Tag Archives: international travel

Owe Taxes- IRS Can Revoke Your Passport
Americans that are more than $50,000 in debt to the IRS for overdue taxes could find themselves in a real pickle if they need to travel when the Real ID Act is fully implemented in 2020.

In 2015, Congress introduced a bill for highway funding that includes a provision to revoke the passport of any citizen of the United States who owes more than $50,000 in delinquent tax debt. The criteria to meet the level of delinquent tax debt includes the IRS filing a levy or lien against the overdue taxes and no repayment plan has been established. Now, it’s the law, the IRS can revoke passports.

Lawmakers feel this measure will be an incentive for individuals who owe back taxes to become current with their tax debt and they have until October 2020 to get their tax bills in order.

Another group this provision is expected to affect are Americans who live abroad who may have domestic tax bills in arrears. This will affect their passport status as well.

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If you have any questions about how to get your passport or how to renew, talk to us. Call us at 713-874-1420 during business hours or message us on Facebook.

Should you keep your passport current-The answer to that question is a qualified Yes!   By 2018, many states will not accept a state i.d. as valid identification for flying, and a passport is a great option to use instead.

With the fall travel heating up and holiday travel time fast approaching, make sure that you have all of your documents in place to be able to travel is vital. If your passport is expired 

If your passport is expired it can put the brakes on your travel plans.

During busy travel periods, the processing time for passports and visas take even more time than usual. The standard time for processing passports is approximately 4 to 6 weeks.

However, in the busier travel seasons, it goes up to between 7 to 8 weeks. If you are traveling somewhere that is usually a popular vacation spot or is really popular for a certain reason the time could go up even more. That’s why outsourcing the acquisition of your passport is a great idea.

 An example: in 2014 the world cup was in Brazil and this made Brazil seriously overrun with travelers and hence longer processing times. For the 2016 Olympics, Brazil waived the  visa requirement, but not the passport. 

Another reason to keep that Passport Current

 The state department strongly suggests that you don’t wait till the last minute to renew your passport. There are countries that will deny access to people that have less than 6 months left before their passport expires. So keep that in mind and make sure you check your documents. You can and should check out the country that you are planning to and you can get your destination country information at the State Departments page here.

If You Get Caught Short with Your Passport

 So you check your documents and you find that your passport is expired or just plain lost. Or you check your travel destination and find your passport is due to expire within the time frame that makes your destination country a no go. You also don’t have the time or don’t want to wait 4 to 6 weeks or more for your passport. What do you do? That’s where we come in.

Texas Tower can expedite your passport same day or within 24 hours. Additionally, they can answer any of your questions personally and you get the personal touch of having experienced people to help you through what can sometimes be a stressful situation. Just go to Texas Tower Passports and get started.

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, if any 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 pair of shoes for most trips.

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

Everyone knows when you travel you shouldn’t dress like a tourist, but what are some other things around the world that might shock a traveler from another country. Customs will be different in every country, here are some eye openers experienced by other travelers.

In Finland, an exchange student from India was shocked to discover that mixed-gender saunas were a thing, and then after a sauna, rolling in the snow is common.

A traveler in Ethiopia recounted when she was working for the Peace Corps and was staying with a family. They made her a dinner of white rice and copious amounts of salt (they heard Americans liked salt on all their food.) Then they hugged her and told her they loved her. The traveler said you will never experience family love like they have in Ethiopia.

Taking an hour or two off in the afternoon is common in Italy.

The most trustworthy place to be a tourist would have to hands-down be in Iceland. Read this account from a traveler, “My friend and I were walking around Reykjavik, Iceland and we came across a stroller next to a small shop with a baby in it all bundled up. It was a bit brisk but otherwise not too cold. The issue was that there was no one near this seemingly abandoned child. We walked about 50 feet up and down the road looking for the parent of this child.

Turns out the mother was just in the store across the street. It is perfectly acceptable to leave your unattended infant on the sidewalk apparently. Crime rates are so low in Iceland that the people there are much more trusting of each other I suppose.

In Beijing, you might see something called the “Beijing Bikini.” Older men tuck the bottom of their shirts into the collar to expose their stomachs.

Do you want new friends? Go to Tanzania. A traveler that went there alone for a research project, realized very quickly that people on the street were walking up to start conversations. When they said, “Come to my house for dinner.” It meant right then. After a few months, the researcher said he went from knowing no one in Tanzania to calling dozens of people friends.

A traveler that spent two months in Malawi, Africa said it is not uncommon for men to hold hands as they walk together down the road. This is just an indication of friendship and not romantic involvement.

In Taiwan, don’t be surprised if you wake up in the morning to a garbage truck playing “Für Elise” as they do their rounds.

So there are a few of the things you might run into when you travel. Another good way to avoid looking like a tourist when you travel. Read about some of the cultural nuances of wherever you choose to visit and you’ll fit right in like a local.

day four of the trip toIn many businesses, international travel is a given. With that, there are passports to be acquired and renewed. Many countries require visas for entry for either business or tourist travel purposes, and those will need to be acquired for your employees.

Hiring a Corporate Travel manager works for some firms, however outsourcing the acquisition of your travel documents works for many other companies and here is why:

Outsourcing Results in Saving Money Immediately
Outsourcing your travel duties to an agency can save you in more ways than one. You won’t have an internal employee handling the passport and visas. Therefore, you also won’t have state and federal taxes for payroll on that position, vacation days, sick days, or insurance. That alone is a huge money-saver for your company.

Keeping Costs in Check
Knowing how much your passport and visa acquisition will run, even on a same-day processing situation will give you absolute control over your corporate travel.

Service Anywhere You Need It
Nationwide service is another plus for outsourcing your corporate travel. We can obtain passports, visas, and certified birth certificates delivering them to where you need those documents to be.

Ready to get started? Call our office at 713-874-1420 and we can create a unique individualized plan for your company.