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.


Electronic Passports

 Introduction

Biometric passports are revolutionary technology present in today’s world that is effectively addressing many problems relating to many aspects of each individual’s life and his or her overall identity. The term biometric can be separated into the roots bio and metric which literally refer to life and measure, respectively.

The science of biometrics encompasses a new level of technology used in computer science to precisely identify humans based on their physical characteristics and traits, in which the same level of technology has been applied in the emission of passports since 2005.

Biometric passports, which are also called electronic passports, possess a chip containing all the computerized information about its owner. This information can include but is not limited to an updated, high-quality picture of the owner, all of his or her personal identifiable information fingerprints and signature. At the moment of issuance, this information is registered into a global secured database used by government agencies around the world in order to verify and authenticate the passport holder’s information whenever it is necessary.

Electronic passports bring a great deal of benefits for their holders that include safety, advanced recognizing technologies and convenience in many aspects.

Applied Technology

Apart from possessing a smart chip that contains all the personal information about the individual, electronic passports hold an applied computerized technology that combine both a paper and an electronic way of identifying the passport holder. All electronic passports possess a barcode that can be read on a global database used mainly by the police and immigration agencies in each country around the world.

This barcode effectively encompasses all the information that is also included within the chip, with the only difference that the barcode is readable through a scan on a computer while the chip cannot be scanned since it entails a contactless technology for greater safety.

Many airports and immigration authorities around the world have created automated machines and computerized systems in which electronic passports can be scanned through these machines and effectively be read and identified solely by the machine without any kind of human interaction. Once the passport is either scanned by an officer or a machine, an automated authentication of the passport occurs in which the securely stored identifiable information is verified along with the digitized image through complex algorithms and programming coding in order to ensure that the person presenting such passport is the actual person identified on that passport.

The level of automated identity recognition is not only limited to verifying the stored identifiable information about the person, but also to fully include the applied technology of biometrics including face recognition, fingerprints and an iris scanning. These three techniques can be effectively used in the technology of electronic passports in order to ensure that the person identified on the passport is the person who is presenting it.

Benefits & Advantages

The main benefit of electronic passports is their safety. Throughout the history of passports, many people around the world have been able to get hold of passports that are not theirs and effectively engaging in travelling with those passports that did not present the true bearer of the passport. Other individuals have been able to create and sell counterfeited passports to many individuals around the world in the past that were in need of a passport. Other cases also include the risk of identity theft by taking stolen passports and misusing the identity of the bearer to engage in illicit activities.

Electronic passports have been entirely designed and created in order to combat these issues and malpractices that have been occurring globally for several decades. Bearers of electronic passports enjoy a reduced risk of getting their information stolen and counterfeited by criminals engaging in this activity.

The second main benefit in electronic passports is their high level of convenience during international travel. Bearers of electronic passports can get automated identity verification, more efficient and quicker immigration inspections, and an overall greater security and peace of mind in knowing that their identity document is registered on a global computerized database.

Many electronic passports from many nations around the world do not need a visa to travel many countries in several continents, thereby saving the inconvenience and time of undergoing the process to obtain a visa to visit the specified country of their choice.

Worldwide Use

Electronic passports are inherently used by the majority of first-world countries and developed nations around the world. The entire European Union, United States, Japan and some countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia have effectively adopted the biometric technology into the passports of their citizens. Due to nature of technology of being relatively new in scope, not all countries around the world have been able to adopt the technology of electronic passports due to their costs, computerized systems’ infrastructure and other regulations.

However, with the advantage of the internet, research and development in computerized systems and databases, many other countries have expressed their future plans and interest in engaging in this level of technology for the benefit of their entire nation’s society. Experts agree that in less than 50 years from now, all passports of all countries of the world will be biometric with many more advanced features and safety precautions.

Conclusion

In summary, electronic passports offer an advanced technological system that enables effective identification and recognition. The benefits of obtaining an electronic passport far outweigh the costs of obtaining one. Automated identification recognition, secured information, high-quality picture and other advanced technologies should not be taken for granted in digitized era where everything is computerized and managed electronically.

