Tag Archives: us passport

When traveling abroad, US citizens are encouraged to carry a passport and a visa, if applicable, for their travel destination. Whether you decide to get a passport book or card depends on your budget, the frequency with which you travel, and where you wish to go. If you’re a traveler based in Dallas, here’s a mini-guide to deciding whether a passport book or card is right for you.

A passport card is much like a driver’s license or state ID, and is a plastic card that fits easily into your wallet. Passport books, on the other hand, are larger affairs filled with blank pages for visas and stamps used as record for anytime you enter or exit a country.

The biggest difference you will find between passport books and cards is that passport books are valid for any international travel by air, sea, or land, while passport cards are only accepted for land and sea border crossings in or near North America. This includes the US, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. If you’re a US citizen, passport cards are not needed for American territories such as Puerto Rico, in which a birth certificate and photo identification would suffice for entry.

Another big difference between passport books and cards is in the cost. For adults, passport books will cost $110 plus a $35 execution fee for the first passport book, while a passport card costs $30 (plus the same execution fee for your first card). For both a book and card, you can expect to pay $140, plus the $35 execution fee if it’s your first time applying and you’re over the age of 16. For minors, passport books are $80, cards are $15, and it’s $95 for both. There’s still a $35 execution fee for first-time applicants. Both passport books and cards are valid for 10 years.

So, which one is right for you? It depends on your travel needs and budget. The passport card is definitely the budget-safe option at only $30, especially if most of your travel is in or near North America, especially for cruises and other non-air travel. It’s also handy for crossing the Canadian border by land or sea to get into or out of Alaska. For air travel, frequent international travel, and peace of mind in case of travel emergencies where you need to schedule a flight home, the passport card is your best bet and well worth the price.

If you’re a Texan traveler who wants to get your US passport needs taken care of in mere business days instead of waiting the typical 6 weeks, we are ready to assist you. Call Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about our passport expediting services today.

Are you a Houstonian (or any American citizen) that is itching to travel abroad, but you need to renew your passport first? Is your passport about to expire and you want to renew before the expiration date? Here are the documents you’ll need in order to successfully renew your US passport:

  • Form DS-82
  • Your most recent US passport
  • Name change documents, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • One photo, stapled in each corner with vertical staples to your application, that meets all requirements for a passport photo (2”x2”, plain white background with no shadows, no wearing glasses or uniforms, etc.)
  • Payment for a passport renewal fee. $110 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, $140 for both book and card. Checks or money orders must be made out to “US Department of State”

Once your application is accepted and completed, Keep in mind that, in order to renew your passport by mail, your most recent passport must meet certain requirements:

  • must be submitted with your passport renewal application
  • in largely undamaged other than some wear and tear
  • issued when you were at least 16 years of age
  • issued within the past 15 years
  • was issued in your current name (if there has been a name change, be sure to include documentation, such as an original or certified copy of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or a court order)

When you’re ready to mail your passport renewal application, there are a couple of different addresses to consider that depend on where you live. There’s also an acceptance facility specifically for expediting passports. When your application is ready to go, be sure your papers are packaged in a way that leaves the application unfolded and ship only through USPS.

For travelers who live in Texas (or other states like Florida, California, Illinois, New York, and Minnesota), you will want to send it here:

National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

If you would like assistance in getting your US passport renewed or would like it expedited so you don’t have to wait a whopping 6 weeks for your next trip, we are ready to assist you. Simply contact Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about our passport services and we’ll take care of the rest.

There are many reasons you might need to expedite your passport renewal, but when it gets down to the point of, you need it sooner than six to seven weeks, that’s where our local Houston office can help you.

Here is how to renew your U.S. passport through us.
First, you’re going to need your current passport. It must be undamaged and will need to be submitted with your renewal. If your passport is damaged. you’ll need to follow instructions for obtaining a new passport – just talk to us, we can walk you through the process.

The documents we’re going to need, you will need documents with original signatures, the State Department requires it. Email and faxed documents cannot be processed.

Step One: One completed and signed application for passport renewal. This must be completed online at the Department of State (we can give you the link).

Step Two: You will need to submit two passport type photos. You can take the photos yourself but there are strict requirements. Talk to us if you’re not sure.

Step Three: Sign the Authorization Letter allowing us to work as your agent.

Step Four – If you need rush service, you will need to include a flight itinerary or company letter requesting a need for this expediting.

Step Five: Include our order form with payment and depending on the level of service chosen, you can have a passport in your hands as fast as 24-hours.

You can get started here at our dedicated Passport Renewal page. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to our staff at 713-874-1420

Se Habla Espanol.

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.

One of the best things about visiting a city around the globe is sampling the local cuisine. Street food is a great way to dive in to local treats and learn the culture of a city.


