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Advice For First Time Passport Applicants

By Charles Brown

How to apply for a U.S passport:

--Do you need a passport or a visa? A visa is issued by the country you are going to, and is necessary if you intend to stay for a long period of time. Obviously, the length of time before a visa is required varies by the country.

--Plan ahead. The process of obtaining a passport is not difficult, but it usually takes about three weeks. So don't postpone your application if you are planning to travel overseas.

--If you need a faster response, an expedited processing will cost an additional $60, whether you are applying for a first-time passport, or renewing an existing one.

--You will need a certified birth certificate, two identical passport-size photos (2X2 inches), your social security card and your drivers license.

--You must apply in person if this is your first U.S. passport application; or if your previous US passport expired and was issued when you were under 16; or if your name has changed since your passport was issued and you do not yet have a legal document formally changing your name.

--Remember, your passport is the only valid ID accepted once you cross an international border. Carry it with you at all times (a money belt is an excellent investment before you leave, and will be the ideal place to carry this and other important documents).

--If your passport is lost or stolen while your are in another country, go immediately to the nearest US embassy or consulate to have a replacement issued.

--For more information, visit the US Department of State's website at

COPYRIGHT © Charles Brown, 2006. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Charles Brown is a former attorney who now spends his time indulging his passion for travel and shares the unique travel destinations and unbeatable travel bargains he uncovers on his blog, Guerrilla Traveler - Adventure on a Budget,

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