If you are a citizen of a country that provides electronic passports, by all means consider in obtaining one whenever you need it for international travel or other purposes. Start enjoying the benefits of securing your personal identifiable information, have visa-free access to many countries around the world, avoid identity theft and effectively engage in the most advanced technology of biometrics present during the 21st century.

 

 


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.


Passport Name Change

Changing your name on your passport is a necessary step if you have changed your name any time recently. If you plan to go abroad, it is very important to remember the fact that if you have had a name change in the recent past, but your passport still uses the old name; you could very possibly run into some serious trouble.

Also, it is very important to ensure that you do this in a timely manner in case you must leave the country for a family emergency, or a business trip. If left unchanged from the prior name, it may be close to impossible to reach the destination that you need to get to.

There are three different scenarios that you may have come into that would be cause for a need to change your name on your passport.

The first scenario is if you received your passport less than a year ago and since then you have had your name changed legally due to a court order or you got married. If this is the case, then you should mail in your current valid US Passport, the (DS-5504) form, which is the actual application for any sort of changes to a passport whether it be a name change or some form of data correction or a limited passport book used for replacement. You will also need the original or certified copy of your marriage license or certificate or the government issued document that shows evidence of any court order with a legal name change under either state or federal law. It may be required that you submit one recent color photo.

The great thing about a simple name change within the last year is that is free of charge unless you require the expedited service. Please use a traceable form of mailing and use a mailing packaging that is of suitable size and provides adequate protection for the documents inside.

When it comes to the photo requirements, they must be printed on photo quality paper and be 2 x 2 inches, or 51mm x 51mm in size. It must have been taken in the last 6 months taken in plain view without any sort of obscurities that would prevent your identification. You should wear your normal daily clothes along with any needed hearing aids, glasses etc. Hats are not permissible unless it is for religious purposes. Regardless though, the entire face must be visible and there may be no shadows casted on top of your face, for whatever reason.

The second scenario is if your passport was issued more than 1 year ago and since then you have had your name changed legally due to a court order or you got married. If this is the case, then you must mail in your current valid US Passport, the completed form (DS-82 as opposed to DS-5504) which is the actual application for a passport. You should NOT use DS-5504. You will still need the original or certified copy of your marriage license or certificate or the government issued document that shows evidence of any court order with a legal name change under either state or federal law. It may be required that you submit one recent color photo if you need to update the photo on file.

You are for the most part applying for a brand new passport. Due to the fact that you are filling out for DS-82, you must be pay the renewal fee involved with getting a new passport which is $140 for the passport and card, $110 for just the passport book, and $30 for just the passport card. Again, please ensure that you use a traceable form of delivery.


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.


Passport Fees

You want to travel abroad. Maybe your company is sending you to close out a deal overseas; maybe you want to do some sightseeing on a personal vacation; or perhaps you want to take the family on a little adventure to Canada to see the unspoiled wildlife, or drive down to Mexico to escape the winter cold.

Whatever your reasons for traveling internationally, you’ve probably started doing a little research on obtaining you U.S. Passport. You’ve looked at what requirements you need to meet, what information you need, and where in your area you can go to apply for a passport. You know what you need to do to go in, fill out your U.S. Passport application, and present the necessary paperwork so you can get out without so much as a mild headache.

What many people don’t know is how much it actually costs to get a U.S. Passport.

When it comes to a standard U.S. Passport (the DS-11 version), the price will depend on which “package” you are getting. If you do not currently have a passport, or are aplying for the very first time, you have a few options.

 Adults Getting A Passport For The First Time

The typical U.S. Passport Book – the one you usually see people presenting at airports to get stamped – are $110 with a first-time processing fee of $25. There is also the option of getting a U.S. Passport Card, which is $30 with a $25 processing fee. The most popular option (in order to have identification backup in case you lose one or the other) is to get both the U.S. Passport Book, as well as the card. This will cost $140 with a one-time processing fee of $25. Most people will tell you that the last option just makes more sense, because you will have two forms of identification while traveling.

 Renewing A Passport

 If you are renewing your U.S. Passport, you won’t have to present as much paperwork (usually, mailing in your old passport with the renewal request will suffice), and you won’t have to pay as much as first-time applicants. To renew your U.S. Passport Book, it costs $110. For the Card, $30. For both the U.S. Passport Book and Card, it will cost $140. The processing fee that applies to first-time applicants is waived in this case.

