Aug 23, 2009

Australian Visa Service - How to Choose the Right One

Preparing for your first Australian Visa application can become confusing.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is a branch of the Australian government that would grant you your visa. There are several types available ranging from the visitor visa to business visas and those for permanent immigration.

An Australian Visa service can help you sort all these out. It is important to understand at the onset that they do not grant you the visa. They are an important instrument to helping you prepare to get one. Often, these consulting services are experienced with the process and requirements for acquiring different visa types.

The service is not always free however. As with any consulting service, the fees vary. It may be on an hourly basis, per visit basis, but some offer a fixed cost. One of the things you should look out for is how the agents handle your case. Choose a consulting firm that offers both professionalism and personalized service. They must understand your needs and any special circumstances you may have.

Most Australian Visa services start with an assessment. This will help them find out your reason for getting a visa, the length of stay you are planning, and all other personal information that should be relevant to your Australian visa application.

Another item that can help you determine if the Australian Visa service provider is the right one for you is the MARA seal. The migration Agents Registration Authority ensures that registered agents are professional and have a high level of knowledge of Australian migration law and procedures.

Simply said, AV services can make your visa application less complicated if you choose the right agency to work with.

About National Visas
National Visas provides assistance for your Australia visa application & services. Get your any visa for Australia processed very quickly through online! Find advice now for an Australian Immigration.

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Top 5 Things to Do Before Obtaining an Eb5 Visa

If you have an interest in the eb5 visa as a way to get to the United States, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare. Fortunately, you can do most with little help from others. Considering that the eb5 visa program will likely allow you to get to this country within a year, the preparations are minuscule compared to what you will receive.

1. Get in contact with an experienced immigration attorney. He or she should be able to provide a free consultation in which you will be given advice about whether your business plan is sound enough to use. Many Regional Centers require a fee to apply, aside from obtaining $500,000 to $1 million. It would be a shame to get this money and not have a business plan that's up to par, so speaking with an immigration attorney is a helpful first step.

2. Refine your business plan. Even if the immigration attorney you meet with deems your plan appropriate, he or she will likely point out some room for improvement. Most people don't get it right on the first try, especially if this is your first ever business plan. Making sure it is as close to perfect as possible is important before attending the official meeting that will determine if you are approved for the eb5 program. A great business plan can go a long way.

3. Consider where you want to set up your business. If you have $1 million to invest and a unique business plan that can work anywhere, you can pick from any area in the country to set up your business. However, if you plan to invest only $500,000, you will need to choose a Regional Center. You can find at least one in nearly all fifty states, and the even better news is that you do not always have to live near your business when you use a Regional Center. In fact, you can live across the country from it if you choose not to participate in the everyday operations.

4. Make sure you can get the funds. While the eb5 visa does not require that you earn the money, you must show that you obtained it legally. It can be a gift, a loan, or your life savings, but you need to be able to prove that it is legally yours.

5. Select a lawyer and start the process. You might choose to go to a few free consultations first, but you should choose an immigration attorney to help you get started once your business plan looks professional. You might even decide to pay a retainer fee each month to constantly have their advice on hand.

Your selected lawyer will tell you what the next steps are. Getting started is often the most difficult part of the process. Following these preliminary steps can help you at least get started.

For more information on the EB5 visa visit website for information on obtaining an EB-5 visa.

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Factors Determining Independent Immigration to Canada

People are always looking for change for in lifestyle, surroundings, job etc. And in search of this change, we are often attracted towards moving to countries that give us greater opportunities to better our lives, money situation and increase our spending power. Countries like Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada provide ample opportunities to migrate and own citizenship of that country as well as provide you with opportunities that will give you a better lifestyle.

Canada is such a country that is open to legal immigrants and is a popular destination among those who are looking to migrate to another country from the country that they are born in. Canada is much favourable with its ample land area of 9,900,000 km2 and with a population of almost 96 million residents. The government is stable, the society is democratic and its industrial and agricultural background makes it the seventh advanced nation in the world. This gives a lot of opportunities to individuals who have immigration to Canada on their minds.

