Tag Archives: how to get a passport

What You Need to Know Before Applying for Your Ghana Travel VisaPlanning a trip outside the U.S.? Did you know that makes you part of around five percent of Americans who travel internationally each year? If you’re a first-time traveler overseas, we have some tips to make it easier.

Tip #1 – You will need a passport.
Actually, all signs point to travelers within the United States needing a passport by 2020, but you’re traveling outside the United States now and you will need a passport to exit and enter the U.S. when you return. You will also need to show a certified copy of your birth certificate to obtain your passport. Outsource the task of getting a passport and spend your time planning your trip and deciding if you really need to include that 15th pair of shoes. Once you get your passport, it will be good for ten years. When you get your passport photo taken, get a few extra copies. Sometimes random countries will ask you for one at the border or you might need one for a visa (more on visas in a moment).

Tip #2 – Will You Need a Travel Visa?
Not every country requires a travel visa for entry. This is where the process gets extra fun, every country has their own rules, regulations, and process for obtaining a visa for entry. It also usually requires a trip to the consulate or embassy. This is a good task to outsource.

#3 Research Your Destination
In many countries, people in the cities do not drive at all. Public transportation, taxis, private buses, ride-sharing and other ways to get around make even renting a car unnecessary for a lot of destinations. Look up where you’re going and learn the basic customs, hot spots, places to avoid, and whether a Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended to avoid getting sick from the food or water.
Tip #4 Where To Stay
A hotel isn’t your only option. Check out couchsurfing.org or AirBnB.com to get in a local’s home and really get a feel for the place you’re visiting (maybe even make some new friends) get insider tips on cool places to go and save money.
Tip #5 Learn How the Money Works
In the present, if you don’t have a credit card with a chip, ask your card issuer for one and you’ll likely get it. Most chipped cards won’t come with outrageous fees for using it abroad. Ask your credit card issuer what their fees are to avoid surprises on your statement when you get back.

Using a credit card is excellent security against fraudulent transactions. However, not all businesses will take cards so it’s a good idea to carry a little local currency with you.

Figure out the exchange rate ahead of time so you aren’t trying to do constantly calculate prices. For example, if you are in Iceland and you know 600 Krona is roughly equal to five dollars U.S., you can have a rough and ready point of reference for figuring out how much to spend and keep on you.
Tip #6 Avoid Roaming Fees
When you board your flight, switch off your mobile data. WiFi is available pretty much everywhere, use that to upload your travel photo to Instagram instead of your phone’s data and you’ll save money.

Tip #7 Learn a Little of the Local Language
Most places you visit will have people who speak English. However, it is polite to at least learn how to say, “Do you speak English?” and a few other phrases in the local language. You might be met with grins and laughs for trying, but most people are happy to help if you try.

Tip #8 – Know the Basics to Pack
Here is a complete list of the basics you need to pack: a toothbrush, toothpaste, your passport, your phone, and your credit card. Anything else you might want can be acquired where you’re going.

You can make life easier for yourself by packing clean undies for a week if your stay is longer wash them in a sink with whatever soap is handy, and hang up to dry. Wool socks won’t heat up your feet and never gather a smell.

For clothing, dress nice and for the weather (again research your destination) and you won’t need more than two pairs of shoes for most trips.

And that’s the basics for having a great time on your first jaunt outside the U.S.

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 .

Did you know only 38% of U.S. citizens have valid passports? Did you know that number is expected to rapidly increase before the REAL ID Act goes into full effect in 2020? If you don’t have a passport, now would be a good time to get one.

Yes, you can get your passport yourself, but it can take seven to eight weeks wait time. If you want it faster, you can expedite the task to us. Once you gather the paperwork, there are only three main steps for obtaining your passport.

Determine your eligibility for a passport
First, you need to make sure that you meet the minimum criteria for applying for a U.S. passport. You need to be 18-years of age or older as a first-time applicant. If you were a child under 16-years of age and are now an adult that needs a passport, this would also apply to you. If you had a passport but it’s been over 15-years and you currently do not have a valid passport, you will also need to apply for a new passport.