Children/People Under 16 Years Of Age

 Not everyone who travels is an adult. Students taking trips abroad, and children going on family vacations or visition people internationally also need passports.

For a person 16 years old and younger, the fees for getting a U.S. Passport are slightly less than listed above, but they come with the same options. For someone in this age group, a U.S. Passport Book will cost $80 plus a one-time processing fee of $25. For the card by itself, the cost is $15 plus the $25 fee for processing. As with the listing for adults, there is an option (again, this is the one that’s recommended) for both the U.S. Passport Book and the Card. This will run for $95 plus the $25 processing fee. These charges and fees also apply to minors who are renewing their U.S. Passports.

 Optional Passport Services

 In addition to getting a U.S. Passport, there are other services you can get, and which have very nominal fees attached to them.

Overnight Delivery – This makes certain that once your application has been processed and your U.S. Passport is ready to be shipped, it will be overnighted to your address. The cost for this service is $12.72.

Expedited Service  - A typical U.S. Passport application takes roughly 6-8 weeks to process, once the application leaves your hands. Getting expedited or “rushed” serivce will cut down this waiting time to 2-3 weeks, and is well worth the $60 fee to get your travel plans arranged.

File Search – This is a rarely used service, but if you need to verify a previous U.S. Passport or consular birth in another country, a written request will get you the information you seek. This service costs $150 per request, and will be waived in the case of your U.S. Passport getting lost or stolen.

Adding Pages – If you are a globe-hopping, jetsetting traveler, you might find the pages of your U.S. Passport filling up with stamps from various countries. If you anticipate this happening to you, you can have additional pages included in your passport for $82.

Name Changes/Informational Errors

 You may find that throughout your globetrotting days that your name may legally change due to divorce or marriage, or perhaps getting a degree that adds some extra letters onto your name. Also, it should be noted that even the U.S. Bureau of Cunsular Affairs is not infallible. Sometimes clerical errors do occur when printing one’s name, address, or date of birth on a passport. If any of the situations in this section should occur, you can have your U.S. Passport information updated, free of charge.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what it costs to get a U.S. Passport, you should have no problem planning for your next big trip abroad!


Getting a Passport

The first step involved in getting a passport  is to gather all the necessary items that you need to process the request. The very first thing that you need to do is fill out the form DS-11. This is the actual application for the US Passport and should be completed online or by hand. You won’t be able to sign the application until it is allowed by an Acceptance Agent; you must also tell them your social security number. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your requests will be delayed and even denied.

Once the DS-11 form has been completely filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States. This will include previously used passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship.

The above are considered the primary evidence that you are eligible. If you do not have these then there are a whole host of other things that you can use as evidence to prove that you are eligible for receiving a passport. Just call ahead and ask what you can use to prove this, and the chances are pretty good that you will have at least one of the listed items that can be used (there are roughly 10). Unfortunately voter’s registration cards, army discharge papers and your social security card are not acceptable forms of identification.

If you are completing your passport in person, you must bring an acceptable form of identification such as a previously used passport, certificate of naturalization, a valid driver’s license, and last but not least a current Government or Military ID.

When arriving, bring a photocopy of the front and back of each ID document that you are providing – It must be using standard 8+1/2 x 11 paper showing both the front and back of each card or document. Ensure that you do not place both the front and back on the same side of the paper. Each card side must be on a separate piece of paper, whether that be a different sheet, or the back-side of one sheet. It is permissible to increase the size of a photocopy, but never to decrease.

If you are disabled and someone is providing your information on your behalf, they must present their ID when they appear also.

Once all the information has been filled out, all copies made, the fee must be paid. The typical fees for a passport are $110 for the application and $25 for the execution. If you wish to also get a card along with the book, expect to pay $140 + $25. For just the card, it is $30 + $25.Renewals are the same prices minus the execution fee of $25.

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.

If you do need the passport urgently, the cost for expedited service is $60, so it would be wise to try and think ahead of time when you need to get your passport for the first time or have it renewed.