Posts Tagged ‘US passport’

The Conundrum That Surrounds The Native Iroquois And Their Issued Passports

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Iroquois Passport

Once again, passports are the subject of the news. This time, it involves an entire lacrosse team. Here’s the story: The top-ranked Iroquois lacrosse team were traveling to England in order to participate in the World Championships. However, when they were leaving, they were denied because of their Iroquois passports.

With members from both Canada and the United States, this team is comprised of Iroquois Native Americans who are part of the Iroquois Nation, which has been issuing their own passports to its members that show their unique Iroquois heritage. However, without an American or Canadian passport, they aren’t being granted entrance into the United Kingdom, which is questioning the validity and legitimacy of such passports. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a one-time exception waiver for the team, so they could regain entrance into the United States after their tournament overseas. The UK did not accept this waiver.

There are a couple different opinions on the whole situation. One side attests that if they’re a citizen of the United States or Canada, as some of them are, they should be required to get their respective country’s passports just like everyone else. They feel that this team should not be an exception to the rule. Increasingly more countries are turning down these passports because they don’t feature the anti-fraud and anti-identity theft features that American passports feature, and this in itself poses a National Security risk as well as a personal risk for the members of the team.

The other side of the argument feels that the Iroquois have been issuing their own passports and traveling on them without any sort of problem in the past. But in the face of recent terrorist attacks and scares, the measures have been tightened, resulting in the current conundrum. The Iroquois Nation is backed by people who claim that it’s silly to regard some of the top athletes in the world as potential National Security threats.

And yet another side of the argument claims that this is just another attack on the Native American identity. They feel that the Iroquois, ironically enough the creators of the game of lacrosse, are being taken for granted and subjected to this discrepancy because of their native heritage, and that forcing them to get a passport quick is demeaning to the culture. This is where the coach of the team stands. He feels that they are being trapped in a corner where they either must abandon their Native identity or be forced to forfeit a chance at the National Championship title for a sport they themselves invented a thousand years ago.

The laws surrounding passports are surprisingly vague when it comes to issues like this. For example, a recent story in the news talks about how 4,500 sex criminals were issued passports in order to travel abroad. In these sort of cases, it seems difficult to create and enforce laws to restrict or allow international travel. Is being forced to get a passport quick an unfair measure? Has this been turned into an unnecessary political excuse to butt international heads? How do you feel about this issue? Should the once-accepted passports of the Iroquois Nation be turned down in order to further prevent National Security risks?

Passports And Sex Offenders – Should They Be Allowed To Get Them?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Passports have become increasingly prominent in the news, especially regarding those who can and cannot receive passports. Should those convicted of particular crimes be prevented from traveling out of the country? One of the leading examples of this case is the recent issuance of US passports to sex offenders. In the year 2008, of the 16 million passports issued, 4,500 were given to sex offenders. How do you feel about sex offenders getting a United States of America fast passport?

First, it’s important to understand the definition of, “sex offender.” This is an incredibly broad term that covers many different degrees and types of criminal activity. Everything from the guy who relieved himself outside of a bar caught for indecent exposure to convicted pedophiles and rapists is covered by this phrase. The United States Department of State grants passports to any of these cases, except for those specifically guitly of sex tourism. While it seems unfair to tag the indecent exposure case with the same title as the cases involving sexual abuse of children, some say it’s difficult to draw the line.

Many people feel differently about this issue. Some people feel that if criminals want to leave the country, let them. If they get caught oversees committing a crime, then let them learn their lesson in another country where punishments may be harsher and longer. Whether it’s in a country that has similar legal procedures to ours or whether it’s a less developed country where people are dying everyday in the jails, they’ve earned their punishment.

Another viewpoint is this: if a criminal is caught, convicted, and put in jail for a certain amount of time, they have paid their debt to society once they are released. Whether it’s a guy who spent a night in jail for dropping his trousers on the side of the road or someone who has spent fifty years behind bars for a sex crime, the people behind this view believe that they shouldn’t be further ostracized from their rights as American citizens by being denied passports. They believe that while a criminal conviction can potentially keep them from getting a job or a place to live, they shouldn’t be denied access to the world.

One important detail to note is that there are very few restrictions on those who can get passports. For one, those lacking the proper United States passport requirements can’t, those who owe a certain amount of child support money can’t, and drug traffickers, sex tourists, and the imprisoned can’t. However, this excludes those who have been released from jail, and this group of people can possibly include murderers, thieves, and other perpetrators.

