barcelona’s proximity to France also allows you to take a quick trip to the French countryside; just be sure to keep your adult and child passports handy during your travels in case you want to explore additional countries.   

#5. Bali

Beautiful diamond beach. View of nice tropical beach with palms trees. Holiday and vacation concept.

For a good reason, Bali, Indonesia, has become one of the hottest tourist destinations over the past several years. Bali is an inexpensive travel destination with tons to explore, from its picture-perfect beaches to the year-round warm weather. You can opt for a hotel with a stunning beach view or a private pool that overlooks the local rice fields. Most hotels in Bali offer help planning tourist activities, such as walking trail adventures, ceramics classes, or even fish-feeding excursions. If your family includes animal lovers, stop at the Mandala Suci Wenara Wana ‘Monkey Forrest,’ a protected sanctuary for adorable animals.           

#6. Cayman Islands 

Male snorkeler petting stingray fishes in shallow turquoise water.

Beach vacation, anyone? If spending your vacation snorkeling, walking the beach, and catching sunrays sound fun, consider a trip to the Cayman Islands. The largest island in the Caymans is Grand Cayman Island. This is the most famous island and features sandy beaches that are hot tourist destinations, such as Cemetery Beach and the famous Seven Mile Beach. The teenagers in your family can enjoy some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, and the younger children will love the opportunity to swim with the island’s giant turtles. If you are tired of time at the beach, stop at the island’s museum or take a pirate cruise!  

#7. Paris

Metal Eiffel Tower the symbol of Paris on river Seine

In addition to beautiful family picture opportunities at the Eiffel Tower, Paris offers fun activities for the entire family. Consider touring the Arc de Triomphe or the Catacombs underneath the city to look at Paris’ incredible architecture.

If the weather is nice, plan to explore the Luxembourg Gardens, where musical performances and theater shows are performed. If your kids are craving more adventure, by Disneyland Paris, where they can burn off some significant energy on amusement rides. If you feel extra adventurous, consider taking a quick flight to Belgium or Switzerland in Paris. Take full advantage of your child’s passport during your vacation, as they are only valid for five years.    

Start Planning the Ultimate Family-Friendly Trip   

Traveling internationally with your family is exciting but has its own set of challenges to consider. Preparing for a trip can be overwhelming, but the passport process does not have to be. Do not let applying for a child’s passport discourage you from booking a memorable vacation. 

For years, The Passport Office is there to help American families with their passport needs. We seamlessly navigate the process if you are planning an upcoming family trip and need assistance applying for or renewing a child’s passport.  Begin the process for by scheduling an appointment at one of our convenient office locations. We can help with your child’s passport in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, or Hollywood!

Top Honeymoon Destinations 2022

Pair of gold wedding ring bands jewelry in sand on tropical desert island beach during their honeymoon.

Top Honeymoon Destinations 2022

When you explore honeymoon destinations, you’re spoilt for choice. There are so many “top” honeymoon destinations that it is sometimes hard to pick the one that suits you. You can love the snow or lying by the beach, but there will be no shortage of international destinations. Whether you prefer fun adventures or total relaxation, we’re here to help narrow your list!

#1. The Adventure Seekers 

COSTA RICA 

I am calling all adventure seekers! If you love the thrill of outdoor activities like backpacking through the wilderness, zip-lining, and horseback riding, consider a honeymoon in Costa Rica. The warm weather makes outdoor activities possible almost every day of the year! There is no shortage of things to do in Costa Rica. Exploring volcanoes and exotic rainforests is a sure way to start your marriage on an adventure.   

GUATEMALA

Alternatively, Guatemala also offers incredible adventures! Consider this beautiful country if you and your life partner prefer a less traditional destination for honeymooners. Although there are plenty of bustling bars and restaurant options for you to explore, there are also pristine lakes, historical landmarks (be sure to see San Pedro!), and many hiking trails to discover.  

#2. For the Nature Lovers 

BORA BORA

Are you looking to spend most of your time outdoors, soaking up as much time in nature as possible? Then consider a trip to the small island of Bora Bora. Located approximately 160 miles from Tahiti, Bora Bora is only 6 miles long but full of incredible scenic views and jaw-dropping beauty. The small island includes tropical jungles, a dormant volcano, warm ocean water on all sides, and much more.     

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA 

Do you and your partner like hiking, surfing, or sightseeing? If so, Sydney, Australia, is the perfect place for your honeymoon. On your trip, you may lie on gorgeous white sand beaches and see incredible marine wildlife. The city also has a state-of-the-art aquarium, botanical gardens, and the Taronga Zoo to visit.    

#3. Looking for Total Relaxation?  

CAYMAN ISLANDS 

If the inside of a spa or the umbrella above your beach chair is the only thing you’re interested in exploring on your honeymoon, we have you covered. Consider a trip to the Cayman Islands and fill your days with exploring the island’s many beaches, exquisite spas, and yoga studios. If you feel like being adventurous one day, there are plenty of opportunities to charter a local boat to see the turtles and dolphins that frequent the area.     

BALI, INDONESIA 

Bali is an ideal honeymoon destination for couples looking for lowkey fun. From its renowned resorts that overlook the beach to the beautiful walking trails, there is no shortage of activities to participate in. Bali offers visitors animal sanctuaries to explore, yoga studios, serene beaches, and much more, all for a relatively inexpensive cost compared to other international destinations.      

