So many rules – I will be glad for the day when we can travel freely.
1 American Passports Give You More Access
Americans can gain access to a whopping 174 countries with their passport, tying it with the United Kingdom for the strongest passport in the world.
2 You Don’t Need A Passport To Travel Overseas…Sort Of
Just because you don’t have a passport doesn’t mean you can’t travel abroad. U. S. citizens can gain access to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam without the use of their little blue book.
3 You Can’t Wear Uniforms In Your Picture
You can’t wear a uniform — not even that sweet throwback jersey — in your passport picture (unless you are required to wear one for religious purposes). Hats and headdresses are banned as well, even if you’re John Cena.
4 The Artwork Took Six Years To Complete
The State Department decided to give the little blue book a makeover in 2007. Developed by a committee of six people, the design — which took close to six years — resulted in the theme “American Icon,” which included everything from a star-spangled banner to Mount Rushmore.
5 E-Passports Are Allegedly Uncrackable
Since 2007, every passport comes with a chip embedded above the moon that has all the personal information from the holder. And according to the State Department, your info can’t be hacked from the chip thanks to Public Key Infrastructure, the designers of the protective software.
6 You Will Need A New One If You Significantly Alter Your Appearance
Growing a beard or dying your hair don’t qualify as big enough reasons for you to get a new passport. But if you lose a ton of weight or go all Mike Tyson, then you will need to get a new one.
7 Some Country Stamps Can Get You In Trouble
If you are planning a Middle Eastern trip, you better be aware of some restrictions other countries may have on visiting. For example, visiting Israel can preclude you from entering certain countries like Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Even though just a piece of paper outside your passport is stamped, any sign that you have been in Israel will prevent you from gaining access to certain Arab nations.
8 You Can Have Two Passports
What happens when you are already abroad and you enter a country that requires a travel visa that you don’t have? Just get another passport. Travel visas can take weeks to be cleared, but if you contact the State Department with a legitimate reason for needing another, you can get one in a short amount of time.
9 Damage Can Render Your Passport Invalid
Normal wear and tear is expected, but if you think anything is over the top, it’s time for a new one. Water damage and significant tearing, especially on the cover, will justify getting a replacement. Also unofficial markings will flag your passport, so keep an eye on your kids and those markers.
10 The Expiration Date Might Not Matter
Passports are valid for 10 years, but certain countries won’t accept valid U.S. passports that are less than six months away from expiration. To make sure you are never stuck abroad, it is recommended to renew you passport every nine years.
11 You Can Get An XL Passport For Free
Regular passports only come with 28 pages, but you can upgrade to a 52-page one for free when you apply for your first one or renew an existing one. You can also add pages to your old one, but that is going to cost you $82. Go ahead and try to justify that cost.
12 Fall Is The Best Time To Renew
Early autumn is the best time to renew your passport, as that’s when applications are low before all the holiday rush and you’re likely to get it processed faster. So don’t wait until the last minute before that holiday trip you’ve been planning.
13 You Can Take Your Picture At Home
You are allowed to bring in your own photo to use for your passport, but only if it is square, unaltered and on a white background. Waiting in line at Walgreens? Ain’t nobody got time for that!