Expedited Passport Information

Expediting the Passport Application Process

To travel outside of the United States, a citizen will need a passport. They may get these from the US Department of State, via the various agencies they have all over the country. When applying directly to the Department of State, a passport application may take a month or longer from the point that the application is turned in to the point at which the passport is delivered to the holder. There are instances where people may wish to travel immediately. These can range from family emergencies in other countries to discovering that a passport is missing only a short time before a trip outside of the country. In such instances, they may not be able to wait a month to receive their passport. The best option is to expedite the passport application. An expedited passport application may allow the traveler to receive their passport in as short a time as 24 hours.

Expedited Passport Applications
Passport applications are not just for people who have never held one before. In some cases they may have owned a passport more than five years previous and allowed it to expire. The person whose previous passport is more than five years past the expiration date is in the same situation, legally speaking, as the person who has never had one before. Other reasons a person may find themselves needing a new passport include the fact that their present one has expired and they need a renewal. The application for a passport renewal is different from that for a new passport and will necessitate turning in the old one. Other reasons for applying for a passport include the fact that the present one has been lost or stolen. In the case of a lost, stolen or damaged passport the passport holder will have to supply a statement regarding the passport along with the other elements of their application. In all of these instances, the applicant may opt for an expedited passport application in order to speed up the process and to be able to travel.

Places to Get Expedited Passports
Travelers who wish to expedite their passport application may opt to apply for an expedited passport at any one of the State Department’s agencies, or they may instead choose any of the many passport expediter services available. There are passport expediters in major cities across the country and many expediters offer their services via the Internet for even greater speed in getting an application processed. Internet passport expediters can process an application in as little as 24 hours. In either case, the applicant will need a few vital pieces of documentation. They will need to be able to prove their identity and citizenship.

Applying for an Expedited Passport from the State Department
The applicant will need to download and print a DS-11 passport application form from the State Department’s website. They will need to fill it out correctly with a blue or black ink pen. They will also need to have two recent passport-sized photographs to accompany their application. They will need copies of their birth certificate or certificate of citizenship in order to prove that they are United States citizens. In the cases of passport renewals, the old passport will suffice as proof of citizenship.

Drawbacks to applying via State Department Agencies include the fact that wait times at these agencies can be long and made even longer if paperwork is not filled out correctly.

Using the Services of a Passport Expediter
A passport expediter will still need the above documentation, but many services provide a skilled and experienced agent to help applicants with the process. These agents will ensure that the applications are filled out correctly. Furthermore, the applicant may be able to fill out much of the information in online forms, and handle the application process online.


Passport and Visa Requirements for China

Passport and Visa Requirements to Travel to China for US Citizens

 

US Citizens that wish to travel to China must be aware and knowledgeable about all the requirements that are imposed in order to enter any city in China via any form of transportation as well as the requirements that are imposed in exiting China as well as their purposes of visiting that country during their period of stay. The first step that must be done in order to initiate the desired travel plans is to obtain a US Passport via any passport agency that are usually located within most metropolitan areas around the 50 states and territories.

The process of obtaining a US Passport can be effectively done very quickly at the passport agency or via mail. All the needed documents must be presented and several fees must be paid in order to obtain the passport with expedited services usually charging extra fees for this level of convenience. US Passports for adults are biometric, have 10 year validity and consist of 32 pages in total. The next step is to understand the process of obtaining a Chinese visa in order to enter China. If you are planning to travel to China for a vacation or simply for pleasure purposes, you will need to obtain a visitor/tourist visa from the Chinese Embassy or consulate within the United States. It is important to note that US Citizens cannot freely travel to China without a visa; a visa is required for any kind of planned activity for any type of US Citizen.

Obtaining a Chinese visa is not an extremely challenging process but it does take some considerable time to be effectively done. Since most US Citizens live outside of the Washington D.C. Area, the city where the Chinese embassy is located, it is required for US Citizens to send their passports via regular mail to their nearest Chinese Consulate in order to obtain the visa.

Proper documentation and payment in the forms of money orders is required in order to initiate the process of obtaining a visitor visa. If you are planning to visit China for pleasure, it is required to present a valid US passport with at least 6 months of validity, a letter addressed to the consulate general requesting the visa, your planned itinerary airline ticket, along with some other documentation and proof of sufficient funds to cover your expenses in China. These funds can be presented in the form of bank account statements, proof of income such as tax forms, properties, assets, companies, credit cards or cash. Keep in mind that other types of visas such as work visas and student visas require different types of documentation and different fees.

Once the passport has been sent, the consulate general will receive your application, review the information and submit your visa depending upon your request. You have the right to request a visa consisting of one-year validity, single-entry visa, or a multiple-entry, one-year validity visa. Fees for multiple-entry visas with longer periods of validity usually involve more fees and their approval is entirely at the sole discretion of the consulate general.

If your visa is approved, you will be contacted by the consulate general personally and you will receive your passport with your new Chinese visa via regular mail. It is important to consider that your requested type of visa along with all the attributes will not always be approved by the consulate general for a wide variety of reasons. If it is not approved, you can follow up with extra documentation in order to comply with all the requirements imposed by the immigration laws of China.

