If you’re unsure which service you need, here is a fast answer for you.

Already have a passport? If you can answer “yes to all these questions, then you can renew – otherwise, you’ll probably have to reapply for a new passport.
passport-renewal-requirements

Here is all you need to do to renew your passport:

If the above does not apply to your current situation. You might need to apply for a new passport instead of renewing. If you can answer “yes” to all these questions – you need a new passport.
new-passport-requirements

Here is all you need to do to get your new passport, there are three basic steps:

Step 1 – Documents you will need Where to Get
Complete and print the passport application online at the Department of State. Do not sign. Department of State’s passport portal.
Make a copy of the unsigned DS-11 (passport form) This will be included with your Texas Tower order
Include 2 passport quality photos. We recommend that you have these pictures taken by a facility
familiar with passport photo requirements such as Walgreens, CVS, or Kinko’s
Proof of U.S. citizenship One of the following :
Original U.S. issued birth certificate

Original U.S. Naturalization Document

An expired U.S. passport that was issued for 10 years

Authorization for Texas Tower to act on your behalf . . Please place one inside the sealed envelope and leave one out for us. Authorization letters
 
Step 2 Visit your local post office
You will need to take the above documents to an authorized Passport Agency Deputy (also known as a local United States Post Office.
Most require appointments and do not accept walk-ins.
You can find a complete list of agencies athttp://iafdb.travel.state.gov
Passport Agency Deputy is required to charge an execution fee of $25.00 and should be paid separately from the Passport Agency fees. Execution fee $25
The Passport Agency Deputy will collect all of the above documents in step 1, witness you
signing your passport application and place into an envelope that will be sealed by the
Deputy.
Do not open this envelope once sealed as it will void your application.
Get your sealed envelope back from the Passport Agency Deputy Inform the clerk you will forward the sealed envelope to a service in Houston for processing.

 

Step 3 Almost done!
Make sure you have the following documents: Sealed envelope
Texas Tower order form
Copy of your DS-11 form you made in step 1
Authorization form
Mail to Texas Tower Texas Tower Passports & Visas
2020 Montrose Blvd. Suite 400
Houston, TX 77006
Phone (713) 874-1420

We can expedite either type of passport application as fast as 24-hours. If you’re unsure which service you need, just call our offices at (713) 874-1420 or email us at info@texastower.net and one of our staff members will be happy to help you.

 

passport service in houston texas
Before a trip overseas, one of the things you don’t have to do is spend time renewing your passport. Using a passport expediting service, you simply pay a fee and let the agency do the work for you.

Going through the Passport Office or Post Office for renewing your passport can average 4-8 weeks.

Utilizing a passport service like Texas Tower will lower the time to 1-12 days and if you need to expedite service, they can turn around your passport renewal in 24 hours.

Issues Won’t Stop the Process
Another difference in how your paperwork is handled. If there are any issues with your paperwork, the passport agency will deny your application and return your paperwork. From there, you will have to start over from square one. Texas Tower  will work with you to quickly resolve any issues.

Isn’t it expensive to use an outside service?
Not really. There are fees on top of the existing government fees for this service, but our company works for you, one-on-one, to get your passport and travel docs. It saves a lot of time , and isn’t your time worth it? Our passport pages have the fees listed for each type of service to keep the process as transparent as possible. Just choose the type of passport service you need and you can see the total cost.

The process for getting your passport online is simple: 
1-Fill out your paperwork for the type of service you want.
2- Send to Texas Tower with your completed order form.
3-Receive your new passport!

You have plenty to do before you go on an international trip, gathering paperwork and waiting for your passport renewal doesn’t have to be one of those tasks.

tanzaniavisaeasy

Tanzania is one of the legendary African travel destinations. You can visit Zanzibar, see the Serengeti, visit Mt. Kilimanjaro, white sand beaches, and Olduvai Gorge, also known as the “Cradle of Humankind.”

 It also has more land devoted to game reserves and national parks than any other wildlife destination in the world.


The giraffe is the national animal. "Giraffes Arusha Tanzania" by Geir Kiste - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The giraffe is the national animal. “Giraffes Arusha Tanzania” by Geir Kiste – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Tanzania Travel Visa Specifics
United States citizens will need to present a travel visa for either business or tourism purposes. For either business or tourism the maximum stay is 30 days. A yellow fever vaccination isn’t required unless you’re entering from a known yellow fever country. However, the CDC does recommend getting vaccinated against malaria, yellow fever, and Hepatitis A as water and some food sources can be contaminated.

Need Help Getting Your Tanzania Visa?
We can expedite your Tanzania travel visa process and save you the legwork going to the consulate. This easy to follow process will tell you what paperwork you need and how to get the process started. Get started here : Tanzania Visa.

How to Get Your Ghana Visa Fast! (1)
The Republic of Ghana attracts tourists because it offers so much to see and do in a stable country.

