So you know you are ready to take the plunge and travel outside the United States. Now is a fabulous time to do so. But how should you prepare for international travel?
The first 6 things to do to prepare for international travel
- First, apply for a passport. This includes gathering the materials you need, like:
- Legal name (the same as on your social security account)
- Social security number
- Birth city, state, and country, height, hair, and eye color
- Postal address for mailing your passport
- Communication preference (email, post, etc.)
- Anticipated travel dates and places
- Items that you may need to think about or research, such as your emergency contact, and information about your parents and spouse – legal names, date, and place of birth, and citizenship information. If something dire happens to you outside the country, the State Department will notify your emergency contact, so put some thought into your selection. You’ll also need physical copies of your proof of citizenship (birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, consular report of birth abroad, citizenship certificate, previous passport) and a valid photo ID.
- Next, fill out DS-11 (if this is for your first-ever passport, or your previous one was issued when you were under 16) or DS-82 (if this is a renewal). The easiest way? Go to the State Department website, fill out the appropriate form, and print it out. Then find your nearest acceptance office (typically post offices and superior court offices). Note that if you are renewing, you can simply mail the application along with the fee.
- You’ll need a 2 inch X 2-inch photo – most post offices can take the photo for you for a fee.
- And speaking of fees, the cost for a passport (required for all non-driving international travel) is $110. If you’re driving to Mexico or Canada, you can use a passport card, which costs $30, though a passport is much more useful if you plan to go anywhere else. The passport application fee is payable to the ‘US Department of State’ via personal check or money order. And you’ll need to pay the $25 processing fee when you turn in the application, which must be paid separately and via check, money order, or (at post offices) via credit or debit card. NOTE: if you are applying for someone under 16, both parents must provide written consent for the application. Again, see the State Department’s website for further details.
- Next, check your destination at the State Department’s Country Information Page to find out about any visa or special passport requirements.
- Lastly, check any health requirements including required/recommended vaccines and active health alerts at the Centers for Disease Control website.
If you want help or further advice, feel free to contact us – we can help with travel consulting, or can plan your entire trip – contact us today.
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