The independent Immigrant system is based on the point system, where one can check as well as needs to fulfill the required number of points to legally migrate to the country of Canada. From 2003 the required points have been reduced from 75 to 67. And if you're a resident of the UK your points reduce by 67 points. The reduction of points was done to attract skilled workers to the country. The category of Independent Immigration System is one of the most popular categories that people opt for when wanting to migrate to Canada. The Government of Canada tried to implement the reduction of points in 2002 itself since, its main intention being that there were already 10,000 immigrant cases that were pending. If a person fulfills at least 67 points they can definitely establish themselves in Canada.

There are certain factors that are point based;

1. Education has a maximum of 25 points, if a person has obtained a PhD or a Master's degree or even has 17 years of either a full time or its equivalent and it carries all 25 marks. The least points is 12 and is applicable if one has completed only a one year diploma, apprenticeship or trade certificate in Trade and has a minimum of 12 years or equivalent of it in study.

2. The second factor is ones ability to fulfill the English and French Language ability and has a maximum score of 24 points if you are fluent in both the languages. One can get 16 points if they know the main official language and 8 points if they know the second language.

3. The third factor is the working experience and one can gain a maximum of 21 points. The main qualifications are that one needs to have a minimum of 1 year of full time work experience in 10 years as a manager, skilled occupation or any other well known profession.

4. The Age factor carries 10 points and is applicable if you're between 21-49.

5. Arranged employment carries 10 points e.g. if one is offered a job by the HRDC (Human Resources Development Canada).

6. Adaptability is 10 points, where your accompanying partner e.g. spouse, in-laws etc fulfills certain levels of education, have been educated in Canada, if they have worked, have extended family or arranged employment in the country.

Those considering immigration Canada can apply for the Canada Immigration application and obtain a Canada visa once the minimum requirements are met.

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Dual Nationality and a Second Passport - Ways to Obtain Them

Obtaining dual nationality and a second passport is one of the wisest moves you can make if you truly value maintaining your international freedom. It is sort of like taking out an insurance policy. Only the asset you are insuring is not your car or home, but something much more precious: YOUR FREEDOM. This is something you can't put a price on, but it is something many men have laid down their lives for. It is worth millions.

It may come as a surprise to you to find out that passports are a modern invention. Less than one hundred years ago official passports were never required by most countries. But now they are required by all countries and the issuing of them is used as a means of coercion by some to restrict your right to travel and even control, monitor, and record it. That is why applying for dual nationality and a second passport is a wise decision. If the government of your country is unduly authoritarian and is making your life miserable then you have a freedom document that will allow you to escape and freely move about the world.

Moreover, the issuing of your passport can be used by your government as leverage to force you to pay for the unreasonable tax burden created by out of control government spending. They can also force you to report worldwide income and assets if you are their property by reason of the passport you hold. So you can see why it may be prudent to obtain dual nationality and also a second passport to freedom - one with no restrictive strings attached. This will give you the option to renounce your old citizenship to embrace only your new one if things get too out of control in the country of your first nationality.

Having a dual nationality and a second passport means that you are legally a citizen of two countries at the same time. A person can acquire this by birth or by marriage. For example a family who is living abroad gives birth to a child in another country. That child could be both a citizen of the country he was born in and also a citizen of the original country of his or her parents. Also if a person goes to another country and marries a foreign citizen then they can become a citizen of their new country while retaining their original citizenship also.

But the other way to obtain dual nationality and a second passport is to involve yourself or all of your family in one of the legitimate second citizenship programs available from a very reputable provider who is either a lawyer or a facilitator who is knowledgeable about the laws concerning how to apply for dual citizenship in the particular country you are interested in getting second citizenship from. There are a few programs available that are affordable and there are some others that are more expensive. So it is important that you get connected with someone who can help you find a program that is best for your situation.