When you arrive to China with your new visa, you will be allowed to stay in the country for the given duration of time placed on your visa and for the given purpose. If you travel as a tourist, you cannot work or establish permanent residence in China. You can opt for extending your visa depending upon its condition in China but the process has been somewhat challenging for most visitors and somewhat ineffective. If you overstay your visa in China, you will not be allowed to depart the country after the exit requirements have been satisfied. You must leave China in good standing with their immigration laws and have the proper documentation in place to your next destination or to your return to the United States.

Immigration policies in China are strictly enforced and the system within the country is highly bureaucratic and can become a costly affair if you do not comply with all the laws and regulations. Arriving in China without a valid visa or passport is an offence and you will be fined and put in a list of deportation until you arrive with the proper documents. Overstaying your visa in China is also a criminal offence where you can be detained, fined and deported back to the United States.

No matter what are your purposes of visiting China, always ensure to travel with all the necessary documents in place in order to avoid any kind of wrongdoing and an unpleasant travel experience.

 

 


Passport Cards

The US Passport card can be very useful for many travelers. The purpose of the passport card over the passport book is the convenience. Instead of having to carry about the large book, you can simply carry this card in a wallet or purse. There are a few restrictions however – it cannot be used for international traveling via any sort of air flight. It can only be used with other modes of transportation. It also can only be used when you are coming back from Canada, Mexico, the Bermuda, of the Caribbean. Travel by sea to any of the aforementioned countries is acceptable use of the passport card and would not require a passport book.

All US Citizens can apply for a passport card. They are very inexpensive and have a number of very good security features in them. Firstly, the cards are equipped with state-of-the-art RFID chips. These chips however do not contain any personal information on them – they simply provide an identification that is transmitted to a nearby US border facility so that any information can be pulled prior to you crossing the border. This is a way that you can feel safe knowing that terrorists or dangerous criminals will not be crossing the border and can be apprehended quickly and safely. For your security against 3rd party data hackers, each card is provided with an anti-RFID slip that prevents unauthorized reading or tracking of the card at all.

This type of card went into production July 14, 2008 and so far over 2.7 million cards are in circulation.

The cost for a first time cardholder is $55 for adults and $40 for minors under the age of 16. For renewal fees, it will cost only $30.

The card was originally designed for border-states who had many residents crossing the border frequently and they requested a cheaper, faster, easier way to present their ID and cross the border. The card cannot be used for air flight because it would undermine the increased efforts to provide air security checks in this post-9/11 world. TSA regulations allow for this card as an acceptable form of ID to travel, although you need your passport book if you travel internationally regardless.

Application for the passport card is done in the same manner as applying for the passport book. Begin by filling out the form number DS-11. This is the actual application for the US Passport, but can also be used for the card. It can be completed in person or online. Ensure that you provide your social security number. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your request will be delayed and even denied altogether. Once the DS-11 form has been filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States before the card will be sent out.

There is some controversy over the RFID chip that is contained in the US Passport cards. According to the US Immigrations office, the card is very safe and contains no personal information. An identification number is the only thing that is transmitted and then used to find your information via the US internal database. No outside sources have access to your personal history and information.


Renew an Expired Passport

If your passport is expired, it is practically the same process as applying for your first passport with only a few changes in steps.

The easiest way is by mail. If your current passport is not damaged and can be sent with your application, you were 16 years or older when the prior one was granted and the passport was issued in the last 15 years and in your current legal name (provide documents if you changed your name), then mailing is the best way. If you cannot provide the above documents, then you must get your expired passport renewed in person.

The correct form to fill out would be form DS-82. Form DS-82 is the renewal form and it can be sent by mail as long as you are currently in the United States. Please note that there will be delays in processing if any of the following have occurred: Your most recent passport has been mutilated in any way, altered, or damaged, the envelope that you used was not of adequate size to hold all documents required, if you are behind on child support payments, and the use of a non-standard form of traceable delivery.

If you have to apply in person, then you must fill out for DS-11. Ensure that you provide your social security number with this form. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your request will be delayed and even denied altogether. Once the DS-11 form has been filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States before the renewed passport or card will be sent out. This will include previously used passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship and pay the fee of $95. That fee is for the passport book and passport card. If you just want the passport or the card it will be $80 and $15.

The normal processing times for standard delivery are roughly 5-7 days long and it can be tracked online also at the website. They are sent out via 1st class mail, and unfortunately cannot be sent out with overnight delivery so prepare just in case you need the passport urgently. If you do need it urgently, there are other options. As long as you are eligible, you can schedule an appointment at a one of the 24 regional passport agencies within the United States. Of course, if any of the aforementioned delays are present, the time it will take will increase.

