April 9: The easiest day of the year to get a passport
If you need a passport (or are due for a renewal of an existing passport), you'll want to take advantage of the U.S. State Department's "Passport Day in the USA" coming up this Saturday, April 9th.
In a press release, the U.S. State Department said, "For this day only, no appointment is necessary," making it easier for everyday folks with busy Monday to Friday schedules to get their passport paperwork taken care of. You can search for a passport acceptance facility or one of 24 regional passport agencies near you on the U.S. Department of State website.
Here are some things you'll need to keep in mind when applying for—or renewing—your passport this year:
Starting April 1st of this year, there is a new requirement for those applying for the first time: The full names of both parents of the applicant must be listed on the certified U.S. birth certificate. This USA Today article explains more about the new rule, including important information concerning single parents and adopted applicants.
First time applicants should also pay attention to passport photo requirements. Drug stores like CVS and Walgreens offer passport photo services, usually for less than $10.
The typical passport book costs $135 for anyone over the age of 16 and $105 for ages 15 and under. This document serves as your ticket to the world, while for $55 you can apply for a passport card ($40 for those 15 and under), which allows you to travel by land and sea to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. It should be noted that the passport card cannot be used for air travel to these countries.
As of right now, it takes 6-8 weeks to receive your passport from the day you apply. For an additional charge of $60, plus the $12.72 for overnight delivery that is "strongly recommended" by the State Department, you do have the option of expediting the delivery, but even this can take 2-3 weeks door-to-door.
If you were over the age of 16 when you first got your passport, there is no need for renewal for 10 years, however passports for those under age 15 are only valid for five years. Currently, it costs $110 to renew a passport book and $30 to renew a passport card. It is always important to plan ahead, especially since some countries might not let you into their borders if you're due for renewal within six months.
Last year, over 13.8 million passports were issued, including about 1.5 million passport cards. We want to know, do you have a U.S. passport? Which stamps do you have in yours?
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