When traveling abroad you must have the proper documentation to travel in and out of the country. Depending on your destination will depend on what documentation you need. If you are traveling within the United States, the Virgin Islands, Swains Island, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, or the US territories of American Samoa and are an American there is no reason to have to carry a passport. However, if you are traveling outside the US to a foreign country en route to your US destination you will be required to carry a passport.
How you travel will also affect whether or not you will need a passport. If you are traveling by ground or sea to Mexico or Canada you will not be required to carry a passport, but you will need to have another type of proof of identity such as a trusted traveler program card, an enhanced driver’s license, or a passport card. I you are traveling to Mexico or Canada by air, however, you will be required to carry a passport.
For more information on passports and whether or not you may need to obtain a passport for your trip visit the U.S Department of State Passport Guide Page.
Expedited Passport Services
If your travels are quickly approaching and you need to obtain a passport in a speedy amount of time, or to replace a lost or stolen passport or to renew a passport then you can apply for expedited services from companies such as 4DMV.com’s sponsor, Fastport Passport is authorized by the US Department of State and is permitted to expedite passports as rapidly as 24 hours provided the applicant is traveling within 14 days.
Recent Rule Changes for U.S Land or Sea Enter
If you are a US citizen that has embarked on a trip to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, or Mexico by land or sea you will need to have a single acceptable document which you will need to present in order to re-enter the states. The document can be a trusted traveler program card, an EDL, a passport card or a passport that confirms your identity and citizenship.
If you are a traveler that is younger than 16 or traveling with a minor younger than 16 you the child’s birth certificate, naturalization certificate or citizenship card.
For children ages 16 to 18 who are US citizens and traveling with a sports group school, religious group, school group or social organization they will also be allowed to provide their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship if they are accompanied by an adult.
To view a complete list of acceptable documents that are acceptable forms of identification to re-enter the country via land or sea visit: You will now access U.S.Customs and Border Protection.
If you travels are on a cruise ship that you depart and return at the same U.S. port you do not have to comply with the new rules. You will need to comply with the old rules, however, and that is providing two documents such as your birth certificate and your valid driver’s license or ID card. Remember though, if you are entering foreign countries on your cruise you may need a passport to enter the country.
If you are a U.S citizen that is traveling on small boats or ferries you must abide by the new regulations.
How to Apply For Your Passport
Where to Go
If you are applying for your passport for the first time you will be required to apply in person at one of the many locations provided in the state of Illinois. You will find a number of local locations that include your clerk of court offices, public libraries, post offices or your regional passport agency.
When you need expedited services because your travels will begin within 14 days, you should apply at your regional passport agencies. You will need to schedule an appointment in advance by calling the automated system at: 877-487-2778.
- You will also need to apply in person if:
- You are 15 years of age or younger
- You were issued your first US passport when you were 15 or younger
- You lost, damaged or had your current passport stolen
- Your current passport is 15 years or older
- You have recently changed your name and you current passport has your old name on it and you cannot provide legal documentation of the name change
- What you will need to bring with you when applying for your new passport:
When you apply for your new passport, you will need to bring with you the following documentation and fees:
- Application for a U.S. Passport Form DS-11 which will include your Social Security number. You may fill out the form prior to submitting it at your passport location, however, do not sign the form until you are in the presence of an examiner. Your can download the form for free at U.S.Passport Form DS-11.
- Proof that you are a citizen of the United States. This can be in the form of your certified U.S. birth certificate, undamaged U.S. passport, Certificate of Citizenship, Naturalization Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Proof that you are who you are! This means some form of formal documentation that proves your identity such as a valid driver’s license, your undamaged US passport, your current military ID, current government ID or your Naturalization Certificate. If you lack any o these documents, then you will be required to proceed through secondary means which can be found at Secondary Evidence of U.S.Citizenship.
- Two color passport photos of yourself that have been snapped within the last six months and meet the requirements that can be found at Photo requirements.
- You will also be responsible for paying the application fee to obtain your new passport which will be $110 for an adult passport plus an execution fee of $25 or $80 if you are 15 years or younger plus the executions fee of $25.
- The payment for the passport card (and book) will be $140 if you are an adult applicant plus the execution fee of $25 and $95 if you are 15 years or younger plus the execution fee of $25.
Processing Times and Expedited Services
You will find that depending on the time of year in which you apply for your passport will depend on the length of time that you will have to wait to receive your passport. To obtain a general idea of the time wait, you can visit the state’s passport site at: Processing Times.
Passports for Traveling With Minors
If you are traveling with anyone younger than 18 years of age, this includes infants and toddlers each traveler must have their own passport.
To obtain a passport for those that are 25 years of age or younger or if you are between the ages of 16 and 17 years you can visit: Minor Under Age 16.
Changing Your Name or Correcting an Error
If you have recently changed your name or there is a mistake on your passport in regards to how you name appears, then it will be necessary to follow the instructions that are provided to you in the State Department’s Guide. The guide will provide you with important information such as how to correct your current passport information. You can find the state’s webpage at Change or Correct Passport.