How do you feel about ex-cons traveling internationally? Whether you believe stricter rules need to be placed concerning passports, or if you believe that the rules need to be loosened, there is much discrepancy surrounding the issue. How do you feel about the current United States passport requirements? Should anyone be allowed to at least apply for a United States of America passport?

An Expedited Passport Allows For Quick Travel

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

When an individual has last-minute travel plans, there is often not enough time to obtain a passport. It takes approximately four to size weeks for the government to process the application. This is not convenient for someone who has travel plans in the very near future. If these individuals are willing to pay some extra money rather than cancel their travel plans, they can have a 24hr passport.

The government rush passport service will cost $60 in addition to the $100 standard processing fee for an adult book. Applicants who travel to a Passport Agency to submit their paperwork may pay these fees via check, money order, check/debit card, credit card, or bank draft. Those who take their information to a local post office should confirm acceptable payment methods.

Money order and check are the only accepted forms of payment for applications submitted via the mail. The payment, supporting documents, and application should be packaged in a durable envelope and sent via overnight delivery. Applicants are advised to use a traceable mailing service, such as UPS or FedEx, be used in order to track the package, if necessary. Applicants should also request overnight delivery from the agency in order to speed up the process.

If the traveler already has a passport that needs to be renewed, or if amendments need to be made, the rush service may also be used. Travelers who need more blank pages added to their passports or those who have a name change will qualify for this rush processing. The appropriate form to include in the package, as well as information regarding additional documentation required, can be found on the government Web site.

The government processing time for an expedited passport is currently approximately two to three weeks. The reason this is so long is that the government accounts for the time to receive the application, five days for processing documents, and time for sending the passport in the mail to the applicant. Applicants may go online to the government site in order to check the status of their applications throughout the process.

Last minute travelers will often find this three-week timeframe unacceptable and there is another alternative. They can use a private company that provides rush processing in as little as 24 hours. The same paperwork and supporting documents will be required. These will be submitted to the private company who will then work with the government agency to speed up the process.

The cost to get a passport within 24 hours is approximately $300. If the applicant can wait about one week, the cost drops substantially to about $149. Though this may seem like a lot of money to pay, it may be necessary in the case of unplanned travel. These private companies offer additional services, like loss protection, for a small added fee.

How To Get A New Passport For International Travel

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

International travel is one of the most exciting experiences someone can have, but it requires a great deal of advance planning. One of the most important things to do before traveling is to apply for a passport or, if a current one is expired, get a new passport. These days, it is necessary to have a passport even to travel to Mexico and Canada, so it is a good idea for everyone to have one. It is a simple process, but it must be followed to the letter in order to be successful.

In order to apply for a first-time passport, it is necessary to apply in person. This can be done at a passport application facility, and there are several across the country. In order to complete the application, there are several pieces of paperwork and forms of ID required so the best way to expedite the process is by coming prepared.

The three most important things to have when applying for a passport are the required forms, a form of primary identification and primary evidence of US citizenship. For proof of citizenship, it is acceptable to present an expired passport or birth certificate, among other things. Primary identification could include a valid driver’s license or current military ID. Applicants should also come prepared with a photocopy of their primary identification.

There are also a few forms that must be filled out in order to apply for a new passport. These forms can be printed offline and completed prior to visiting the application facility. However, it is very important to remember not to sign the forms until asked to do so by the acceptance agent or else they will not be valid.

If someone has an expired passport and needs to renew it, they may be able to do so by mail. They must submit their expired and undamaged passport with the application. In addition, the previous passport must have been issued within the last fifteen years when the applicant was over sixteen years old and must have their current name. If it does not have the current name, the applicant must be able to document their name change.

The processing time for a passport is typically four to six weeks. It is possible to receive it in two to three weeks with expedited service for an additional charge. Those who are traveling within fourteen days should make an appointment at a passport agency. If someone has already applied for a passport, they should contact a National Passport Information Center representative seven days before their travel date.

Of course, there is a fee to apply for a passport. An adult passport costs seventy-five dollars in addition to a twenty-five dollar execution fee. A passport for a child costs sixty dollars as well as the execution fee. If a passport needs to be ordered with expedited processing, it will incur another sixty dollar fee.

The application process for getting a new passport is tedious, but it is important to follow it carefully in order to secure travel plans. One misstep in the procedure could set back the entire time line and the passport may not be available in time for travel. Follow the steps carefully and you will be able to see the world in just a few short weeks.

