Passport Information

  • Starting on June 1st, 2009, the U.S. government has issued new passport requirements as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This affects Americans who are traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean (17 nations) and the island of Bermuda. All air travelers, including children, will need to show their actual passport books on return to the U.S. Americans visiting these countries by land or sea will have to present a valid U.S. passport (or an equivalent travel document) for reentry into the U.S. Children under the age of 16 and children between the ages of 16-18 traveling with organized groups traveling by land or sea, will still be permitted to use birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. Travelers are advised to check the document requirements of the specific countries on their itineraries. Click here for more information on current passport and document requirements.
  • Everyone, regardless of age, needs a passport for international travel. As of February 1, 2008, there are new requirements for passport applications for minors under 16 years old. The person applying for the passport for the minor must demonstrate that both parents consent to the issuance of a passport to the child or that the applying parent has the sole authority to obtain a passport.
  • A child departing the United States with only one parent, a guardian, grandparents or other adults, must have written and notarized permission from both birth parents or legal guardians to enter many countries.
  • It normally takes 4-6 weeks to get or renew your passport. The State Department maintains an excellent website with information and forms to download here. Most countries require passports to be valid for 6 months after entry into the country.
  • You can also call your local congressman's or senator's office if you need help obtaining your passport on short notice.
  • Keep your passport in a safe place while traveling. Remember to make copies of your passport and other important documents. Take a copy with you and store it separately from the original. Leave another copy with someone at home.
  • Bring additional passport photos in case your documents need to be replaced.
  • For information on necessary vaccinations when you travel click here.