Rich in history and natural resources with breathtaking beaches and interesting geological formations such as the lake formed by a meteor impact crater, Lake Bosumtwi.

Lake Bosumtwi
Lake Bosumtwi -source Wikipedia.org

If you are a United States citizen, you will need to have a travel visa to enter Ghana for either business or tourism purposes. We can expedite and handle the processing of your paperwork for you, saving you a trip to the consulate. Get your Ghana visa here. 

Passport Requirements for Ghana
You will need your physical passport with 6 months validity beyond trip completion and one blank visa page.

Any Additional Requirements for Business Travel to Ghana?
Yes, An invitation from a host in Ghana is now required.

Immunizations for Ghana
By law, visitors to Ghana must have a written proof of vaccination against yellow fever. It is a disease carried by mosquitoes and prevalent in the country. The CDC also recommends that you should be vaccinated against typhoid, hepatitis A, and diphtheria. Also discuss with your physician receiving anti-malaria medication that will guard against the particular strains of malaria in this country. Ghana has several resident strains of the disease including a chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria.

What About Money in Ghana?
The currency used is the Ghana Cedi (GH₵ ). The Ghana Cedi equals 10,000 old cedis (the old currency discontinued in 2007 when the current change was made). It is important to carefully note if you’re looking at GH₵ or simply cedi pricing. Just ask the merchant if the price is new or old cedis before you buy. Some hotels accept USD but not many, it is very easy to exchange euros and dollars for GH₵.

If you have any questions about getting your travel documents to Ghana, contact us today.

Happy first day of Summer!
One thing we see during the summer months is an increase in new high school grads seeking copies of their birth certificate for college. If you don’t have yours. Now is a good time to order and get your personal paperwork ready to go for college in the Fall!

Sometimes we only see our best customers once
Personal paperwork isn’t something you think about on a daily basis, there are times you must be able to produce proof of your birth and identity. That’s where having a certified copy of your birth certificate comes in handy. It is not a bad idea to have extra certified copies of your personal papers and put them in a safety deposit box in case there is a loss of your home through fire or an act of nature.  Here are the seven most common reasons people need to produce a copy of a certified birth certificate.

Travel Documents – When obtaining a passport or travel visa, a certified copy of your birth certificate may be required.

Driver’s License– not all states require this, contact your local agency to find out for sure.

School Registration – when registering for school at any age, a birth certificate is commonly requested.

Marriage License – find out the laws in your state, but many states require a certified copy of a birth certificate to issue a marriage license.

Sports Participation – this is primarily required in registration for youth sports, but you will usually need to show a copy of the birth certificate for your child to participate.

Social Security Card – if you need to acquire or change your name on your Social Security card, you may need to furnish a certified birth certificate copy as well as a secondary form of identification.

Don’t get caught without a certified copy of your birth certificate – get started here at United States Birth Certificate.

If you’ve done it, you know traveling with kids can be a real character builder. Babies don’t really care that you’re in first class or coach if the baby is unhappy for any reason, he or she is going to scream.

Ditto for your ever-honest 4-year-old traveling companion. We were told a story of a child causing a huge panic on a transatlantic flight when he saw the reddish sunset glinting off the wing of the plane out of his window, and announced very loudly the plane was on fire!
His parents said the stink-eye they received from the both the airline staff and the passengers was pretty unnerving for the rest of the flight. Their son slept through the rest of the flight never fully realizing the panic he caused.

Here are some traveling with kids stories you may have missed this week:

Tiniest Passport We Have Ever Seen
beanybaby1Could this be any cuter? As you know you need a passport for even a newborn to travel internationally. So these expectant parents created a tiny passport for their traveler who has not officially arrived yet.  They even got Beany Baby’s passport stamped. (So named because he or she is the size of a bean).
beanybabypassport
Read the whole story here at Travel and Leisure.

She’s Not Taking the Kids Afterall 
Then there are the parents that just decide traveling with little kids is way too much of a hassle. This Perth stepmother said a “paperwork bungle” prevented her from taking her two children, ages 4 and 6-years old, on a trip to Bali. So she left them at home with the front door unlocked. If you’re wondering how awesome that plan worked out, read the story here.

Excellent Tips for Traveling with Children
This article lays it out for traveling with kids AND having a great time doing it. Best takeaway : pair activities with eating. You absolutely cannot go wrong on that one.

Everyone Loves Safety Tips
And finally, staying safe ensures a great time for everyone. This is a great article about keeping your kids safe when catching rides in cabs and on public transportation. See the article here.

 

 

photocopypassportThere’s an urban legend about passports that just won’t die. The story goes that much like paper money, a passport is a federal document that you cannot photocopy without risking a federal felony.

Reality of passport copies
The U.S. Department of State recommends that travelers have a photocopy of their passport information before going to international destinations. It’s a very smart move to put your copy of your information in a completely different place in your luggage than your actual passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, it will expedite the process of getting another passport.