James Bauman Ph.D. has been involved with the offshore world, banking, and asset protection for about 12 years now. During that time he has gained an education in not only the financial asset protection world, but also has gained expertise in where to find the most affordable real dual citizenship and second passport programs available. Out of the knowledge he has gained over the years, he developed the asset protection business: FREEDOM OFFSHORE SERVICES. You can find out more about how to get a second passport by going here: Also, you can learn more about how to obtain dual citizenship by going here: We hope to serve you not only in a way that saves you money, but by giving you quality service also. May your experience in the offshore world of dual nationality and second passports be a pleasant one with our help.

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How to Get Your Passport Translated Into Arabic For Libya Travel

For those looking to travel into Libya, one of the requirements is to have your passport translated into Arabic. For most people, the question is how! Where can one get their passport translated? How long does it take? What are the requirements?

Recently I began to research how travelers can have their passports translated into Arabic. After talking with friends, clients, and other travelers, I have found a few different methods of translation that have worked for those traveling to Libya.

Embassy Translation

Probably the best place to start is to contact your embassy. One of my friends, living in a foreign county, visited their consulate and after some time, they were able to give him a translation needed to enter Libya. However, last month some other clients walked into their consulates and were told that there was no one who spoke Arabic and therefore, they were unable to do the necessary translation. So what is the solution in these cases?

Authorized Government Translation

After talking with the Libyan Consulate, they advised that we find an authorized government translator to do the translation on a small piece of paper and stick it in the passport with a staple. My first thought was, "Is this legal...are we allowed to staple the paper into the passport?" However, since the clients did not have any other choice, we had a local translator do the translation and stamp it with the official translation stamp. We then stapled or glued this into the passport and they were welcomed without any problem into Libya.

Consulate Authorized Translation

Two weeks ago I spoke to a friend who traveled into Libya with some European friends. He told me that these Europeans went into their embassy and were told that they could go to one of their certified translators (not in the embassy) and then return back for their official stamp. These travelers followed these instructions and were welcomed into Libya without any problems.

American Passport Translation

My sister recently wanted to get her passport translated into Arabic while she was still in the United States. Where can you get your passport translated in the states? According to her research, she found that the Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington was one of recognized translators for those wishing to enter Libya. In faith, she sent her passport and the following items to the National US - Arab Chamber of Commerce and received her translation in 10 days.

Items needed to send:

• Passport

• Copy of 1st page of passport

• Pre-paid addressed envelope to return passport to self

• A note requesting Arabic translation of passport

• Money order or company check for $40 payable to "NUSACC"

You must then mail the above to:

National US - Arab Chamber of Commerce

1023 15th St. N.W.

Suite 400

Washington, D.C. 20005

My sister told me that the turnaround time was 10 days total from day she sent off her passport to the day she received back in the mail. From her research, if one needs the translation sooner than that, they can send a money order for $100 and it will come back a few days earlier. The $40 is for a 3 day translation time, the $100 is for a 1 day translation time.

At this point in time, it seems that as long as you have some sort of official Arabic translation in your passport, it will be accepted by those at the passport control. Remember, you still need to have the business visa or tourist visa before arriving in Libya as these are not yet sold in the airport.

Jeff Wilson currently works with Experience It! Tours offering tours to Morocco and travel to Libya.

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Where to Get Passports

The procedures and places for getting a passport vary according to an individual's requirements. It all depend on whether the passport you are applying for is your first one or whether you are merely getting your old passport renewed, or whether your passport is lost or stolen. Your passport source may also depend on the kind of work that you are doing. For example, if you are a diplomat or a government official then the procedure involved in your getting a passport and the place that will issue your passport will be entirely different from the case of a tourist.

Usually, if you are applying for your passport for the first time then you will have to apply in person. The same applies for those whose passports are lost, stolen or damaged, or those whose passports expired more than fifteen years ago, or those who need to renew a passport which they got made when they were sixteen years of age or less. If you have changed your name, which is mentioned, in your passport even then it is mandatory to apply in person.

There are a number of centers in the various American states where you can easily go and apply for your new passport. Passport application centers also have special facilities for individuals suffering with some handicap. Most of the centers even have a photo-on-site facility or photo-nearby facility.