#4. The Ultimate Cultural Experience   

PARIS 

If you prefer to use your honeymoon to experience new and exciting cultures, consider a trip to Paris, France. Few things are more romantic than seeing the Eiffel Tower at night or walking the city’s historic cobblestone streets with your significant other. The Luxembourg Gardens and the Arc de Triomphe are other great places to explore during your trip. Between the incredible tourist opportunities and French cuisine, there’s a chance you may never want to return home again.    

RIO DE JANEIRO BRAZIL 

Rio de Janeiro may not be the first place to come to mind when you consider honeymoon destinations, but you’ll want to add them to your list. Known for its gorgeous beaches, incredible scenery, and Carnival celebrations, Rio de Janeiro is golden. Rio de Janeiro has many landmarks to explore. Brazil is also home to the Maracanã football stadium, one of the largest in the world and a tourist favorite. The spectacular cuisine, outdoor farmer’s markets, and all the bright, colorful buildings make for a fun and exciting trip.      

Tips on Getting a New Passport Before Your Honeymoon

Before packing your suitcases, you must adequately plan for your honeymoon. Now that you’re freshly married, you may have experienced a name change. Your identification documents, including your passport, must be updated to reflect your name change. 

First, ensure you’ve left yourself enough time to have your new passport processed before your trip. Your honeymoon is often right after the wedding, and if you’re planning to travel internationally for your lover’s trip, you’ll need your new passport. Processing times for regular passport services can range anywhere from 6-10 weeks. You want to make sure you plan ahead so that your passport can arrive early or right before your trip. 

Changing Your Name When Married

If you legally had a name change through marriage/divorce, and your passport was issued less than one year ago, you will fill out Form DS-5504. This application and service are free of charge unless you apply using expedited services. You will need to submit some documents with the application. It must be submitted by mail, specifically using USPS. Other post offices cannot deliver documents to the address listed on the application. 

You will need to submit the following by mail with your application:

  • A completed DS-5504
  • Your most recent U.S passport
  • One passport photo in color
  • An original government-issued name change document, court order, marriage certificate, or divorce decree

If you request a name change and your passport was issued more than a year ago, you will need to renew your passport. You will have to fill out Form DS-82. However, you must be eligible to apply for a passport renewal by mail. You will have to apply in person if you still need to meet the following requirements. Once the form is filled, print it and sign it. You will have some additional documents and fees that you need to prepare. 

Your Application Documents  

  • Your most recent U.S passport
  • A passport photo that has been taken within the last six months
  • Include name change documents if needed, like a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or legal name change document
  • Calculate your fees. You can calculate your costs here. You must pay with a check or money order. It cannot be a business or third-party check. The check must be written to the “U.S. Department of State.”

Do You Need Your Passport Expedited?

If you’re worried about the timing of obtaining a new passport concerning your honeymoon, opt for expedited passport services.  Using a private courier, like The Passport Office, will significantly reduce the time it takes to receive your new passport to reach your honeymoon destination!  Consider turning to a professional passport agency to save time, stress, and hassle. Chances are, after planning your wedding, you’re ready to let someone else handle the details of the passport process.  You can receive your new passport that reflects your name change in as little as three days! Apply for your new passport in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, or Hollywood.

Need a New Passport Fast?

Getting a new passport can be stressful, not knowing how quickly your passport will arrive. You may need a passport in a hurry for multiple reasons. Maybe your passport went missing or expired, or you have an emergency trip. No matter the reason, you need a passport for international travel. How you apply for a passport changes depending on what kind of passport you need. Applicants can apply for a new passport or a renewal.

Applying for a New Passport 

You will apply for a New Passport if at least one of the following is true:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport
  • You are under the age of 16 or if your passport was issued when you were under 16 
  • Your Previous U.S. passport expired more than 15 years ago
  • Your Passport was damaged, lost, stolen

If you meet at least one of those statements, you must apply for your using Form DS-11. You will also be required to provide extra documentation and evidence to verify your identity. Remember, you must apply in person if you are applying for a new passport. You can expedite the process if you need your passport in a hurry. You can expect it in 3-6 weeks when you expedite your passport. There is an additional $60 fee. 

requirements include the following:

  • DS-11 application form printed and filled out, but NOT signed  ( You must have an employee witness your signature)
  • Proof of U.S Citizenship ( a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • A passport photo that meets the U.S Department of State’s requirements for passport photos
  • Payment: Post Offices will accept credit cards, checks, and money orders for acceptance fees, but you will also need a check or money order written out to the “U.S Department of State” that will be mailed out with your application.

Applying In Person 

You must submit your application in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility to verify your identity. A Passport Acceptance facility is usually a Courthouse, Clerk of Court, Post Office, Library, University, or other municipal building.

A passport acceptance facility search page is on the U.S. Department of State website. The search engine lets you put in your zip code to find a place that does passports near you. The search page also has phone numbers, operating hours, and how to get an appointment (or if walk-ins are acceptable). It can also let applicants know if photo services are available on-site.