1. Tokyo, Japan
Did you know Japan has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other country? Getting a great meal isn’t a problem, narrowing down choices is. While you’re out sightseeing, grab something to munch on.


2. Hanoi, Vietnam
Eat like a local and hit the streets for freshly prepared pho, the national soup of Vietnam. You cannot leave without sampling a Bahn Mi. A baguette filled with cucumber, herbs, crispy onions, pork, and among other toppings, fish sauce for one delicious bite.


3. London, UK
People make jokes about English food being bland. In truth, there’s a lot of deliciousness to be found. There are pop-ups and street food to explore.


4. Jaipur, India
Love barbeque and chargrilled food? You will love Jaipur’s food. The traditional cuisine of the Rajputs, the warrior princes that ruled this area, are highlighted in many dishes here.


5. Mendoza, Argentina
Want a large, perfectly cooked steak? Your dream destination will be found in Mendoza. This area of Argentina is surrounded by wine estates and some of the best food in the country.

You will need a valid U.S. passport to experience these delicious destinations, book your trip and talk to us about expediting your U.S. passport and visa (if needed). Safe travels and happy eating!

Tanzania is a country we process travel visas for on a regular basis. There are many things to do when you visit, we chose five to review that according to Trip Advisor candid reviews, are rated as quality experiences by travelers.


1. Mount Kilimanjaro
This is one of those adventures everyone should try to do at least once. There are numerous tours that will assist you as you go up the mountain. Along with comfortable camping and providing meals if you book a tour to climb the summit at a leisurely pace.


2. Ngorongoro Crater
This is the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera. It was formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself. Around the crater area is a national park where visitors can see elephants, cheetahs, and even the occasional rhino. A must-see for a photography safari.


3. Isimila Stone Age Site
History buffs will appreciate a tour at the Isimila Stone Age Site. This place is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of Tanzania. There are pillars over 30-meters in height and the tools used by humans for carving are thought to be between 60,000 and 100,000 years old.


4. Mtoni Palace Ruins
There is both narration and song at this stop. Be sure to indulge in the intimate and traditional coffee ceremony for a true taste of Tanzanian history.


5. Food and Spices Tour Including Traditional Swahili Lunch
If you’re a foodie, this will be your favorite thing in Tanzania. A 4-hour tour of the exotic spices and foods along with a traditional lunch.

U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania require both a valid U.S. passport and a travel visa for entry. There are strict guidelines that must be met to obtain your visa, talk to us and we’ll do the work for you! Call us today at 713-874-1420

Every year RoughGuide has a vote for the most beautiful country to visit. This year’s winner is ….Scotland!

If you haven’t had a chance to explore this beautiful country yet, we highly recommend it. All US citizens need is a valid US passport and we can certainly help you with that.

Here are the top five must-see destinations that should be on any adventure in Scotland:

Calgary Bay

Loch Coruisk

Glasgow

The Whaligoe Steps

Last but not least, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe


Drone photography has become very popular, particularly for candid wildlife viewing. For every responsible drone operator, there suddenly appeared one that was irresponsible as heck. From breathtaking videos that didn’t disturb a herd of elephants quietly eating leaves turned into a frightened herd of wildebeest stopping their yearly migratory river crossing and abandoning calves at a riverbank with irresponsible drone operators buzzing their cameras over animals heads and frightening them.

Several countries in Africa have banned drones and imposed large fines on anyone using one, especially in national parks which are now considered no-fly zones.

Botswana and Kenya allow drones but only if you apply for a permit and your drone must not disturb the animals in any way or you may face fines and equipment seizure.

Many private reserves allow drones but you normally need to hire your own vehicle and you may not disturb the animals on the reserve or other guests. Most reserves require that if your drone crashes, you may not retrieve it.

Texas Tower processes U.S. passports and can obtain visas for African countries you may want to fly a drone in. Call us today to get started 713-874-1420.

 

 

SARA (2)Not the United States.

Passport power is measured by the number of countries an individual can visit without needing a travel visa for entry. For 2017, the top spot is being shared by two countries.
Global Passport Power Rank 2017 - 9GAG.clipular

Germany and Singapore are welding the most power with their passports this year with their countries’ respective passports allowing bearers to visit a whopping 159 countries visa-free.

Sweden comes in a solid second place with their passport allowing entry into 158 countries.

The United States is now in third place with a U.S. passport unlocking entry into 157 countries visa-free.

An interesting statistic recently showed only 38% of U.S. citizens own a valid passport. Between 2018 and 2020 that number is expected to grow as more individuals choose a passport to meet requirements for state to state travel to be in compliance with the REAL I.D. Act.

If you need to renew your current passport or want to apply for your very first one, we’re here to help you through the process. We can expedite your passport and get it in your hands fast than through standard channels. Every member of the family will need a passport to travel internationally, however the Real I.D. act will not require minors to have a driver’s license or passport to fly domestically.

 

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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