Do you have a passport card?

After the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiate was implemented, passport cards were designed to make it more convenient for travelers who cross the border frequently or any traveler that wants a compact way to take along their passport.

A passport card is a small wallet-sized identification card that verifies your status as a legal, U.S. citizen. It is an alternative i.d. to a traditional passport book.

Passport cards are valid for land and sea travel to and from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It may not be used for air travel into or outside the United States, a traditional U.S. passport is required.

When traveling, border officials can scan the card and access the card holder’s biographical information via an electronic chip embedded in the card. The chip in the card does not contain your personal information, it allows border officials to access the information about the cardholder stored in a secure government database.

If you’re interested in getting a passport card, talk to us – we can expedite the process for you. Contact us at info@texastower.net or call 713-874-1420 during regular business hours.

Are you aware that if you’re eligible for a U.S. passport, you can save money and get a passport card?

Passport cardA passport card costs less than a conventional passport, starting at $55 for the first card which is valid for use for ten years. Passport cards for children run around $40 and are valid for five years. Compared to the standard $135 for a traditional passport, that is a great deal!

The portability because of its wallet-size design, make the passport card practical to carry around with you. They work equally well for people who travel frequently, as well as people who don’t because of their convenient storage size and long validity making them ideal for land border crossings into Mexico, Canada, or for cruises.

The only disadvantage to a passport card is that you cannot use it for air travel. With that in mind, consider the places you could go with passport card and start planning your trip today.
If you wish to expedite the process for yourself or a family member, talk to us at 713-874-1420.

Passport Questions and Answers

Here at TexasTower.net we process a lot of passport requests. All types of requests like new passports, renewing passports, helping people handle lost or stolen passports, and a lot of other situations that fall in between those reasons. Here are some common questions about passports.

How long does it take for a first time applicant to get a passport?
It depends on the time service you request. Our standard turnaround time for processing a new passport request is 8-12 business days. If you need your passport faster, we can expedite it as fast as 24-hours and even meet you at the airport if necessary.

I’ve heard using a passport service is a scam.
We’ve heard the same. There are some bad eggs in our industry like many other industries. We work hard to make sure every client we process a passport, visa, or certified birth certificate request gets the best service. We exist to take the legwork out of getting your travel documents and have been in business for decades. The service you pay for is getting your passport or visa much faster than going through the U.S. government agency and you don’t have to make an appearance at the embassy or consulate for your travel visa. The good news is, the companies that are set up to merely scam people don’t last too long.

At what age does a baby need a passport to travel internationally?
We’ll answer that question with a question: how soon are you traveling? Even newborns need a passport if you’re traveling outside the United States. If you have a child traveling with you under 15-years of age, you’ll need to apply for a child passport.

A friend told me if my passport has less than six months before the expiration date it’s basically expired. Is that true?
Yep. If you have less than six months left, most countries won’t allow entry. If you need to renew – we can renew your passport as fast as 24-hours.

My dog chewed on my passport but it’s still 100% intact, can I use it for travel?
Probably not. The best thing to do would be send us an image and let us see it. If you need to replace a damaged passport, we can help.

Do I need to renew my passport to reflect my name change after my divorce?
You need to reapply for a passport – contact us and we can walk you through it.

Is it possible to have two passports at the same time?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: there are some special requirements to meet to have a secondary passport. Having a travel destination between politically sensitive countries is one of the most commonly approved reasons. Second passports have a validity of 2 (two) years and many not be renewed.   Approval of the issue of a second valid passport in determined solely by the U.S. Passport Agency, based the applicant’s requirement for the passport.

If you have a question about passports we didn’t answer here, just ask us at 713-874-1420 or on Twitter  at @txtpassportvisa .

5 (1)What international destination is exotic, budget-friendly, and only 90 miles away from the U.S. coast? If you answered Havana, Cuba – you’re absolutely correct.

1. Explore Old Havana on Foot
The charming, old cobblestone streets of Old Havana are like taking a trip back in time. They are best explored on foot. Take your most comfortable shoes and plan on at least a full afternoon to see the stores and architecture. Street vendors abound with snacks to eat on the go.

2. There’s Always a Show to See
Love live music? Love art and dance? You’re in the right place! The Buena Vista Social Club is a must-see. Another great place to take in entertainment and drinks for under $50 is Cafe Taberna. Of course no visit to Havana would be complete without hitting up the famous Tropicana.