How To Apply For A Child Passport

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Today’s travel regulations are tighter than they have ever been and it is important to be prepared before setting out on a journey. Parents traveling with small children need to understand that child passport requirements are not the same as for an adult and make sure that they plan accordingly when applying for them. Taking a few extra steps before the trip can save a great deal of trouble on the departure day.

Many parents think that if they are traveling with a baby, they do not need to have a passport for that child, but this is completely false. Every child needs their own passport, regardless of age, and including infants. Showing up on the day of a flight without a passport for a baby will make it impossible to proceed with the trip, as the child will not be allowed to travel under any circumstances.

When obtaining a passport for the first time, the child must appear in person with both parents to begin the application process. The parents must provide all of the necessary documents and not sign anything until prompted by the acceptance agent. If one parent has sole custody of the child, they will also be required to present proof that they legally permitted to travel with the child such as a judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent.

The next step in applying for a passport for a child is presenting evidence of the child’s United States citizenship. These documents will need to be submitted with the application and will be returned with the newly issued passport. Documents that will fulfill this requirement include a certificate of citizenship or a certified birth certificate.

The parents will also be required to present evidence of their relationship to the child. This can come in the form of an adoption decree or birth certificate, among others. If the parent’s name has changed since the original document was issued, they will also have to present evidence of a legal name change. In addition, each parent will have to provide a copy of their own official ID.

The final important thing that each parent must do is provide consent for the child to be issued a United States passport. This means that they must both appear in person with the child and sign the appropriate forms in the presence of an acceptance agent. If only one parent is available to appear, they must present a notarized statement from the second parent confirming their consent.

Of course, as with any government document, there is a fee to obtain a child passport. The cost of the passport is sixty dollars with an additional twenty-five dollar execution fee.. It takes four to six weeks to receive a passport, so if it is needed sooner than that, there will be an additional sixty dollar charge for expedited processing.

The process of obtaining a child passport is complicated and it is important to follow the direction carefully and complete each step. A single mistake could mean that the entire process will need to begin from the start and that could significantly hold up travel plans. For details on each step, visit the United States Department of State.

How To Quickly Replace A Lost Or Stolen Passport

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Lost PassportWhen traveling overseas, the most important thing for someone to have on them at all times is a passport. In the event of an emergency, this is the thing that identifies someone as a United States citizen and it is impossible to travel without it. One of the most frustrating ordeals to go through when traveling is a lost or stolen passport but, in the event that it happens, it is important to know what to do.

If a passbook goes missing, the most important thing is to report it immediately. If someone tries to use a passport that is not his or her own, it could cause a serious security breech at an airport. If the document is lost in the United States, it can be reported by phone or by filling out a DS-64 form and mailing it to the Department of State. If someone happens to be out of the country when he or she loses the passbook, he or she should immediately report it to the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Losing a passbook while overseas is a significantly more complicated situation than losing it at home. One way to expedite the process is by traveling with copies of the document and keeping them in various locations such as a backpack, wallet, and suitcase. It is also advisable to get travel insurance that covers the cost of quickly replacing a lost passport.

In order to replace a passport overseas, the owner of the missing passbook must appear in person at the nearest US embassy or consulate. Many sites online provide lists of embassies in each country along with their location. However, when traveling, there is never a guarantee of Internet access so, just in case of such an emergency, a wise traveler will find all of this information before the trip and keep it with the travel documents.

Once a passport is reported as lost or missing, it is immediately invalidated and cannot be used for travel by anyone at all. If a passport is found after being reported missing, it should be submitted to the Department of State. They will cancel it and, upon request, return it to the holder. It is important to remember that a canceled passport cannot be re-validated so be sure to look everywhere before reporting it.

In order to replace a lost or stolen passport, the holder must apply for a new one in person. The individual will need all of the same forms and identification as when he or she applied for the initial passport and will also need a form regarding the incident. It will take four to six weeks to receive the new passport.

One of the most inconvenient situations to be in is losing a passport or having it stolen right before leaving for a trip. Under normal circumstances, it takes four to six weeks to obtain a replacement. Even with expedited processing, it takes two to three weeks to complete the process. Anyone who needs a passport to be replaced within two weeks should make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency.

A lost or stolen passport can be a stressful and scary situation but it does not have to be the end of the world. The important thing is to stay calm and report it to the proper authorities immediately. The Department of State or US Embassy will have the resources to get travelers back on the road as quickly as possible.

The Quickest Way To Add Passport Pages

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

When travelers are on their way out the door headed to the airport is not an ideal time to realize that new passport pages must be added to their passbooks. Anyone planning a trip requiring a passport should check the passbook to see if it needs more pages. These can be ordered and received with time left to spare before the trip, avoiding a potentially stressful situation.

