Knowing What Documentation Is Necessary to Travel

One could get caught up in the planning their vacation–the when, where, with who and why–is just the beginning of all the fun. But many forget to learn what documentation is required to visit a particular destination. And, once they do learn that a passport might be needed to travel to that place, they don’t know how to apply for one.

Don’t be one of those people who are at the airport and denied access to boarding their flight for lack of the proper documentation.

A passport, while easy to attain, does cost the applicant some dollars and, if traveling with family, those dollars can add up. Even an infant and/or toddler needs to have a passport to travel.

The U.S. Department of State is expecting an increase in passport applications through 2018, so don’t get caught short. Back in 2007 when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) mandated that Americans traveling to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico have a passport, they are now expiring, causing many renewals and slower processing times.

Coupled with the fact that there is a freeze on non-essential federal workers to further burden wait times for receiving their renewed or new passport.

Renewals can be done by mail and/or in person. However, to renew by mail, the applicant must meet certain requirements.

Photos are more easily accessible at nearby chain stores such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, to name a few, but make sure to check that the photo isn’t too dark, too light or of poor quality. Eyeglasses should be removed and the applicant should not be wearing any hat or head gear.

Also, one should complete the application properly, making sure to answer all questions that require a response and to make sure that the proper citizenship identification is provided.

A little planning goes a long way, so be sure to understand the entry/exit requirements of the destination you’re visiting to ensure for a smooth transition.

In particular, a good source of reference is found at And, to learn more about the WHTI, go to

If the applicant travels frequently, it would be in their best interests to create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account. A non-refundable $100 fee is required to apply–if accepted the account is good for five years. It will even get you through security (TSA) faster!


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