Passport Renewal 

You will apply for a passport renewal if you meet all of the following: 

  • Your passport must be undamaged except for regular wear and tear.
  • Your passport must have been issued at 16 or older.(valid for five years from the date it was issued), you are not eligible for a renewal process.
  • The passport must have been issued less than 15 years ago.
  •  It was issued in your current name, or you can provide documents to affirm the name change.

If you meet these requirements, you must apply for a passport renewal using Form DS-82. You must apply by mail. You can expect it in 3-6 weeks when you expedite your passport. There is an additional $60 fee.

Passport renewal requirements include:

  • Your filled, printed, and signed DS-82 application
  • Your most recent U.S passport
  • A passport photo taken within the last six months
  • Include name change documents if needed, like a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or legal name change document
  • Calculate your fees. You must pay with a check or money order. It cannot be a business or third-party check; you must write the check to the U.S. Department of State.

Same Day or Emergency Passport 

If you need a passport immediately and in 3-6 weeks, you can also try applying through the U.S. Department of State. They have brick-and-mortar offices in about 26 locations. 

However, it is not a guarantee that you will receive an appointment. This is because they do not allow walk-ins, and you cannot book an appointment online. Applicants used to be able to apply online, but because the appointments were in such high demand, customers would book appointments and sell them to potential applicants. 

To avoid taking appointments away from customers who needed them, the U.S. Department of State has transferred to a “call only” method of booking appointments. Potential applicants must call and navigate a long phone tree to speak with a representative to decide if they qualify for a same-day passport service. You may not have someone else call for you, and you may not transfer your appointment to another applicant.

You will also need proof of travel, such as an airline ticket or itinerary showing that you are leaving the country in 14 days or less. 

Applying with a Private Courier

The U.S. Department of State contracts private couriers, like The Passport Office, to provide expedited services. The Passport Office can get your renewal or new passport in as little as three days from the day you submit your application. Private couriers do require an additional fee for their services. 

Apply for your expedited passport in Tampa, Miami, Hollywood, and Orlando with The Passport Office today!

Do I Need an Indian Visa to Travel to India?

Are you planning on traveling to India sometime soon? India is an Asian country immersed in culture, innovative architecture, and amazingly spiced food. If you want a taste of India’s charm, you must have a visa before entering. Some other requirements for entry include your passport and supplemental documents. Keep reading to find out which Indian visa you need to apply for and how. 

Passport Validity

Many countries require travelers to have six months of validity on passports to enter their country. This requirement is to avoid complications. If your passport expires within that time, you may not be able to get back into your country. Double-check that your passport has not or will expire within the next six months before your trip. 

It is also a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal data page of your passport, the pages containing the Indian visa and immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, The U.S. Embassy cannot assist you with your proper documentation once you have arrived in India. 

Indian Visa Requirements 

All U.S. citizens who want to enter India will require an Indian Visa. Travelers are responsible for making sure they obtain the correct visa. The wrong visa will send you back right where you came from. When applying for your visa, you must know precisely which visa you need and how to get it. 

There are two different kinds of visas to look into before you apply. The first visa is an Electronic Travel Authorization that acts as a tourist visa and should be used if you plan to stay in India for less than 60 days. The second visa is for those who travel to India for research, study, work, or missionary purposes. This second visa also applies to travelers planning to stay more than 180 days.

Electronic Travel Authorization 

Travelers looking to stay in India must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization or ETA. ETA is a visa that you can apply for under five different categories. They five categories you can apply under are e-Tourist, e-Business, e-Medical, e-Medical Attendant, and e-Conference. If You are an e-Tourist, or e-Business applicant, you must apply a minimum of four days in advance of the date of your arrival into India. All other applicants should apply four days before their date of arrival, but may leave anytime within 120 days of applying. 

Once you are approved, confirm that your ETA status is showing as “GRANTED.” Be sure to travel with your ETA in hand. Before you are granted an ETA visa, it will require documentation and photos you must upload. 

Here is what all applicants will need to provide:

  • A recent, front-facing photograph taken on a white background
  • Photo of passport personal data page including your name, date of birth, nationality etc.( you must travel with the same passport you applied for your visa with)
  • Non-refundable processing fee

There are also some additional documents, depending on the ETA you apply for. 

e-Tourist Visa

  • For short-term courses or studies, provide a copy of a letter from the institute/organization/hospital, etc. 
  • For volunteer work of short duration, provide a copy of a letter from the organization. 

 e-Medical Visa

  • Copy of Letter from the Hospital concerned in India, including the date/ tentative date on which admission has been suggested.
  •  

e-Business Visa

  • A Copy of a Business Card
  • Any letter of invitation from Indian parties which you wish to conduct business with (optional)
  •  

e-Conference Visa

  • Political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs
  • Invitation from organizer
  • Event clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs

Long Stay Visa

All Travelers planning to stay in India for more than 180 days must register their visit or residency within 14 days of arrival in India. You may register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office or the FRRO. Before registering, you must find the FRRO office closest to you with your appropriate visa. You can find a list of all the visa applications on the Government of India’s visa portal. FRRO offices you can register at include Cochin, Lucknow, Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Amritsar, Kolkata, New Delhi, Calicut, Bengaluru, and Trivandrum.