Those American citizens who reside outside the country will have to visit the American consulates in their host countries and also inquire about the passport regulations in the host countries to know about the exact procedures that they might have to follow in order to acquire a new passport. Diplomats and government officials need to apply in Washington DC to get their no-fee special passports.

The American government is constantly striving to make the passport acquiring procedure easier. They also want to save people from the threat that various agencies claiming to issue passports pose to the general security of the people.

Passports provides detailed information on Passports, Passport Renewal, Passport Applications, Passport Photos and more. Passports is affiliated with Passport Renewal Forms.

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How to Expedite Your Passport Renewal

There are three ways to expedite a passport renewal. The method you pick out will depend on how speedily you need to acquire your renewed passport and how much time you have to devote to the process. The details below will help guide you in making the decision on how best to expedite your passport renewal.

Apply for Expedited Service by Mail to the National Passport Processing Center

Ddownload and complete the application form DS-82 to renew a passport. Put it in an envelope with your current passport, two photos and payment. The application fee and expediting fee can be made with one payment. Provide proof of your name change if it is different from the name in your present passport. This can be done with a marriage certificate or court order.

Clearly and legibly write "EXPEDITE" on the envelope so that it can be speedily identified at the processing center. The National Passport Processing Center address can be found on the application for renewal. Within 3 to 4 weeks the application should be processed and your passport delivered to your. It may take longer, especially during peak travel periods.

Renew Your Passport at a Regional Passport Agency

Applying at a regional passport agency is an option if you cannot wait for your travel document to be returned by mail. The regional agencies attend travelers whose departure date is within 14 days and who do not need a travel visa. Those who need to obtain a visa can be attended at the regional agency up to 28 days before their departure date.

Presently, fifteen passport agencies operate in the United States. The agencies can be found in major cities throughout the U.S. including Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Norwalk (CO), Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago and Detroit. Each agency attends a particular area of the United States.

Pick the regional passport agency that services your state of residence to begin the passport renewal process. You can set up an appointment by callling toll-free at 1-877-487-2778. This number is for an automated appointment system. Sometimes, it can be pretty hard to get through. It may be necessary to make numerous tries. Just keep calling.

Take the completed form and accompanying documentation with you to the regional passport agency on the day of your appointment. You are asked not to get to the agency more than 15 minutes early or to be over 15 minutes late. Being more than fifteen minutes late could result in the cancellation of your appointment.

If your appointment is early in the day, you could receive your renewed passport that same afternoon. If you are not attended until later in the day, you might possibly have to wait until the following day to get your passport.

Get Your Passport Renewed Through a Travel Document Expediter

Travel document expediters have a special relationship with regional agencies that allow them to represent their clients who are unable to personally deliver their requests to the agency for processing. Allowing a passport expediter to take care of the expediting of your passport renewal is a wise choice when you are in a time crunch and have many other things to take care of before your trip.

Passport expediters specialize in obtaining passports quickly. You are ordinarily given several choices as to how quickly you want your passport expedited. Processing times are as follows.

  • Standard - 8 to 10 business days
  • Rush - 5 to 7 business days
  • Priority - 3 to 4 business days
  • Next Day - 2 business days
  • 24 hours - 1 business day

Once you have decided on how speedily you want to acquire your passport, you need to complete an online form with personal information such as your name, address, phone number and email. Next, type in information about your trip including date of departure and destination. Confirm whether you have an itinerary or not.

You need to download the expediter's authorization form. The completed and signed form should be sent along with your passport renewal application and other documentation to the expediter by express mail.

Make Your Choice

Now you know the three ways to expedite your passport renewal. Send the passport application yourself. Get it expedited at a regional passport agency. Or allow a private expediting service to get the job done for you. The choice is yours. You get to decide. You make the decision. Just make sure you choose a way to get your passport renewal expedited that gets it done before your departure date.

Visit U.S. Passport Service Guide to download the passport renewal application form and access reviews of rush passport services.