Don’t forget the passport photos
Another smart recommendation made by the State Department is to have two extra passport photos with you when traveling internationally. This will avoid having to get new photos retaken and get you back on schedule with your trip.

Tips for the best photocopies
Many photocopiers are set to dark and with the imaging on the passport pages, it can result in a dark, difficult-to-read photocopy. Lighten the settings until you get a clear copy of your passport’s information pages. An alternate method is the usage of a flatbed scanner. Just scan the passport and print. Use the “fine” setting on your printer to ensure you get the best copy possible.
If you scan the passport, email it to yourself and save in a folder in your mail. That way you’ll have an electronic copy to print out if you don’t have your copies available.

source: U.S. State Department

Passport Renewal Warning - Lines are Long, Here's How to Get Around ThatThe Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was implemented in 2007, so its 10th birthday is fast approaching. If you were among the many millions of people that got a passport, it’s expiring!

The Passport Bureau of Consular Affairs stated they are estimating they will processing 17 million applications this year and that number will increase to 20 million applications in 2017. What does 3 million additional passport applications mean? Longer wait for you unless you expedite your passport.

We have noticed longer lines for passports happening already and the current estimated time if you go through regular channels for your passport is 7 weeks. If you want your passport faster, here is how to do it in six fast steps.

Make sure you meet the following requirements:
– your passport is undamaged
– you were 16 years of age or older when your passport was issued
– your passport was issued in the past 15 years

1. Complete the Department of State’s application online here.
2. Take two passport-type photos. You can get them made at any CVS or Walgreens, or take them yourself, just follow the requirements carefully.
3. Sign the authorization letter for Texas Tower to act on your behalf.
4. Include your current passport (it will be returned to you with your new passport).
5. Need your passport fast? Like within 24-hours fast? Include your flight itinerary or a rush request letter. Here is a sample rush request letter.
6. Fill out and include your Texas Tower order form.

Gather all this information up, include your payment and send to us. You will have your passport renewal done, and we’ll handle the lines so you don’t have to.  Get started renewing your passport here.

Ghana Tourism- FDA Approves Vaccine to Protect Travelers from CholeraThe FDA approved the vaccine, Vaxchora, for the prevention of cholera. The vaccine may be used by adults from 18 to 64 years of age traveling to areas with known cholera outbreaks. Vaxchora is currently the only vaccination for cholera that has an FDA approval.

What is Cholera?
Cholera is a condition caused by ingesting water or food contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacteria. The symptoms happen rapidly and while most cholera cases are mild in an individual with a healthy immune system, the disease can be severe or even life-threatening when the resulting  watery diarrhea and vomiting lead to dehydration.  Prompt treatment with antibiotics and fluid replacement are implemented and the bout usually passes within a week.

Up until now, travelers have had to rely on preventative measures such as avoiding contaminated water, foods, and frequent hand washing.

When to Get Vaccinated
In order to be effective, the Vaxchora should be taken (it is an oral dose) at least 10 days before your arrival in a cholera-affected area. The Vaxchora is a live, weakened version of cholera and gives your body time to build up immunity to the stronger version you will likely encounter in Ghana and other affected areas.

Currently, a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Ghana. The CDC further recommends vaccinations for Malaria, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A. Dengue Fever is common in Ghana, but there is currently no vaccination for the illness.

If you need additional information about required paperwork for a Ghana visa, check out our page where you can get both tourist and business-class travel visas.

5 Things You Need to Know About Your Passport Right NowRemember when the  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was launched in 2007? Prior to that, United States citizens didn’t need a passport to visit Canada or Mexico, since then – definitely.

If the WHTI was a catalyst for getting your passport, as it was for many travelers, your expiration date is coming up and here are five things you need to know.

1 – Lines are long and expected to get longer. The Passport Bureau of Consular Affairs stated they are estimating they will processing 17 million applications this year and that number will increase to 20 million applications in 2017.

2-Start the renewal process in the 9th year of your passport. Since most countries will require that your passport has an expiration date that is 6 months beyond the completion of your trip, make sure you never experience a halt to your travels by renewing your passport earlier.

3 – Even if international travel isn’t on your to-do list for the near future, be prepared and have your passport ready to go. You never know when a family member may fall ill overseas or maybe your kid is studying abroad and your presence is  needed. You can’ t plan for an emergency, but you can be ready to handle it if your passport is ready to go.

4- A passport is a great backup plan. If you lose your identification, a valid passport is proof of citizenship and can save you a lot of hassle getting your I.D. reissued.

5 – If you travel frequently and cannot wait to get your new passport back to leave for your trip, there is something you can do. This is one of the best times to use a passport expediting service. You can get your passport back as fast as 24 hours.

Got a passport renewal question? Ask us as on Twitter @TxtPassportVisa or email info@texastower.net .