Exiting India with a Visa

India has yet to have specific exit requirements. However, there are still reasons you may need help to exit India. One reason is overstaying your visa; it takes 90 or more days to resolve your fees and process your exit permit application. You may also get fined or, in some cases, jail if you violate any Indian visa Regulations. The Ministry of Home Affairs will need to clear you to leave the country. 

Getting a U.S. Passport 

To travel to India, you must have at least six months of validity on your passport. If you are traveling soon and your passport has or is soon to expire, you will need to apply for an expedited passport. You can apply for one typically at a post office or courthouse. However, passport processing time can take 6-10 weeks.

If you don’t want to wait long for your expedited passport, please consider a private courier. Private couriers like The Passport Office can get you an expedited passport in as little as three days! You can apply with The Passport Office today for your expedited passport in Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood.

Damaged, Lost or Stolen Passport? Here’s what to do.

Planning a trip only to discover that your passport is damaged, lost, or stolen could stress anyone out! If you’re panicking or aren’t sure what to do next, there is nothing to worry about. This blog will inform you of all the necessary steps to replace your passport.

Damaged Passports

If your passport is damaged, it cannot be used and should be replaced. What exactly is damaged? According to the U.S. Department of State, normal wear and tear do not constitute a damaged passport.

Your passport is damaged if… 

  • There is any water damage
  • A rip or tear appears
  • Any visa pages have been torn out 
  • A hole punch is present
  • There is any personal marking or tampering on the personal data page

If your passport is damaged, you must apply for a new one. Those applying for new passports cannot apply by mail and must apply in person at an acceptance facility.

Replacing Your Damaged Passport

If your passport is damaged, you will apply for a new passport using Form DS-11. The Form must be filled out and printed out. Only sign this form with approval from an acceptance facility agent. The agent needs to verify your identity and witness your signature.

You will also need to provide…

  • The damaged U.S. Passport
  • A Signed statement explaining the damage to the U.S. passport
  • Proof of U.S Citizenship ( a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • A passport photo that meets the U.S Department of State’s requirements for passport photos
  • Payment: Post Offices will accept credit cards, checks, and money orders for acceptance fees, but you will also need a check or money order written out to the “U.S Department of State” with your application.

You must submit your application in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility to verify your identity. A Passport Acceptance facility is usually a Courthouse, Clerk of Court, Post Office, Library, University, or other municipal building.

A passport acceptance facility search page is on the U.S. Department of State website. The search engine lets you put in your zip code to find a place that does passports near you, it also has phone numbers, operating hours, how to get an appointment (or if walk-ins are acceptable), and it’ll let applicants know if photo services are available on-site.

Lost or Stolen Passports

Before anything else, you must report your passport as lost or stolen to the U.S. Department of State. You can call them at 1-877-487-2778. Once a passport has been reported, it will be invalid for travel, and can no longer be used. Don’t forget to report your passport lost or stolen! You may not know who got their hands on your passport.

Replacing Your Lost or Stolen Passport

If your passport is lost or stolen, you do not have possession of a passport. You will have to apply for a new passport using Form DS-11, as well as a Form DS-64  (Statement regarding lost or stolen passport)

You will also need to provide…

  • Proof of U.S Citizenship ( a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • A passport photo that meets the U.S Department of State’s requirements for passport photos
  • Payment: Post Offices will accept credit cards, checks, and money orders for acceptance fees, but you will also need a check or money order written out to the “U.S Department of State” with your application.

You must submit your application in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility to verify your identity. A passport acceptance facility search page is on the U.S. Department of State website. 

Losing Other Necessary Documents

If your birth certificate is lost, you can get a new one from vitalchek.com, or at the office of vital statistics/courthouse in the county you were born in. This takes around 10 days, depending on where you were born, except for New York, where you must go in person to get a new one. 

If you lost your naturalization certificate, you can get a new one through the department of immigration. This process takes about six months.

If you cannot obtain a new birth certificate or naturalization certificate but have had a passport in the past, you can pay an extra $150 to do a file search when submitting your application. This waves the requirement to submit proof of citizenship, this usually works but doesn’t always work depending on how old the passport issued was. (If you have a photocopy of your last passport, this is guaranteed to work)

Finding a U.S. Passport

On the contrary, if you find a U.S. Passport in the United States, mail the passport to the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit, or CLASP.  If you find a U.S. passport while abroad, return the passport to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.

If You Need Your Passport Expedited

Your application process may change if you need a same-day or expedited passport. 

The US Department of State is where you can get a Same-day passport, but it is only available to those traveling within 14 days. One must call for an appointment, and walk-in service is not available. Because of limited availability, you will not be guaranteed an appointment. There are only twenty-six U.S. locations, so you may have yet to have one in your state. 

If you are looking for a passport near you and need it expedited, consider using a private courier. Couriers like The Passport Office can rush the passport process as fast as three to five days! Apply at The Passport Office today for your expedited passport in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, or Hollywood.

Traveling to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is being held in Qatar, making Qatar a must-visit place!