Payments accepted are normal Credit Cards, checks, Money orders/Cashier’s checks, bank drafts and debit cards. Some facilities do accept cash payments, but ensure that you have a backup just in case. No cash payment through the mail. If the passport is for a minor, the photo must be a 2×2 that was taken in the last 6 months and both parents either must be present during the passport issuing, or the second parent must have a notarized document signed that states that they approve the passport for their child along with the DS-82 signed form.


Biometric Passports

Biometric Passports are the latest technology today in a world full of security threats and illegal border crossings. A biometric passport is a paper and electronic passport that has biometric information stored in it. These types of passports are also referred to as e-passports and they use a technology known as contactless smart card technology. The new passports basically contain a microprocessor that sends data out via a very small antenna to surrounding authorities to let them know and authenticate travelers.

To know if your passport, which includes many international passports, contains biometric information, there will be a logo of a rectangle with a circle inside and this represents that the technology is present inside that particular passport.

Each passport’s data is encrypted using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that many routers use at home which makes it very difficult and time consuming to hack.

The biometric methods that are currently stored in each card are facial recognition, fingerprints, iris and slowly starting today is retinal recognition. In the US, the passports do not contain fingerprints, but it does include personal data, and a digitized image of the photo on the passport that is available for viewing as well as facial recognition. This is very important because with the use of facial recognition, nobody can steal or copy a passport of somebody else and use that to enter the country illegally. It both protects the real passport holder and the country from illegal aliens entering for any reason including dangerous terrorist acts.

Stolen and counterfeit passports/visas were a very large problem that the US Dept of Homeland Security was facing over the last 20 years with an increase every year. With the new identifiers included in the biometric passports, the possibility that the use by terrorists or others who might represent a security risk to the US has been greatly reduced. It really is quite a wonder that these simple little passports can do such a great thing in terms on national security; they can potentially save thousands of lives in the future, all from this one single creation.

The use of biometric passports came into use after the attacks of 9/11 in 2001. This caused a massive wave of improved security features and a switch over to this standard. These passports were bundled under the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act made in 2002 which appears to say that smart identity cards may be used when a visa isn’t available.

In the future, the US has been planning to use a separate check booth for citizens who use the older style passport without the security features. This would unfortunately allow for a longer wait time due to the heightened process to verify the identity of the person who is traveling; this would also serve as an incentive to upgrade your passport to the newer version, since nobody likes waiting at the airport.

Since the US believes that the use of biometric passports is not just a domestic item, but an international security improvement, many countries have since adopted the notion and more are in the process of converting to this model. In 2009, the FBI’s director traveled by private jet to Turkey to discuss with them why they had not implemented the biometric passport initiative. The FBI’s director was concerned over the use of terrorists using the loophole that turkey had by not having biometric passports which would allow them easier access inside the United States. The FBI director warned these Turkish authorities that the possibility of terrorist organizations using fake Turkish passports in their attacks is present.


Renewing My Passport

Renewing your passport is a relatively straightforward process that is much easier than applying for your first passport. For obvious reasons, you aren’t going to be able to use the same passport for your entire life, this would pose a huge security threat to anybody traveling abroad, and the fact of the matter is that renewing it is a simple process that should stir up any sort of reservations for the people that have to do it. This is especially true if you are turning 18, where it is expected of you to renew your passport, just like your driver’s license. This is because people under 18 have their own special type of passport, and when you turn 18 you are no longer eligible to use it, so it is then time to graduate to the full normal passport everyone else uses.

It is possible, and easiest to renew by mail if your current passport is not damaged and can be sent with your application, was issued when you were 16 years or older, issued in the last 15 years and in your current legal name (provide documents if you changed your name).If you cannot provide the above documents, then you must get your passport renewed in person.

The correct form to fill out would be form DS-82. Form DS-82 is the renewal form and it can be sent by mail as long as you are currently in the United States. Please note that there will be delays in processing if any of the following have occurred: Your most recent passport has been mutilated in any way, altered, or damaged, the envelope that you used was not of adequate size to hold all documents required, if you are behind on child support payments, and the use of a non-standard form of traceable delivery.

If you have to apply in person, then you must fill out for DS-11. Ensure that you provide your social security number with this form. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your request will be delayed and even denied altogether. Once the DS-11 form has been filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States before the renewed passport or card will be sent out. This will include previously used passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship. The fee itself is $95 for the passport book and passport card. If you just want the passport or the card it will be $80 or $15 respectively.

Payments accepted are Credit Cards, checks, Money orders/Cashier’s checks, bank drafts and debit cards. Some facilities accept cash payments, but ensure that you have a backup just in case. No cash payment through the mail. Remember to take into consideration that if you are paying by mail, it could be a while until they get your payment- but once they do they are generally pretty quick about it.

The normal processing times for standard delivery are roughly 5-7 days long and it can be tracked online also at the website. They are sent out via 1st class mail, and unfortunately cannot be sent out with overnight delivery so prepare just in case you need the passport urgently. If you do need it urgently, there are other options. As long as you are eligible, you can schedule an appointment at a one of the 24 regional passport agencies within the United States. Of course, if any of the aforementioned delays are present, the time it will take will increase.