3. FAC – Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory)
This is a newer site to see in Havana but it’s a fantastic venue. This is a very unique walking art gallery that has not only visual art, but also multi-media performances as well as live music, film, and dance. When you get there, you will be given a “passport” and use it to purchase drinks and edibles. Then when you’re ready to leave, your FAC Passport will be your exit pass to leave the Art Factory and you settle up your bill for the evening of fun.

4. Brewery at the Port of Havana
Love craft beers? You’ll find some delightful brews here. There are also souvenir shops to scoop up deals on everything from t-shirts to hats and more.

5. Walk the Malecón, the World’s Largest Sofa
Along the ocean boulevard, is the Malecón. This is where locals gather to fish, sip rum, listen to music and otherwise socialize. There are also vendors with snacks. This area is usually crowded but safe for tourists, day or night.

Cuba has not been open for tourism from the United States for very long, if you want to experience Cuba as it’s building it’s tourism industry, now is the time to go. After you make your travel plans, talk to us about getting your passport and visa.

ime Add headingIf someone asked you right now if your passport was expired, do you know for sure? Remember if it’s got six months or less to go before the expiration date, just call it expired. The huge majority of countries require at least six months of time left after the completion date of your departure from the country. So, time to renew that passport.

When you want to renew your passport, you have two main choices. You can go through the Passport Agency which can take four to seven weeks on the average or you can outsource the task to a passport and visa company. There is a small service fee attached, but doing the legwork to get a passport renewal won’t be on you.

The following is an overview of how to renew your passport.
First make sure you meet the minimum requirements to renew your passport.

passport renewal
Make sure you meet the minimum requirements for passport renewal!

Then you will need to get some paperwork together. We have a handy checklist to help you with that task. Click to view.
Renew Your Passport - Texas Tower 24 Hour Passport and Visa.clipular

We offer real-time tracking and above all, you’ll always talk to a human when you go through Texas Tower Passport and Visa. We don’t rely on automated systems to handle our clients. We will work with you from start to finish to make sure your passport renewal goes fast and easy.

Common TravelLike any other industry, you have to be aware of scams. Here is an overview of some of the most common travel scams and how to avoid being scammed.

Scam Offer: Travel Deal that is deeply discounted to pennies on the dollar
Many deals are legit, however this particular scam won’t give you time to think about it and will expire in say 10-12 hours, so you better act fast. Read the fine print and make sure the travel restrictions to take advantage of the deal aren’t ridiculous like limited travel times, limited destinations or hidden fees.

Scam Offer: You sit through a sales pitch, real estate offer for “free” travel
This one isn’t as common, but still occurs. You get a postcard or email to take advantage of a no-strings tour or presentation and at the end of this pitch, you will get some free travel vouchers. Generally the travel vouchers won’t be free travel but mere discounts on already insanely priced travel packages. The vouchers are usually non-transferable.

Scam Offer: You rent a vacation home from someone who isn’t an owner
With the ability to post ads online, use AirBnB or Craigslist, this scam is out in full force. Basically it works like this. You run across the perfect deal on a vacation rental, you pay a down payment or other arrangement and the person doesn’t even actually own the property. When you try to get the keys or paperwork, it’s not unusual to find the scammer has already skipped town with your payment. To avoid this one, only rent through a reputable company.

Scam Offer: Free Vacation Winner!
You receive a very official looking letter in the mail that you have won a vacation in a contest you never entered (first red flag) all you have to do is call the number to redeem your vacation package. You call and find they want your credit card info to charge you for your prize and the fees on these winnings are usually huge.

Those are just a few of the most common travel scams out there. Have you been scammed?

SARAThe People’s Republic of China, or just China is sometimes confused with the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan. If you are planning to travel to China on business or as a tourist, you will need both a current passport and a travel visa to enter the country.

Passport Requirements 
You will need to have a passport that carries an expiration date 6 months beyond the date of your trip completion. You will also need to have side-by-side blank visa pages. If you need to renew your passport, we offer an expedited service and we can also help you add extra pages to your passport.  You can get more information about those passport services here.

Business and Tourist Travel Visa Requirements for People’s Republic of China
The embassy requires that the forms be typed not handwritten, be aware of this requirement. We have an easy to follow list of the paperwork you need to get together to obtain your travel visa. We can also expedite the process for you if you need it faster than the standard processing time of approximately 10 working days.

If you need to obtain your travel visa to China faster, we can assist you with that and expedite your paperwork to the embassy and get your visa back to you within 1-2 working days. Contact us to get started with your visa today.

