Passport & Visa
A passport is an internationally recognized identification document issued by our government to citizens or nationals of the United States. It is your best form of identification and is needed to depart or enter the United States and to enter and depart foreign countries. A passport is required for international travel and is valid for ten years. It is important to apply very early for passports. Although you may receive your passport sooner, you should allow at least six weeks for it to arrive; sometimes, there can be lengthy delays.
If you currently have a passport, check NOW to be sure it will be valid on your dates of travel. Note that some countries will not permit you to enter if the remaining passport validity is less than six months.
A visa permits you to visit a country for a specified purpose and a limited time. A visa is stamped into your passport and may take from two weeks to two months for issue. Visas are usually not required for travel to parts of Europe, the Caribbean and most of Central and South America. If you will be studying abroad, contact the advisor of the school you will be attending for information about securing a student visa.
The passport fee is currently $135, payable at the time application (form DS-11) is made at the post office. Passport renewals (form DS-82) may be done by mail at a cost of $110.
For detailed passport/visa information, visit the website of the U.S. Department of State, www.travel.state.gov
- Print the application form from the U.S. Department of State website, www.travel.state.gov Complete the passport application but do not sign it, except in the presence of the clerk at the post office.
- Photographs required for passports must meet rigid standards of size and quality. Have passport photos taken at the post office (or CVS, Walgreen's, etc.). Do not sign photos.
- A birth certificate bearing the original seal and/or signature must be presented to secure a passport. If your original birth certificate is lost, you may request a certified copy from the Official Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where you were born. Charges vary from $2 to $15. To order online, see www.cdc.gov (search "birth certificate"), or www.vitalchek.com. A hospital certificate or a quick copy that you have made of the birth certificate is NOT acceptable.
- Take completed application (unsigned), two passport photos (unsigned), birth certificate, valid driver's license, and personal check or cash for the $135 fee to a government agency authorized to accept passport applications. No credit cards are accepted. If you are paying by check, you will need two checks (there is a passport fee and a separate post office fee).
In Anderson, the Post Office at 1505 Raible Ave. (Google Map) is authorized to accept applications. They will accept applications until 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Your passport and birth certificate will be mailed to you at the "mailing address" you enter on the application form.