Travelers are spoiled for choice when visiting Qatar. Qatar comprises mainly an Arid desert and the Persian Gulf Shore with dazzling beaches and dunes. The weather in Qatar is also sunny year-round, with very mild winters making it an excellent place for outdoor adventure. You can go dune bashing, a popular activity in Qatar. To beat the heat, visit an iconic spot in Qatar, the Al Thakira Mangroves. If you’re more of a beach person, visit Purple Island, abundant in lush greenery and mangroves. Maybe you love being a cultural tourist? It would be best to see The National Museum of Qatar and the innovative landmarks such as the Doha and the Aspire Tower.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Qatar is the home of the FIFA World Cup for 2022! The World Cup is an international association football competition. It is the most widely viewed and followed the sporting event, where Billions and billions of fans routinely wait four years to be able to cheer on their favorite teams. 

This is the first year the World Cup is being held in the Arab world, in Qatar. It is being held from November 20th through December 18th to beat out the brutal summer months in Qatar. Qatar has had the last few years to prepare for the tourism and excitement of having the World Cup on their home ground, so it’s sure to be a successful event.

Special Notices

The U.S. Embassy in Qatar has sent out an alert for those traveling to Qatar during the World Cup. They strongly recommend you read the entire Qatar country information page on the U.S. Department of State’s Website. They also urge travelers to review the U.S. Embassy’s World Cup Page for guidance for Americans traveling to Qatar. 

Due to the FIFA World Cup, Qatar has also issued a travel advisory. To learn more about the notice and to receive a checklist to prepare you for your trip, visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Passport Validity

Many countries require travelers to have six months of validity for entry. Qatar is included in one of those countries. You will be denied access to Qatar if your passport is due to expire in less than six months.

This requirement is put in place to avoid complications. When traveling, you may encounter an emergency where you may have to fly back home or that prolongs your stay. If your passport expires within that time, including the length of your trip, you may not be able to get back into your country.

Visa Requirement

Yes, Qatar does have a visa requirement. However, it is simple enough. You are eligible if you are a tourist, have a Passport with six months of validity, and a roundtrip ticket. If you meet all of those requirements, you will likely be able to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport in Qatar. The tourist visa is valid for up to thirty days. You are allowed to apply for an extension for another thirty days. 

The Hayya Card

If you are traveling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, you must apply for a Hayya Card. Remember that the World Cup takes place this year from November 20th through December 18th. This is your entry permit into Qatar, which acts like a visa for the event. It is also used for stadium access and match tickets. There are also other benefits from the Hayya card, including free public transportation.

Everyone with a ticket to the FIFA World cup must fill out an application. You can find the application by downloading “ Hayya to Qatar 2022”.

To apply, you will need the following:

  • A photo in color taken within the last six months
  • Passport copy
  • Your ticket application number
  • Emergency contact information 
  • You will be required to confirm accommodation plans 

Visit the Fifa World Cup’s page for Qatar 2022 for more details.

Local Laws and Exit bans

While traveling to Qatar, you should be mindful of their local laws. If you get reprimanded for anything while visiting, you will not be able to leave once the issue is solved. This process can take years, and with no help from the Qatar government for those with exit bans, it should be avoided at all costs. 

Reasons for exit bans can include but are not limited to:

  • Labor or financial disputes
  • Personal debt 
  • Outstanding contracts or leases
  • Traffic fines
  • Pending legal matters
  • Cases related to gestures or behavior reported by Qataris that are viewed as “offensive.”

What may be considered offensive varies from attire to religious proselytizing and even some sexualities. Many things are deemed illegal in Qatar that is not in the U.S., such as taking photographs of locals. 

If You Need a Passport 

You can apply for a passport renewal at any post office or courthouse, but the delivery time for a passport is six to ten weeks. Consider using a rush passport rush service, like The Passport Office. It offers renewal and new passport services in Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood. 

How To Change Your Name On Your Passport

Red and White Plastic Name Tag with Hello My Name Is Isolated on White Background.

Have you gotten married? Are you newly divorced? Your travel documents need to reflect your new name. All identification documents need to be updated if you received a legal name change. The application may have different requirements, depending on your documents and the time you have had your passport. 

If Your Passport Was Issued Less Than a Year Ago

If you legally had a name change through marriage/divorce, and your passport was issued less than one year ago, you will fill out Form DS-5504. This application and service are free of charge unless you apply using expedited services. You will need to submit some documents with the application. It must be submitted by mail, specifically using USPS. Other post offices cannot deliver documents to the address listed on the application. 

You will need to submit the following by mail with your application:

  • A completed DS-5504
  • Your most recent U.S passport
  • One passport photo in color
  • An original government-issued name change document, court order, marriage certificate, or divorce decree 

If You are Requesting a Name Change More Than One Year After Your Passport Was Issued

If you request a name change and your passport was issued more than a year ago, you will need to renew your passport. You will have to fill out Form DS-82. However, you must be eligible to apply for a passport renewal by mail. You will have to apply in person if you still need to meet the following requirements.

Your passport must be undamaged except for regular wear and tear. For example, some discoloration or loose threads on the cover are fine, but a passport put through a washer or dryer will be too damaged to be renewed.

Your passport must have been issued at the age of 16 or older. If you are under 16, you must apply for a new passport. If the passport book you possess is a 5-year passport (valid for five years from the date it was issued), you are not eligible for a renewal process.

The passport must have been issued less than 15 years ago. You can’t renew a passport once it’s expired for more than five years.

It was issued in your current name, or you can provide documents to affirm the name change. The document is your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order.

If you meet those requirements, you can apply for your name change using Form DS-82. Once the form is filled out, print it and sign it. You will have some additional documents and fees that you need to prepare. 