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No Need to Wait For Snail Mail to Check Your Passport Application Status

The internet has provided a safe and secure way to check on your passport application status. If you prefer the old fashioned way, phone calls to the Application Agency are still accepted.

Applications: First time passport applications must be made in person. The initial application can be filled out online and printed then taken with you to the Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility nearest you. You will need your driver's license, copy of your birth certificate, and your social security card. Do not sign your application. You are required to sign the form at the office.

What you will need: Before you hop online to check your applications status, you will need to have a few things ready. The online form doesn't recognize punctuation so avoid typing in commas and hyphens. You will need to pay close attention to the formats that it requires such as your date of birth.

When to check: Standard first time applications and expedited applications require four to seven business days before you can check their status online. Attempts to check before then will show that you have not sent in an application.

How long does it take: If you have never applied for a passport the standard application process can take up to six weeks or even longer. Expedited applications take between two and four weeks. Of course, if the Passport Agency experiences a large number of applications this process can take longer. Plan ahead and start the application process as soon as you decide that you are going to vacation in a foreign country.

Potential problems: Applications are occasionally rejected. Criminal convictions are sometimes reason enough to deny someone a passport. The Internal Revenue Service can also have your passport denied or revoked. If your passport is denied, you can appeal the decision.

You no longer have to wait for the postman to check your passport's application status.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways.

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What You Need to Know About Passport Renewal Forms

Planning ahead and printing your passport renewal forms from the online website will save you from having to fill out forms by hand. Remember that if you are planning to visit and Application Agency do not sign these forms at home.

Standard Renewal: A renewal of your passport is required every ten years if you received your first passport after you turned 16. Children however must have their passports renewed every five years regardless of what age they were when they received their first passport. If you have changed your name through divorce decree, marriage or legal name change and you report this change within the first year there is no charge for this service. Renewal by mail is available for those who received their first passport after the age of 16 or who are reporting a legal name change.

Name Changes: When renewing your passport because of a name change you will need to include your divorce decree or your marriage certificate. People who have had their name legally changed must include those documents as well.

Visas: When you submit your renewal application you can also request additional visas. Forms are available online for those who wish to make use of this service. Blank visa sheets are sometimes required by foreign countries and you may request them when renewing your passport.

What is Required: Requirements for passport renewal are the same as applying for your first passport. Passport photos need to be taken and included. Two identical two inch by two inch photographs of your face and shoulders, identification documents such as your driver's license, social security card, your certified birth certificate or your military ID if you're a solder will need to be seen or sent with your application form.

Errors: Misspelled names are the most common errors on passports. Sometimes your birth date is wrong or numbers have been transposed. When your passport arrives, check it carefully and report these mistakes to your Application Agency. You will be instructed on how to return the passport to have these errors corrected.

Emergency Situations: Emergencies sometimes happen. If you find that your passport has expired or will expire soon contact the Contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (TYY/TDD 1-888-847-2778) and they will help you through the emergency passport process.

Renewal Denied: No one wants to receive a notice telling them that their passport renewal application has been denied. It is easier to prevent this from happening than to correct it once it has. Contact the Application Agency if you have had a recent criminal conviction. If you owe back child support or taxes you should take care of these issues before you apply for a renewal of your passport. Both of these issues will result in your application being denied. It takes months to correct these problems once you have submitted your application.

Stay on top of the details and print you passport renewal forms online.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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Visitors to the United States - Requirements For a US Tourist Visa

The United States welcomes and encourages visitors from foreign countries. In addition to your nation's passport, the US requires that you also apply for a tourist visa. There are several requirements to obtain a visa and you'll want to start planning well in advance of your visit so as to not delay your travel plans.

A visa is required for any visit to the United States. You may be considering a trip to see the sights and natural beauty, visit friends, or work temporarily. Perhaps your needs are more serious as you're coming for medical help. Each type of visit has different requirements. A tourist visa is intended for those who are coming for sightseeing and traveling to various areas of the country.

