With security growing tighter at airports and ports of entry all over the world, having a passport is the best way to travel quickly and confidently, no matter where you plan on going. Passports are becoming a necessity where they never were before as border security increases, so if you’re planning to travel over the holidays, you will need a passport, especially if you plan to leave the country. Many people aren’t sure what they need to attain a passport or even where they should begin, but in reality, it is not as difficult or as expensive as they might think.
The first step in getting a passport is to fill out a passport application. Your local post office may have this application, or you can go to an Acceptance Facility Agency to complete the process (which is necessary if this is your first passport). You will need two 2×2 recent photos of yourself, plus your birth certificate, a valid driver’s license, and a method of payment. In most cases, you must sign your form at the office and in front of an agent for it to be valid. Once all of your papers are accepted, you can make your payment. They will vary from office to office depending on where you live, but for an adult passport being purchased in the U.S., you can expect to pay up to one hundred dollars to both the agency and for the passport itself.
Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to obtain your passport. The process can take anywhere from four to eight weeks, depending on the turnaround time of the office where you applied. There is nothing worse than planning a vacation overseas and then discovering that you don’t have the proper documentation to travel, so make sure that you have all the time and legal documents that you need to obtain a passport long before you leave.