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A Passport is a Traveler's Best Friend

Updated: May 28, 2020

How to have your passport ready for whenever the travel opportunity strikes.

Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding domestic commercial aircraft.  The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport. Until full enforcement of REAL ID begins on October 1, 2020, DHS and its component agencies, including TSA at its airport security checkpoints, will continue to accept for identification purposes all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by both compliant states as well as noncompliant states with a valid extension.

Scenario: You’re planning a trip to see the grandchildren next spring and you no longer have a driver’s license or passport.

Solution: You’re in luck, Thousands of Post Offices™ around the U.S. accept first-time or renewal passport applications for the United States Department of State. Post Offices that accept passport applications offer products and services for both first-time and renewal passport applications. Some USPS, CVS, FedEx/Kinko’s locations can take your passport photo. For more information on obtaining a passport through the USPS please visit

Scenario: You’re planning a Caribbean cruise for next year, but your passport expired.

Solution: Avoid expedited fees and ensure your passport will be processed in time by renewing your passport at least six weeks before your trip. Plan ahead so that nothing will stand in your way of watching the perfect sunset on the beach. Renewals can be made by mail or in person at some local courthouses, post offices and other government facilities.

Scenario: You found a deal on a last-minute flight to Paris, but your passport expires in 5 months.

Solution: Many countries will not let you through customs if your passport expires in less than six months. Your Travel Advisor can assist you with expedited passport and visa processing without the need for in-person appointments. Say bonjour to that! To get a new passport application processed within 2–3 weeks, submit your application at a passport acceptance Post Office and pay for expedited processing and 1–2 day delivery service for faster return shipping.

Leaving Within 2 Weeks or Less: If you are traveling within 2 weeks or need a foreign visa within 30 days, you must apply at a Department of State passport agency. You can make an appointment online or call 1-877-487-2778 (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY).

Scenario: You’re traveling to India and you don’t know if you’ll need a visa.

Solution: Visa requirements depend on country, length of travel and the reason for your visit. Most short-term visits to countries in the Caribbean and Europe do not currently require a visa, however countries further from home, such as India, might. Have no fear, your Travel Advisor can help with determining whether or not you’ll need a visa as well as assist with the processing.

Scenario: You’re cruising round-trip from Seattle to Alaska but you don’t have a passport.

Solution: You may be able to circumvent passport requirements when traveling on closed-loop cruises departing from and returning to the same U.S. city. However, Cruise Planners always recommends travelers carry a passport when visiting international destinations for identification and emergency purposes. Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship (birth certificate) and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens. Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.

Travel Advisors provide travelers with an easy way to process passports and documents accurately and swiftly. Wherever and whenever you’re going, your Travel Advisor will help you figure out the best solution to make sure you’re ready to go!

Article Submitted by:

Kim Reynolds, Cruise Planners Travel Advisor


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