Your Application Documents  

  • Your most recent U.S passport
  • A passport photo that has been taken within the last six months
  • Include name change documents if needed, like a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or legal name change document
  • Calculate your fees. You can calculate your costs here. You must pay with a check or money order. It cannot be a business or third-party check. The check must be written out to the “U.S. Department of State.”

Once you have Form DS-82 filled out, printed, and signed and all your documents gathered, you can send your application by mail. Again, you will send the application using USPS.

Applying Without a Marriage Certificate or Divorce Decree

You may not be freshly married or newly divorced, but you still need to change the name on your passport. If you cannot submit a marriage certificate or divorce decree, you must apply using Form DS-11. You are applying for a new passport issued in your new name. Because you are applying for a new passport, you will need to apply in person.

If your new name is significantly different than the name on your evidence of U.S. citizenship, or if you cannot prove the name change through marriage or divorce documentation, you must submit a second form. Form DS-60: Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name must be filled. The form must also be completed by two people that have known you by both names. You must also submit at least three certified public records that prove you have used your new name for five years or more. 

New passport requirements include the following:

  • DS-11 application form printed and filled out, but NOT signed  ( You must have an employee witness your signature)
  • Proof of U.S Citizenship ( a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy including the front and back of the document)
  • A passport photo that meets the U.S Department of State’s requirements for passport photos
  • Payment: Post Offices will accept credit cards, checks, and money orders for acceptance fees, but you will also need a check or money order written out to the “U.S Department of State” that will be mailed out with your application.

Applying for an Expedited Passport

If you are traveling soon and need to get a new passport or renew your passport to reflect your name change, consider getting your passport expedited. Couriers like The Passport Office can rush the passport process as fast as three to five days!

Apply with The Passport Office today for your new passport or passport renewal Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Australian Visa?

Australia has sandy white beaches, A relaxed surf culture, and friendly locals. Its shimmering cities like Sydney, or Melbourne are buzzing with adventure. It’s no wonder why you are considering traveling to Australia soon. 

Those with a U.S. passport can travel to Australia, but they will also need to have a travel visa. Although it sounds like it, the process is not too complicated. It can be done through an app on your electronic device, and can be approved almost immediately!

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs has a travel visa called the Electronic Travel Authority. If you plan to travel to Australia for less than 3 months you can apply for a free-of-charge, 3-month travel visa. But what kind of travel does the ETA count for? With this Visa, you can travel to Australia if you are a genuine visitor. 

You can be a tourist, and go on a cruise or tour. You can have an extended visit with your family and friends. For business visitors, you can conduct certain business practices that can expand your business internationally. There are great benefits to applying for this visa, but it is the only way you can get in. 

Those entering Australia to study should not apply using the ETA but instead should apply for a student visa. Here are some examples of when you would need to apply for this visa. 

Traveling by Cruise

All guests visiting an Australian port require a visa. You will be denied entry at the beginning of your cruise if you do not have an approved Australian visa.

Being a Business Visitor

As a business visitor in Australia, you can make general business inquiries. They can attend an unpaid conference, trade, or seminar. They may negotiate or investigate business contracts. A business visitor may even conduct activities as part of a government visit. 

However, a business visitor is not considered and cannot sell goods or services to the public of Australia. They also may not provide services to a business or organization based in Australia. 

Eligibility

Of course, to apply for a visa, you must be eligible. Here are the requirements for the Australian Visa:

  1. You must have a valid passport.
  2. Be a genuine visitor. In short, this means you must be traveling for business, tourist, or visiting purposes. You must be open to your visa conditions. 
  3. You must meet Australia’s health requirements.
  4. Meet their character requirement. If you have a criminal conviction in any country, you may have to provide more information, or your application will be canceled. 
  5. You must have no debts to the Australian Government.

Applying For The Visa

Make sure you have a valid passport

Your passport must be valid at the time of entry to Australia but should be valid for the duration of your stay. It is recommended that you have at least 6 months of validity left on your passport before you travel to another country. At least one page of your passport must have space for a stamp for entry.  

Download the app

You can download the app, Australia ETA for free on either the Apple Store or Google Play.

When you download the app, it will ask you to do some things like, take a photo of yourself, and scan your passport.

Setting up the app

Once you’ve downloaded the app, it will ask you to take a photo of yourself

The photo has almost all of the same requirements as a passport photo, and will be denied if the picture has any of the following:

  • The photo is not square to the camera 
  • There is more than one person in the photo
  • You have a non-plain background
  • There are background shadows
  • Glares or shadows appear in the photo
  • Heavy makeup on your face and body

Next, you will have to scan your passport data page.

 You must enable the NFC function on your device. If you have a passport cover on your passport book also remove it. Your passport data page is just that part of your airport with all of your information and pictures. You will be taking a picture of each page, horizontally. You must include the entire page, including the two lines of numbers at the bottom of the data page. If the app approves your photo the outline around the screen will turn green and automatically take the scan/photo. It is important to not obstruct the view of the data page. You should avoid shadows or glares in the photo.

Then, you will have to scan the chip on your U.S. passport. 

