Passports are necessary if you’re planning to travel the world. The small blue book, your doorway to other countries, has a few interesting facts attached to it. Here are a few of those little known facts that you probably didn’t know:
- Access to other countries
- Not all countries require you to have a passport
- Your passport picture
- The passport design
- E-passport and the Chip
- You require a new one if you significantly change your appearance
- Some country stamps may be a problem for the other countries
- A lot of damage can cause your passport to become invalid
- You can have two passports
- Countries may not accept passports that are about to expire
- You can get an XL passport for free
- Autumn is the best time to renew
- You can use a picture taken by you
American passports give access to 174 countries in the world. This makes your little blue book the strongest passport in the world, tying it with the United Kingdom.
Don’t get disheartened if you don’t have a passport. You can still travel abroad, although the choices are limited. Americans can go to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam without a passport.
Uniforms are banned from the passport picture. Unless you are required to wear a uniform for religious purposes, you can’t wear a uniform in your passport picture. Hats and headdresses are banned as well, along with the uniform.
The passport was given a makeover in 2007. The design, which was developed by a committee of six, took almost six years to complete. This resulted in the theme “American Icon” and includes everything from a Mount Rushmore to the star-spangled banner.
Since the redesigning of the passport, every passport comes with a chip. The chip is embedded over the moon and has all the personal information of the holder. The software was designed by the Public Key Infrastructure. According to the state department, thanks to the protective software, the information can’t be hacked from the chip.
Shaving. growing a beard or dying your hair are excluded from the reasons for you to get a new passport. But significant changes include things such as losing a ton of weight, plastic surgery, or going all Mike Tyson and getting a tattoo on your face.
There may be some restrictions that other countries have on visiting. You must be aware of such restrictions before visiting. For instance, if you’re planning a middle eastern trip, visiting Israel may keep you from visiting other countries like Lebanon or Saudi Arabia. Any signs that show that you’ve been to Israel may prevent you from getting to certain Arab nations.
Any small wear and tear to the passport is acceptable. But anything big enough would mean that you need a replacement for the passport. Damages including water damage or tearing, especially of the cover would justify a replacement. Unofficial markings would flag your passport, so keep them away from your kids.
If you’re abroad but require a travel visa that you don’t have, you can get another passport. Travel visas get weeks to be cleared, but contacting the state department with a legitimate reason for getting another passport can help you get the visa in a short amount of time.
Even though passports are valid for 10 years, some countries don’t accept passports that are six months away from expiration. It is highly recommended to renew your passport every nine years. This helps in making sure that you’re not stuck in an unknown country,
When you renew an existing passport or apply for a new one, you can get a 52-page one for free instead of a 28-page one. If you wanna add pages to your old one, it’s gonna cost you $82.
Every autumn, the applications are low before the holiday rush. So, get it done before the holiday rush and get it done quickly.
You are allowed to take your own picture for your passport. The only condition is, your photo must be a square and unaltered. Saves a lot of time, doesn’t it?