Apply early for passports to avoid last-minute rush: ICA

Apply early for passports to avoid last-minute rush: ICA
SINGAPORE: With the upcoming school holidays in September, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Friday (Aug 21) reminded Singapore citizens to apply for a new passport early to avoid a last-minute rush. In a news release, ICA also said …
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Catch That That Last-minute Flight With Emergency Passport Services

Detailed and thorough travel plans can change in the blink of an eye. A trip abroad originally intended to take place several months in the future might be rescheduled for next week, and you still may not have your passport. Or, you could already be traveling, and your passport gets lost or stolen. None of us likes to contemplate those options, but it is necessary to know how to replace that document without totally disrupting a trip in progress. These situations often call for an Emergency USA Passport.

The normal process of applying for a U.S. Passport is not really complicated. It can be time consuming, however. In some cases the entire procedure may take at least a minimum of six weeks and during certain peak travel seasons, the wait can become much longer due to the increased time needed for processing. Getting a passport means showing legal proof of American citizenship, having a totally completed application form and a current picture ID, two recent or brand new passport photos, and enough money to pay the fees. The U.S. Post Office is one government agency that regularly helps travelers through the initial application.

The tried-and-true application procedure is adequate for most needs. What do people do, however, who find themselves needing a passport within days rather than weeks? There are situations where a passport is needed almost immediately, yet the application has not yet been completed. To help expedite this need, the U.S. Government has set up local agencies to help. Those with immediate needs for international travel documentation or special visas can make an appointment with an office called the Regional Passport Agency.

These regional Passport Agency offices are easily found on the internet, located in U.S. Government travel websites. These offices are very helpful, of course, but are not the only option available when a traveler needs to speed up the process of documentation. Also found on the internet are an entire host of private businesses who have become specialists in nearly every facet of passport detail. If your personal time is limited, a search of these websites will probably help you understand the services they provide and any fees that are required.

These apply primarily to existing or new passports. Sometimes, however, passport tragedy strikes when a traveler is already abroad. The papers get stolen or lost. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should and the result can be devastating on a trip that has a tightly planned itinerary. Lost connections mean lost time and money. Be sure and do the one thing many people ignore, make a good-quality photocopy of your present passport. Wrap it well to protect it from the elements, and pack it in a completely different bag if possible. Having this copy as backup can speed the entire lost United States passport replacement process if necessary.

But bad things still can happen to good planners. If the passport is lost or stolen, remember that you can contact the local U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Within that overall group is a unit called the American Citizens Service, usually located within the consulate section. To begin the emergency issuance process they will need all the details of your planned travel. This information may be helpful circumventing some of the bureaucracy that tends to slow things down. In addition, the Service will ask you to complete a new application. They must be absolutely sure of your correct and legitimate identification before replacing any document.

More specifically, the information you will need to provide will include personal data including name, personal location and date of birth, and the date, location of issue, and number of your lost or stolen document if you have it. This is one of the primary benefits of having made a valid photocopy of the lost information. In addition, even if there is no required police report, an affidavit or sworn statement regarding the theft or loss must be formally issued before the consular officer. The office will then access the U.S. Passport Verification System and will be able to retrieve the original information and data.

In addition to name clearance and citizenship verification, you may need further proof of identity to get a stolen or lost US passport replacement. This may be provided by others in your travel group, or information may be needed from family living in the U.S. If necessary, proof can be obtained from previous passport records.

Emergency Passports for Last-Minute Trips

With extra fees and ever more onerous security requirements, traveling has become increasingly unpleasant even if you’ve had plenty of time to plan ahead. But what if you don’t have time to plan? Anything from a sudden business crisis to a family emergency can drag you out of the country on short notice.

 

If a situation arises that necessitates last-minute travel, your top concern is likely to be getting an emergency passport. While most travel experts recommend applying for your passport as far in advance as possible, getting an emergency passport is possible as long as you take the appropriate steps.

 

For a last-minute trip, one option is make an appointment at the nearest regional passport agency office. Regional passport agency offices are capable of issuing passports in 24 hours or less, as long as you have all of your paperwork straight when you go in.

 

To get an emergency passport from a regional passport agency office, call 1-877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment. To qualify for an appointment, you must be able to show that you have tickets to leave the country in the next 14 days, so go ahead and make those plane reservations prior to calling. Before your appointment, make sure to familiarize yourself with the documents you’ll need to apply and the fees you’ll need to pay. Also, bring a copy of your itinerary to prove that you do, indeed, have an emergency passport situation on your hands.

 

Another option is to submit your application through a private expediter such as Rush My Passport. These companies deal with the Department of State for you, which means that you get your emergency passport request processed quickly even when you don’t have time to visit a regional passport agency office.

Instead, if you need to apply in person for your passport (for example, if it’s your first time or if your last passport was lost or stolen), you can simply go down to a post office or any other location that accepts passport applications and get your application “sealed” by the staff there. Then, ship it to the expediting company and they’ll handle the Department of State for you.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

Avoid last-minute rush, apply for passports early – AsiaOne.com

DC Passport Office
rush passport
Image by Potjie
Hope you’re not in a rush for that passport. This line was at 8:15,
waiting for the doors to open at 9:00.

Avoid last-minute rush, apply for passports early – AsiaOne.com
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