If you didn’t know, there is a symbol on the front of your passport book that contains a chip in it. To scan it, open your passport up to the passport data page. Remove any passport book or phone case you may have on. Place your phone on the top page, so that it is touching the phone. Then, you must move the device up and down the passport until the app recognizes the chip. Do not move your device until the chip is fully scanned. A page with personal information will appear, and you will review and approve the information. 

Receiving Your Visa

In most cases, your Australian visa will be approved almost immediately. If there is a delay, for one reason or another, the delay will not last for more than 12 hours. You may experience delays with your application if it was filled out incorrectly, if they need more time to review your information, or if they need more information from you. If you are a convicted felon in your country, your application may also be delayed for investigation. 

If you are approved or denied, you will receive it in writing. So, check your email frequently. If you are approved, you will receive a statement in writing with your visa conditions, your visa grant number, and the date your visa starts. 

Getting a U.S passport 

You need a passport to travel to Australia. You can apply for one typically at a post office or courthouse. However, passport processing time can land you in a 6-10 week waiting room. 

Maybe you are traveling soon and can’t wait months to receive your new passport. Consider applying for an expedited passport with a private courier. Private couriers, like The Passport Office, can get you an expedited passport in as little as 3 days!

Apply with The Passport Office today for your passport renewal or your new passport Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood.

Passport Books VS Passport Cards

The U.S Department of State offers two forms of passports that you can apply for. There’s the universally recognized passport book, and there’s the small and sleek passport card. Which one is better? There are benefits from both, but it just really depends on the type of traveler you are. . 

The main difference between a passport book and a passport card is how and where each allows you to travel. A passport book is a universal form of travel identification. The book is the only way you’ll get on a plane to an international destination. Passport cards can be used when traveling by land or sea, but they have limitations. U.S citizens with a passport card can travel to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean by land or sea. This applies to mostly traveling internationally by driving, and closed loop-cruises. 

The Basics of a Passport Book

A passport book is available for U.S citizens to be used for travel by air, land, or sea. They show proof of your identity and citizenship. For those with a passport who are 16 or older, their passport is valid for 10 years. If they are under the age of 16, their passport is valid for 5 years. 

The book is 5X 3.5 in size when it is closed. There are extra blank pages at the end of the book for stamps and visas. 

The Basics of a Passport Card

The passport card is the size of an identification card, making it convenient to use for travel. Once a passport card is issued it can be used to travel internationally by land, or sea. But only to specific places.  You cannot use a passport card for air travel. However, it is a form of acceptable ID and is valid for the same amount of time as a passport book.

The Benefits of a Passport Book

The passport book is the most universally exempted form of travel identification. You cannot get into most countries without one. The biggest benefit of a passport book by far is being able to travel internationally by air. Also, the book does not limit you to which countries you can travel to. A Passport book also includes pages for stamps and visas.

A passport book is also good to have in case of emergencies. If for some reason you need to fly back home, you need a passport book to be able to do so. 

The Benefits of a Passport Card

Passport cards conveniently fit in your wallet, making them easier to travel with than a passport book. They can be used to travel domestically. They can also be used at sea ports of entry or land border crossings for entry into countries listed below:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Grenada
  • The Bahamas
  • Anguilla
  • Aruba
  • Dominica
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Montserrat
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Dominican Republic
  • Bermuda
  • Saint Lucia
  • Caribbean Netherlands

The passport card is good to have if you are someone who frequents cruises more than they travel by air. They can be used for international entry on closed-loop cruises. This means that the cruise starts and ends at the same U.S port. You can also use it as your child’s identification card, or your own. It doubles as a form of identification. The card is also useful for those who often cross the Mexican or Canadian border by land. The passport card also costs less than a passport book. 

 The Difference in Cost 

For passport books…

Passport books will run a little more expensive than a passport card.

For first-time passport books, the application fee will run you $130 dollars. If the book is for a child under 16, it will be $100. Both will also be charged a $35 acceptance facility fee.

If you are renewing your passport book, it will run you $130, or $100 for a minor under 16. You will not be charged the $35 acceptance facility fee for passport renewals. 

For passport cards… 

Passport cards are $30. If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you will be charged the $35 acceptance fee.

Do You Need Both?

The answer to this question does depend on what type of traveler you are. You want to consider what countries you most frequent or want to travel to. If your travel is mostly by sea or land, and you mostly travel between Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, it may be more convenient for you to do so with a passport card. If you prefer to travel by air to countries in  Europe or Asia, you’re going to need a passport book. 

If you’re a frequent flyer, who doesn’t travel much by sea or land, you don’t necessarily need a passport card. If you don’t have a valid ID, if you are a cruiser or a driver, get that card for a more convenient experience. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to have both, and you can apply for both of them at the same time. 

Processing Times 

Do you have a trip coming up and need to apply for a new passport? Passport processing times can land you in a 6-10 week waiting room. Consider applying for an expedited passport with a private courier. 

Private couriers, like The Passport Office, can get you an expedited passport in as little as 3 days!

Apply with The Passport Office today and your expedited passport Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood.

Does a Baby Need a Passport ?

Two week old newborn baby boy sleeping on a tiny inflatable swim ring. He is wearing crocheted board shorts and black sunglasses.

Travel is stressful enough, and international travel with a young baby can be tedious for their caretakers. A common question regarding travel with infants is, does my baby need a passport to travel? It’s a very understandable question! Most of the time children under 2 don’t even need to pay for their airline tickets. Why would they need a passport?

