More than 922 million globetrotters traveled around the world in 2008. This represents an upsurge from the previous year but in 2009, that number declined by 4% to 880 million. Top destinations include the U. S., European destinations like Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, China,Germany, Australia, Turkey and Austria. For Americans traveling abroad for business or pleasure, completing a US Passport Application is critical to travel plans.
Forecasts by the World Tourism Organization predict yearly travel will escalate at the rate of 4%. Travel options have become specialized to meet traveler tastes. Business and leisure travel have become combined as well as splintered into custom tourist options. Culinary tourism, sports tourism, medical tourism, spiritual tourism, and other niches have emerged on travel menus.
Some destinations require only a passport but no visa, such as Amsterdam, while others, such as Brazil, require both. Depending on the destination, a traveler may need to obtain immunizations. The State Department as well as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control advise tourists about local medical conditions and recommend a series of shots. Malaria, for instance, appears in many countries. Consequently, the vaccination for malaria is typically recommended, particularly for non Western destinations.
Prospective tourists must apply in person to receive an initial travel document. To renew travel identification, a person can apply in person or by mail. For those under age 16 or who obtained prior travel documentation before age 16, application in person is required. This is also the case for persons who have lost, damaged or experienced theft of their travel document and for those with a travel document issued over 15 years ago.
There are a variety of forms issued by the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Passport Services, designed to meet travel requirements. For first time travelers in need of a passport book or passport card, they must complete Form DS-11 Application for a U. S. Passport. The card is less expensive than the book and is used to travel across land or by sea across U. S. borders between Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The Form DS-82 is to renew passports. People will use Form DS-5504 for name changes, correcting data, and replacing a limited travel document. As the divorce rate for married couples in the U. S. is 50%, this form can be easily used to bring travel papers current for anyone needing a spiritual retreat to eat, love and pray for better days.
The standard duration to process documents for travel is about 4-6 weeks. Adults will complete DS-11 by completing online and printing or printing and completing manually. The document should not be signed until a person appears at the processing center and signature is witnessed by an agent. The completed but not signed form, proof of U. S. Citizenship, valid identification, a copy of front and back of identification, along with two passport photos and payment should be transported to the processing agent. Details of acceptable proof and identification are listed on the form and on the website.
Reputable facilities, agents, required fees and payment methods can be obtained from the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website or via its agents. As a processing facility, the U. S. Postal Service can accept applications and supporting documents and typically provides the required 2×2 inch head shots for a small fee. The photographs can be provided instantly, on site when submitting everything.
Numerous agencies can assist travelers headed abroad with special services. The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs will provide expedited services for an additional fee of $60 and the shipping costs from mail couriers. The service is available to both first time applicants or to those renewing. Expedited service reduces processing to 2-3 weeks. All applicants can track their documentation processing through an online tracking system after 5-7 days of delivery of US Passport Application. The U. S. State Department provides travel advisories online that are specific to each country. You can even get a child passport application.