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Passports and Visas
Last update:October 2010
This is your most important travel document and the key to your journey. Without a passport you will not be able to travel to most places in the world. You need a passport to cross almost any international border. Passports are now required for travel between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. It is wise to make arrangements long before your intended departure for a new passport as well as a renewal. Consider getting one now if you don't already have one and would like to be able to travel soon!
If you are a citizen of the USA, getting a new adult passport will run over US$100. The Passport Office of the USA Department of State has all the forms, instructions, and details. Before you can apply, you'll need either your old, expired passport or proof of citizenship (typically your birth certificate if you were born in the USA or your naturalization certificate if you were born elsewhere).
The Passport Office says routine passport issuance takes 6 weeks, but we strongly recommends that you pay extra for round-trip Express Mail delivery and expedited service if you need your passport in less than 8 weeks. If you are leaving right away, you should be able to get a passport the same day, but only for an even higher in-person appointment fee, and only at one of the 14 Passport Offices in international gateway cities.
If you are a US citizen and need a passport quickly, we recommend