Every U.S citizen regardless of age is required to have a U.S passport for international travel. Yes, even the cute, small baby. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the said baby must apply for a first-time passport for minors under 16.

How To Apply For a Child Passport

First, you will fill out Form DS-11.

Unlike an adult passport, applying for a passport for a minor under 16 gives the child validity for 5 years. This means they can travel internationally for 5 years before they have to get a new one. You must print the form and fill it out.

The form will ask you for general information such as the child’s social security number. The application requires you to provide information and documents that give proof of U.S citizenship. It’s time to pull out the old box or file folder full of legal documents!

Note: Do not sign your passport application until instructed to do so by an acceptance facility agent. This is because they need to verify the identity of the applicant before the application is signed. 

Second, provide evidence of U.S citizenship.

You must provide an original or certified, physical copy of one of the following documents:

  • Undamaged, Valid passport (passport may be expired) 
  • A U.S Birth Certificate 
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth ( if you are unsure of this document, read about it here)
  • Certificate of Citizenship

Not only will you need to provide a physical copy of the evidence, but you will also need to provide a photocopy. The photocopy must be of the front and back of the physical copy. You must print the photocopy in black and white ink. The page must be on standard 8X11 paper, and the copy must remain single-sided. 

Note: If you plan on submitting a physical copy of a Birth certificate, keep in mind that some states deem it illegal to make a photocopy of a birth certificate. You can instead submit a second certified copy of your physical evidence.

Third, you must show parental relationships.

Not only do you have to have proof of your child’s citizenship, but you will also have to prove that you’re their parent. The documentation submitted must list the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child applying for the passport. The evidence must all be certified copies and not photocopies. Parents or legal guardians must submit one or more of the following:

Fourth, you must present your ID.

Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must provide a form of identification to the acceptance agent. You must also provide a photocopy. The photocopy must present the front and back of your ID. It needs to be presented on standard paper and must remain single-sided. You may not decrease the size of the image, as it can alter legibility.

 Acceptable forms of ID as listed by the U.S Department of State are:

  • Valid or expired, undamaged U.S. passport book or passport card 
  • In-state, fully valid driver’s license or enhanced driver’s license with photo
  • Certificate of Naturalization 
  • Certificate of Citizenship 
  • Government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal)
  • U.S. military or military-dependent ID
  • Current (valid) foreign passport
  • Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular ID) – commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant
  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) – commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant
  • Trusted Traveler IDs (including valid Global Entry, FAST, SENTRI, and NEXUS cards)
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards and Native American tribal photo IDs
  • Other documents: 1) In-state, fully-valid learner’s permit with photo, 2) In-state, fully-valid non-driver ID with photo, or 3) temporary driver’s license with photo. Note: you may be asked to present an additional ID when presenting one of these three documents.

Fifth, you must show parental consent.

This step may be the trickiest to complete, only because both parents or legal guardians must be there in person with the applicant to show their consent. The U.S Department of State is aware that this may be difficult to accomplish considering the diversity of family dynamics that may be presented. Although it is recommended that both parents or legal guardians attend their in-person appointment, there are other viable options.

The U.S Department of State’s website has scenario-based options such as if one parent is not able to show up, if you have sole custody, or if you are not able to locate another parent. There is however extra paperwork that comes with these scenarios. You will most likely have to fill out a separate form, DS-3053 or DS-5525. You can find instructions on the U.S Department of State website.

Sixth, you must provide a passport photo.

You must provide a passport photo of the child. The child must be facing forward with their eyes open. If they are a young baby they are not required to have their eyes fully open in the photo.

  • The photo must have been taken within the last 6 months
  • The dimensions of your passport photo must be in a 2”X2” format
  • The photo may be printed on glossy or matt paper
  • The photo must be printed in color
  • You must take your photo in front of a plain, white, or off-white background
  • The photo may not be digitally altered

Seventh, calculate your fees. 

There are separate fees that the applicant must be aware of. There is a government fee and an acceptance facility fee.

For the government fee, the applicant must provide a check or money order paid to the order of the “ U.S Department of State”. The amount required to pay for a child’s passport book is currently $100.The acceptance facility fee will be $35 and must be paid separately.

Submitting Your Application

You must submit your application in person, at a Passport Acceptance Facility to verify the child’s and the parent’s identity. A Passport Acceptance facility is usually a Courthouse, Clerk of Court, Post Office, Library, University, or other municipal building.

A passport acceptance facility search page is provided on the U.S Department of State website. The search engine lets you put in your zip code to find a place that does passports near you, it also has phone numbers, operating hours, how to get an appointment (or if walk-ins are acceptable), and it’ll let applicants know if photo services are available on-site.

Processing Times 

The current processing time for a passport can range from 6 to 10 weeks from the day you submit your application. 

If you can’t wait for 6 to 10 weeks to receive your baby’s passport, the U.S Department of State does offer an expedited child passport service for an additional $60. However, the applicant must be within 14 days of international travel and must be able to prove it. Additionally, this only expedited your child’s passport to about 3 to 5 weeks. 

If you need your passport expedited, consider The Passport Office. They are a trusted passport agency in Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Hollywood!