Travelers who have less than two to four pages left in their passbooks are eligible to add more. People who travel regularly will know when they have reached this point but those who do not will need to dust off the passbook and take a look. If the book is filling up with stamps, it may be time to order additional sheets.

The process is relatively simple and requires only completing one government form, DS-4085, which can be found on the U.S. Department of State Web site. The form may be completed online and then printed, signed, and dated or the blank form may be printed and then completed by hand. Applicants who elect to complete the form by hand should make sure that all information supplied is legible. Anything that cannot be read by the government agents may cause a delay in processing times.

Those who do not have access to the Internet can obtain form DS-4085 from a Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility. In order to have the update made to the passbook, the completed DS-4085 form must be submitted with the current valid US passport. The addition of passport pages is free to users who opt for standard processing. The Department of State advises that applicants mail the documents using a mail service that provides confirmation of delivery.

The amount of time that is required to process these requests is between four and six weeks. Travelers who need the passbook back before that time can opt for expedited passport processing. This will provide them with the updated book within two to three weeks. The expedited service charge is $60.00 and may be paid via money order or check. The package must be labeled with the words “expedite” on the outside and the use of an overnight delivery service is recommended.

Travelers who are especially crunched for time should consider using a private company to speed the process of getting additional sheets for the passbook. These services can return the updated passbook to the traveler within two business days or less. However, getting this rush processing will cost the traveler several hundred dollars plus shipping charges, in addition to the $60.00 government expedited processing fee.

These companies will require that the applicant complete the DS-4085 form. The applicant will also need to complete a letter of authorization stipulating that the company may act on his or her behalf. In addition, proof of departure will be required if the applicant is requesting that the documents be processed in seven or fewer business days. A copy of the airline ticket, flight itinerary, or letter from an employer stating that the passport is required for business travel may serve as this proof.

The process of getting additional passport pages is not complicated, but it does require some time. It is best that a passbook holder complete and submit the DS-4085 form and passbook to the government as soon as the need for additional sheets is discovered. Expedited government processing or use of the rush service provided by a private company are alternatives that will shorten the processing time.

A Damaged Passport Must Be Replaced

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

During the rush of travel, the passport is often thrown into a carryon bag after passing through customs. These bags are frequently subject to rough handling and the contents can be jostled. A damaged passport will need to be replaced before additional international travel can occur.

A damaged passbook is an unacceptable form of documentation and should be surrendered to the government. At the time of surrender, the passbook holder will need to apply for a new passbook. The renewal process will not be relevant to these individuals because the passbook renewal instructions provided by the government state that the most recent passbook must be undamaged in order to obtain renewal.

These government guidelines were put in place for security purposes, so it is well worth it for the damaged passport holder to take some time to go through the application process, in the interest of government security. The DS-11 passport application form can be downloaded from the U.S. Department of State Web site or obtained by visiting a Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility. If getting the document online, the individual will need to print out the DS-11 application form and submit it in person. The form may be completed online and then printed or it may be printed or completed by hand in a legible manner.

The DS-11 form should not be signed until the applicant is instructed to do so at the Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. This application form and additional required documentation must be presented in person at one of these locations. The information may not be submitted by mail under any circumstances. When appearing in person, the applicant will also need to provide his or her Social Security number for verification purposes.

The additional documents required are intended to verify identity and provide evidence of United States citizenship. Identification documents include a city, county, or state-issued certified birth certificate. Individuals who were born abroad may supply a certificate of citizenship, naturalization certificate, or consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth. If none of these is available, different types of secondary identification or an identifying witness may be supplied in accordance with the guidelines on the Department of State Web site.

A photocopy of the identifying documents must also be provided and the government provides guidelines regarding the photocopying process on its Web site. If an identifying witness is used, that person must present a copy of his or her identification. These requirements are all put in place so the government can be sure that the person applying for the passbook is who he or she claims to be.

In addition to this documentation and the application, two identical color passport photos must be supplied. These are also subject to specific government guidelines, so refer to the Department of State Web site for more details. The applicant will also need to submit the current passbook application fee of $75 plus a $25 execution fee. Those who wish to obtain a passport card in addition to the passbook must pay a $95 application fee in addition to the $25 execution fee. The information will be processed by the government within four to six weeks.

