If your travel plans will take you outside of the United States, a passport is a must. Remember to check the expiration dates of your entire family’s passports well in advance of your departure date. U.S. passports are issued to adults for 10 years and to children under the age of 16 for 5 years. Your passport may be valid, but your child could be carrying an expired one.
The passport book provides the traveler with the identification and proof of citizenship for all international travel, whether by air, land, or sea. The passport card is a travel document that can be used for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It cannot be used for international air travel.
USPS makes it convenient to apply for a passport, and you can even get your photos made there. March 10th will be Passport Day in the USA with some locations having extended hours. Visit www.usps.com/passport to locate a Post Office near you that offers passport services.
Tips for Traveling Abroad:
- Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency. It's a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov.
- Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page, and visas with family or friends so you can be contacted in case of emergency.
- Country-specific information, travel warnings, and travel alerts are updated regularly and are accessible through the State Department’s travel information website at http://www.travel.state.gov.
- If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen while you are overseas, report it immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. A consul can issue a replacement passport. Links to contact information for U.S. embassies and consulates may be found at http://usembassy.state.gov.