U.S. Passport: Understanding The New Rules

By: Darlene Berkel

Dual Citizenship Is Permitted

It is also possible for US citizens to hold dual citizenship, which means besides being a US citizen; the individual is also a citizen of another country. This does not prevent or cause problems when renewing the U.S. passport as the U.S. government permits individuals to hold dual citizenship.

It is the right of every U.S citizen to have a U.S. passport and it is obtainable from the U.S. Department of State. International travel is also a right that cannot be denied to any U.S. citizen. However you must have this travel document when applying for a visa to visit other countries. Furthermore, since January 23, 2007 each U.S. citizen is required to be in possession of valid travel documents to travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central as well as South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda as well as other international destinations.

Be prepared. Obtainting a passport may not happen overnight. It may take some time and you should therefore apply well in advance of your expected travel dates. Currently, the new passport rules apply only to air travel, but d from January 1, 2008 each U.S. citizen will need to have a valid U.S. passport when crossing land borders, in addition to traveling by air and sea. This change from previous travel requirements will affect all U.S. citizens who enter the U.S. from abroad.

Applying for a U.S. passport is not difficult and requires filling out the application forms in accordance with the United States Passport Application and Renewal Guide instructions.

In case of name change, a certified copy of a legal document should be furnished as also should photographs of the individual. The application can be submitted in person or be mailed along with proof of identity to an official recognized passport facility.

Within a month to forty-two days, this new travel document should arrive at the applicant's doorstep, and by paying an expedite fee it may be obtained within ten to fourteen days. To avoid difficulties and frustration, we recommend that all procedures for applying for a new passport should be followed to the letter as laid down in the U.S. Passport Application and Renewal Guide. This guide sets out who can apply, application requirements, procedures, fees, renewal terms and conditions, procedures for requesting a replacement of a lost or stolen passport, adding blank pages, how to fill application forms, where to apply, how to update after a name change, and how to proceed with urgent applications and renewals.

Renewing your passport becomes necessary and is possible when it nears its expiry date, which may be fifteen years from the date it was issued. The passport should not be damaged, and the holder should have been at least sixteen years of age when it was issued and the name should be the same as when it was issued. If the passport is damaged in any way, or the holder was younger than 15 years when it was issued or has had a name change, then an application should me made for a new passport.

U.S. citizens residing abroad, except for those who are living in Canada, will need to go the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for renewal of their passports. For those living in Canada, a DS-82 Application for Passport by Mail renewal application to the address indicated on the form along with payment in US dollars should be enough. Travelers must check and check again to make sure that their passports and other travel documents have not been damaged or tampered with in any way. The consequnces can be severe. You may be liable to prosection and the document itself may be invalidated immediately. In case it has been mutilated or altered, the individual must apply in person and not through mail.

If you are renewing your passport, be sure to fill out the application form correctly. The form must also be dated and signed. Finally, don't forget to attach your current travel document. Following these tips closely will reduce the chance of a delay in processing your documents. A sixty-seven dollar fee and expediting fee, should also be included if it is required urgently.

Above all, if the slow-turning wheels of bureaucracy threaten to dampen your travel plans, remember that these new passport rules are here to protect everyone from the unfortunate realities of today's world. They are here to protectScience Articles, not hurt you!

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