Gather Documents
You will still need to get a few documents together and fill them out so we can obtain your passport for you in an expedited manner.
You’re going to need the following (and we have links for you to make it fast and easy)

  • Passport application
  • Copy of the unsigned DS-11 (passport form)
  • 2 passport quality photos
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Authorization for Texas Tower to act on your behalf
  • If you have an expired U.S. passport that was issued for 10 years previously, you’ll need to include that in your submission to us.

Get your documents certified
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 at http://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.
The Passport Agency Deputy (PAD) will collect the documents you gathered in the previous step and act as a witness to you signing your passport application. The PAD will then place everything into an envelope that will be they seal.
Opening this envelope after sealing voids your application.
Important: Get your sealed envelope back from the Passport Agency Deputy, you’ll need it to turn in to us to expedite your passport application.

Handoff your application to us!
Mail or bring in your sealed envelope and other necessary documents discussed previously to our office. Our staff will handle the rest of the passport process for you. Depending on the time service chosen, you can receive your U.S. passport in as fast as 24-hours.

Ready to get started? Just go to our New U.S. Passport page and if you have any questions, call our office at 713-874-1420, we’ll be glad to assist you.

How to Get Your Very First PassportBetween now and 2020, several states will need to comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and their state issued i.d.’s will need to meet certain requirements. If not, a passport will be a necessary for state to state travel within the United States. Also, it’s a good idea to have a valid passport.

Don’t have a passport? It’s time you did!
There are just 3 main steps to getting your passport and then your boundaries for travel will broaden dramatically. Using a passport expediting service can make the process even easier.

passportaStep One
You will need to complete and print out the application from the Department of State. However, don’t sign just yet. You will need to wait to do that in step 2. You will need to make a copy of the DS-11 form to include with your order to expedite your passport. The next step will be to obtain two passport quality photos. You can get these done at any Walgreens, Kinkos, or CVS. Now, you’re going to need proof of your identity in the form of a certified birth certificate or U.S. naturalization document.
You will also need to print out a copy of the authorization letters for Texas Tower to act on your behalf.

compareserviceStep Two
An authorized Passport Agency Deputy (also known as a local United States Post Office) will need to witness and execute your documents you filled out at the Department of State website. If you need help finding a local agency, you can go here: http://iafdb.travel.state.gov. The Passport Agency Deputy will charge a required fee of $25 to execute your documents and that will be paid separately from your passport expediting fees. The Deputy will place your signed and witnessed documents into an envelope that is sealed. Do not reopen this envelope. Ask for your documents back and state you will be using our services to process your passport request.

Step Three

Send your documents in the sealed envelope with your order form to Texas Tower.

That’s it, that’s all the steps you have to do to get a passport. Ready to get started? Just click here and you can begin the steps to getting your passport today.

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Have you ever lost your passport? It’s a sinking feeling, to say the least. A search we just did on Facebook showed 34,000 active mentions of the phrase, that’s a lot of discussion about lost passports on social media.

lost-passport

If you lose your passport or believe it has been stolen, it should be reported immediately to protect your identity. Your missing passport will be rendered invalid for travel. You can do this by calling the U.S. Department of State at (877) 487-2778 or (888-874-7793 for TTY). You can also complete a Statement Regarding a Lost of Stolen U.S. Passport Book And/Or Card (Form DS-64), sign the statement, and mail it to the address on the form. You will need to fill out this form to get a new passport whether or not you reported your passport lost via a phone call.

Replacing your passport is a simple process Texas Tower can expedite for you.  Just go to the Department of State and complete the DS-11 form online. Then print the passport application but do not sign.

Next, you will need to print a copy of the DS-11 Passport form. Again, do not sign this form either. This copy will be included with your Texas Tower order

stolen-passportThen you will need to fill out a DS-64 form which is a Statement for a Lost or Stolen Passport. Print one copy and sign in black ink only. The original must be included in the sealed enveloped you take to the Passport Deputy (also known as your local Post Office). The copy you just made will go on the outside with your Texas Tower authorization form.

Passport Photos
Now you need to get two recent passport-quality photos taken. We recommend that you have these pictures taken by a facility familiar with passport photo requirements such as Walgreens, CVS, or Kinko’s.
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Proof of Identity
To get your passport reissued you will need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship and identification. You can provide proof of citizenship using one of the following documents:

  • Original U.S.-issued birth certificate
  • Original U.S. Naturalization Document
  • An expired U.S. passport that was issued for 10 years

Proof of identification can be in the form of a state-issued or federal issued I.D. You will need to make a clear back and front copy. Examples of I.D. can be

  • a valid state drivers license,
  • military I.D., or
  • government I.D.
  • The identification used must have been issued more than 6 months ago.