Have any questions about traveling to the People’s Republic of China? Just call us! (713) 874-1420

 

We can make getting your passport and travel visa a breeze when you want to visit Russia, but what about the trip itself? Need some ideas for where to go, what to see, and where to stay? No worries we have some ideas for you.

Travelata.ru

Travelata makes it simple to plan your trip to Russia on one single website. This online travel agency helps you find the perfect hotel or B&B to fit your wants and needs on your visit to Russia. Over 100 cities are currently covered with more added on a regular basis as the coverage expands. The company also has more than 25 brick and mortar locations across Russia, including an office in Siberia. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Sletat

Would you rather have someone else plan your trip to Russia for you? You need Sletat. This online travel agency covers about 80% of the country, so there will be a lot of options to pick and choose to your trip. Works for iOS and Android.

Yandex

There are hundreds of stations that make up the Moscow network and getting around can feel overwhelming. A huge helper app is the Yandex app. This app has metro maps for St. Petersburg and Moscow and will help you navigate your way around. Best of all, it works offline as well as online.  Available for both iOS and Android.

Gett

Uber is a thing in Russia just like the U.S. and if you prefer to use it – great. If you’d rather go with a taxi service,  Gett will be your new best friend. You can have access to the taxis closest to you and schedule a ride. instead, and you’ll have a network of local taxis at your fingertips. Available for iOS and Android devices.

Learn Some Russian

Russian may seem overwhelming to learn, but pick up a few words to help you navigate. The Learn Russian app has over 10,000 flashcards to help you pick up useful words and phrases. Learn Russian is available for Android devices only.

 

The US State Department strongly encourages American citizens planning international travel to register with the US Embassy(s) iGhana is one of the travel visas we handle most often.
Here are some of the most common questions travelers have about the process.

How long may I stay in Ghana on a travel visa?
The current maximum stay is 30 days.

I don’t understand which what it means by type of travel visa to Ghana.
There are two types of travel visas for entry to the country. Whichever visa you choose depends on the reason for your visit. You will need to either choose a business class visa or a tourist visa.

What days can Texas Tower process my Ghana visa?
We can process your Ghana application for a travel visa Monday through Thursday. The embassy is closed on Friday.

Is the application for a Ghana visa available online.
Yes, you can access it through Texas Tower here.

Do I need to provide a passport photo with my application?
Yes you will need to provide two passport photos with your Ghana visa request.

Will I need a blank visa page for my Ghana trip?
Yes, Ghana requires that you have one blank visa page available. Talk to us if you need additional pages, as you will now need to renew your passport.

Are there any additional elements someone who does not hold a U.S. passport needs to provide for the Ghana visa request?
Non-USA passport holders must provide a copy of green card or US Visa and I-94

Will I need to include a copy of the airline schedule for my trip to Ghana?
Yes, you will need to include one copy of flight itinerary for both business and tourist travel visas.

For business trips, is a host required?
Yes, you will need to submit proof of an invitation from a host in Ghana.
A company letter on your company letterhead is also required. If you need help, we can assist you here with drafting your business letter.

Are any vaccinations required for travel to Ghana?
Yes, currently you are required to be immunized against yellow fever and cholera.

What about travel warnings for Ghana?
The U.S. State Department strongly encourages American citizens planning international travel to register with the U.S. Embassy in their destination country. This registration will automatically enroll travelers in the State Department travel warning and advisory program.

If you have any other questions – just ask us! You can contact our offices at 713-874-1420 ask us on Facebook.


Japan is a popular destination and for U.S. travelers, no visa is required for entry. Just a valid U.S. passport!

Here are some common questions about visiting Japan for the first time.

How long is the average stay for tourists in Japan? 
Most people tend to stay one to two weeks. Remember, you need 6 months beyond the expiration date of your passport when visiting Japan.

What are some of the main cities to explore?
Tokyo, of course. Kyoto, Nara, and Koya are all excellent places to immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

What is a good way to get around Japan?
Definitely, invest in a JR Pass. It will let you have unlimited train rides and that includes the bullet train anywhere around Japan.

 

 

 

 

Other than hotels what are good places to stay in?
Hostels are always great for keeping on a budget and meeting new people. AirBnB often has deals and there are guest houses you can rent

What about WiFi in Japan?
There is WiFi but finding it free is another story. Picking up a 3g hotspot device is worth the investment.

How can I renew my passport in a rush?
You can get your passport renewed quickly, start here.
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