One important aspect of a visa to the United States is that every person who enters is treated as if they plan on immigrating permanently. Therefore, the burden to prove otherwise rests on you. This means you'll need to produce supporting documentation which verifies that your visit is temporary. Any paperwork that confirms the length of your stay, such as airline tickets or itinerary, is helpful. Showing that you are highly likely to return to your home country such as proof of employment or verification of your permanent residence will also work.

The United States Embassy located in your home country is typically the place to start the visa application process. Or the Consulate in your area also has this authority. Here you'll need to arrange for an interview if you're 14 or older, up to the age of 79. Interview dates can be difficult to schedule, so make arrangements well in advance of your trip so that you don't have to change your travel plans.

Since a visa is a document which verifies your identify, you'll be required to submit for digital fingerprinting as part of the visa process. Also, local agencies, depending on country, typically add additional requirements. Check with the Embassy to learn more.

The tourist visa application form is available from the US Embassy or can be downloaded from the web site of the United States Department of State. Requirements change so be sure to check carefully for which exact form fits your situation. Look over the forms marked DS-156 or DS-150 to determine which one is right for you.

The United States Department of State currently charges a fee of $131.00 for a tourist visa. Additional fees are also frequently required by each country, so be ready to add to that amount if that applies to yours. Check with your local offices to find out how much you can expect to pay.

These are general guidelines for applying for a US Tourist Visa, so you're encouraged to visit the web site for the United States Department of State for more details.

Once you have completed the process and have your visa, you'll be ready to have a wonderful visit to the US and enjoy all the sights.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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Applying For a US Passport and Completing the Passport Application Form

As one of the many people who are considering applying for a U.S. Passport, you'll not be surprised to learn that there is a specific application form that must be completed.

This form is one that you'll want to become very familiar with as it holds the key to a smooth and quick processing of your passport request.

The form you'll need is called DS-11: Application for U.S. Passport. It falls under the authority of the United States Department of State and can be located for download from their web site. This form is also available to pick up at any of the over 8,000 passport acceptance facilities throughout the U.S.

One nice feature of the online version is that you can use your computer to fill in all the blanks. The US Department of State web site has this option, which allows online entry, so the printed copy will be clear and readable. Also, you'll be able to check your work carefully before printing, avoiding unnecessary waste.

The first part of the DS-11 gives a good explanation of other things you'll need to submit with your application such as proof of citizenship and other photo identification at time of submittal. Processing fees are also discussed so you won't be caught unprepared for the costs of a passport.

There's also a section which discusses the new "electronic passport" which has become recently available. This section gives details on this new type of passport and discusses the advantages and security features. Take the time to read it all as you may find this type of passport best suits your needs.

The form is broken down very logically asking for your name, residence, date of birth, etc. One thing to be sure to notice is how the dates must be entered. The month and day are 2 digit values, but the year must be 4 digits, such as "1975", not "75". Small mistakes like that can cause your application to be rejected.

A passport photo box is outlined on the left side of the form and this is where your official passport photos will be attached. You'll need to have these taken at a passport office that is authorized to print passport photographs, as they must meet strict size and setting guidelines.

Lastly, the application form discusses supporting documents that have to be submitted along with the form with details on each. Be sure you provide an original certified Birth Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization Certificate, whichever is applicable. Copies are not accepted and your original documents will be returned to you with your passport.

Understanding the passport application form and all its requirements will pay off with a speedy and smooth passport process. You'll have your passport within 3 to 4 weeks and will be glad you took the time to learn. You'll soon be helping your friends who also want a passport and they'll benefit from the time you spent.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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Everything You Wanted to Know About US Passports But Were Afraid to Ask

Owning a passport may be the last thing on your mind. I know, who needs a passport? Well, you just might if you ever get the travel bug and want to go somewhere beyond our national borders. You may not need it now, but since an adult passport lasts for 10 years, applying early may be the smartest thing you ever did.

A passport can open travel doors for you like magic. Next time you stand in the security line at the airport, watch which line goes faster? If you're paying attention you'll notice that the people flipping open their passport zip through in record time, while those fumbling with their driver's licenses seem to take forever. The security guard spends ages looking down at the card and squinting to read those tiny letters. Seconds tick on, but the passport folks are already putting their shoes back on!