Need to get your passport reissued faster?
Use a flight itinerary or company letter requesting rush service. We can help you with a sample letter to meet the requirements of the passport office.

Last, because you are using our service to expedite the reissue of your passport, you will need to include anAuthorization for Texas Tower to act on your behalf. Please make two copies and place one inside the envelope to be sealed by the Passport Deputy and one on the outside.

Take your documents to your local post office to be witnessed, signed, and sealed. Do not open this envelope once sealed.

Need help finding a passport agency deputy?
You can find a complete list of local agencies at http://iafdb.travel.state.gov.
Be aware the Passport Agency Deputy will charge an execution fee of $25 for witnessing your document signing and sealing of your envelope.

Once completed, mail or overnight your sealed envelope, copies for Texas Tower, and payment (See fees at the bottom of this page) to:
Texas Tower Passports & Visas
2020 Montrose Blvd. Suite 400
Houston, TX 77006
Phone (713) 874-1420

A member of our staff will handle your order, and you can track the status of your passport reissue in real-time.

How many of these

Love to travel?

How much do you know about your humble passport? Recently, we put together a list of the most common questions we get regarding passports. See how many of these facts you know about U.S. passports.

What is the cost of getting a U.S. Passport?
It depends on the type of passport you need and the speed at which you need your passport processed. You can see the full list at Texas Tower Passports.

You have an emergency that requires international travel, how do you get a passport?
There are two choices you can make:
(1) You can go through a passport agency where you will be required to schedule an appointment and appear in person with documentation of your emergency.
(2) You can use a third-party agency such as Texas Tower Passport and Visa to obtain your passport and you will only be required to fill out paperwork and send it to our office. Call our office at 713-874-1420 to get started now.

compareserviceHow long does it take to get a passport?
It depends on where you order your passport from. Getting a passport from your local passport agency requires an appointment and standard service can be four to seven weeks. This is where using a third-party agency pays off. If you order your passport through Texas Tower, we can obtain it in as little as 24-hours. Our standard turn-around time is 8-12 days.

How many blank visa pages should you have in your passport?
It’s a good idea to have two to four blank visa pages in your passport. Not all countries require a blank page for entry/exit visa stamps, but you could be prevented from boarding your flight if our passport doesn’t have the adequate amount of pages if you are visiting a country that has that requirement.  As of January 2016, you can no longer add pages to your passport, you will need to renew if you need to add pages.

If you’re renewing your passport, do you get your old one back?
Yes, you do. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep your old passport in a safe place, as it can be proof of your U.S. citizenship.

What should you do if you find a lost passport?
If you cannot readily locate the passport holder, you should mail the passport in to this address:
ATTN: CLASP
U.S. Department of State
CA/PPT/S/L/LE
4th Floor
1150 Passport Services PL
Dulles, VA 20189-1150

Do you need a passport for domestic travel?
Not at this time, according to the Department of Homeland Security, “Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel.” You can read more on this at the DHS’s Real I.D. page. A recent news story from CBS Philly on February 3rd noted travelers should renew their passports as soon as possible if they are coming up on expiration.

Who signs an infant or young child’s passport book?
The parent or legal guardian can print the child’s name, then sign their own name in the space provided.

What type of paper should photos for passports be printed on?
Photos must be printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper.

Can you wear eyeglasses in a passport photo?
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In November 2016, glasses cannot be worn in your passport photo.

Those are just a few of the most common questions we get on a regular basis. Got a passport or visa question? Ask us on Facebook or call 713-874-1420.

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An interesting study showed that over half of Americans do not possess a passport. Some let their passports expire and others simply never applied. The process for getting a passport is simple, and outsourcing the legwork to a company like Texas Tower makes it even less of a hassle for you.

Our passport area of the site is broken up by type of passport need. Get started here. You can renew, replace a lost of stolen passport, or apply for your first passport. If you have any questions, or need assistance, our agents will help you along the process to make it easy and seamless.

The website ATTN has written a great article about “5 Reasons Why Americans Need a Passport.

Last but not least – here are 10 cool facts about Passports