Travelers who have a damaged passport should replace the document as soon as possible in order to prevent any security related issues from occurring while traveling. The passport replacement process will require the individual to submit a new application and appear in person at a Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility with this form, damaged passbook, supporting documentation, and photographs. The applicant will have a new passbook within four to six weeks of submitting the paperwork and payment.

The Many Steps in Passport Name Change

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

In order to travel beyond the borders of our country, every citizen from an infant on up to a full grown adult must acquire a passport. There are many steps to this process. Once a passport is received, at some point, it may be necessary to change a person’s name for a plethora of different reasons. Passport name change has many steps of its own that need to be followed.

Who you are and the reasons why someone has changed their name are important factors that play into getting a name change for a passport. For instance, someone who changes their name because of marriage will have a different path than a person who has a court order. The date at which a previous passport was issued also has affects in the process.

In cases of marriage or legal name change within a year of the date a passport was issued, changing the name on a passport can be done through the mail. Someone trying to change their name needs to send the government their old valid passport and a completed DS-5504 form with name change application. Documentation, like a marriage license or court order proving the name change, must also be produced.

However, if a passport was issued over a year before needing the change, new guidelines need to be followed. This can also be completed through the mail by sending the current passport and a completed DS-82 form.. Proof of the legal name change, due to marriage or court order, and two recent pictures that meet standards set by the government must be submitted. A fee will also be charged to the party.

For people who cannot produce legal documents a new set of rules and regulations apply. When documents are not present, a person must go to the agency in person. They will need to bring along their current passport with the old name and prove to officials that this was their former identity. Once in this office they will be asked to complete a DS-11 form and will have to pay for the new passport.

To prove identity in cases when no legal documentation of the name change exists, the government will require other items to document the name change. The officials at the agency will need to be provided with 3 public records with the new or assumed name. This name change must be in place for at least five years. Two recent photographs must be provided or taken while at this office.

Parents or guardians who need to change the name of a child’s passport, several rules must be followed. Both parents and the child must appear at the passport agency. A birth certificate with both parents names on it or adoption decree must be provided. Along with a DS-11 form, parents must supply their own legal documents to prove a relationship exists between children and guardian.

There are many twists and turns and special caveats that go into a successful passport name change. Each situation requires different legal documentation and fees appropriated for processing documents. All procedures center on proving identity to the government. With the proper documentation, passport name changes can occur quickly through the mail. Without documents, it becomes much harder.

How to Obtain a Passport Renewal

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Automation has caused passport renewal to be easier than ever. Passports have a long shelf life and are valid for ten years. After expiration, there are a variety of different tracks that all lead to getting a new passport. Obtaining a renewed passport can be completed in person at an agency, by mail, or even over the Internet.

For any avenue, the government will also need to be provided with a few documents before a new passport is issued. When trying to get a new passport by mail or over the Internet, the old and undamaged passport is required. This can only occur if the original passport was issued to a person who was sixteen or older when issued. The person must have the same name as appears on the original.

Passports are valid for ten years and incur a sixty dollar renewal fee if the passport was issued in the last fifteen years. After fifteen years passes by a person must reapply from scratch in order to obtain a new passport. All original fees will be charged for processing the new document. At the moment these fees can cost upwards of one hundred and twenty dollars.

Trying to get a passport renewed can be completed over the Internet. This can only occur if the address the new passport is being mailed is inside the United States or Canada. Trying to renew a passport abroad can only happen in person at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in that country. In all cases, domestic and abroad, special circumstances can affect the timeliness of receiving a passport.

In cases of emergency, the U.S. government will expediently send a new passport to someone trying to renew them. These special circumstances include a life and death situation, needing a passport immediately for travel, or to obtain a work visa if one is employed by a company in another country. Expediting this process may have addition processing fees attached.

All cases of passport renewal require a form called the DS-82 to be completed and submitted to a passport agency before a renewed passport can be sent. Revalidating a passport requires that all information be current and up to date. Address change is one reason why a passport must be renewed before the ten year period expires.

In cases of damaged passports, someone seeking renewal must personally go to the passport agency to obtain a renewed passport. They will be asked to provide the old damaged passport and other identification papers to prove identity. These documents include birth certificate, social security card, and driver’s licenses. Renewal fees, however, will remain the same as long as it’s in the time confines.

Passport renewal is an easy process that can be completed by going to a passport agency in person, by mail, or over the Internet. However, the mail and Internet method require mailing documents to the government. Passports must be renewed every fifteen years or one face’s higher costs in obtaining a new one. Expiration, address change, or damage are all causes why a passport needs to be renewed.