Convinced? Okay, great. Here's what to do. First, start digging through those boxes labeled "important documents" and if you're lucky to find that musty but original birth certificate, the one with the raised embossed seal, you're ready to go. If not, or you only find a photocopy, get on the internet and pull up the web site for the Centers for Disease Control and click your way into the section National Center for Health Statistics. Here is everything you need to know about replacing your Birth Certificate. Naturalization certificates are handled by the U.S. Immigration department as are Citizenship certificates.

Once that's handled, browse your way over to the web site for the United States Department of State. Here's where you can download the application form DS11 - "Application for a U.S. Passport." If your printer is broken or you're out of ink, go visit the U.S. Post Office in your area for a hard copy or try the library or other government agencies in your city. Fill this form out carefully as white-out is a no-no and smudges aren't allowed. By all means, don't sign it before turning it in as your signature has to be witnessed.

The State Department web site is also the place to find out where to get a passport photo taken plus where to deliver your application, pay your fees and mail it the whole packet. My first choice is always the U.S. Post Office as you can take care of it all under one roof. You can even buy a good, strong mailing envelope and arrange to send it certified, so as to trace it in case the unthinkable happens.

Your pocketbook will take a bit of a hit, as passport fees run around $100.00 total give or take. There's just no getting around paying but you actually will save money if you're not in a hurry, as "expedited" service is even more. You may have to start a little "passport savings fund", but don't wait long as prices are always subject to change.

In 3 or 4 weeks after mailing, you should have your shiny new passport in your hand and soon you'll be the one zipping through those security lines. Be sure to wear clean socks!

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways.

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What You Need to Know About the United States Passport Office

A United States passport agency is the first place you need to visit if you want to get a passport in the US. A passport is required if you want to go to any other country. This includes countries close to the US, such as Canada and Mexico. Visiting the United States passport agency can be an easy experience as long as you plan in advance and know what information to bring.

Finding a nearby passport office: Passport offices are generally located inside other government buildings like post offices or public libraries, so they can be difficult to find. The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs maintains a website with a listing of all the passport offices in the United States.

You may not need to go to the passport office: If you already have a passport that you can send in with your application and are eighteen or older, you may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. If this is the case, you can download the form from the internet and send it directly to the passport office.

Not eligible to renew by mail: If your most recent passport was lost or damaged or is over fifteen years old, if you are a minor, or you have never had a passport, you will need to visit the passport office in person. In addition, minors applying for passports must have both their parents present when they go to the office.

Gathering the necessary documents: Before you go to the passport office, you should make sure you have all the required documents. These are all listed on the website. You will need two pictures of yourself, money for fees, a document proving your identity and a document proving your citizenship. If your name has changed for any reason, documentation will be required for that as well.

Photographs: The passport office requires the pictures that you submit meet some very specific criteria. Passport offices will offer to take your passport picture for about $15. By doing this, you will ensure that your picture meets all of the necessary specifications.

Hours: Passport offices decide on their hours individually and are not just open during normal business hours. If you need to visit the passport office, it is advisable to call ahead to confirm that they are open so that you do not go there only to realize that they are closed.

Do not procrastinate: Try to get to the passport office as soon as you know you will need a passport. The application process takes a while because the government has to process and approve your passport, and then ship it to you. This usually takes the passport office about four to six weeks. If you do not have that amount of time, you may expedite the process by paying a $60 fee so that you can cut the wait time down to two or three weeks.

Employees are trained to help make this process easier for you and usually understand that this is not something you do every day. As long as you bring all the necessary materials to the office and plan in advance, the process of obtaining a passport at the United States passport office is simple and quick.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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What You Need to Know About Renewing a Passport

There are many things to do when planning a trip overseas. Renewing a passport may be one of them. Renewal of your passport is easy to do these days. Renewal forms are available online and many people qualify for renewal by mail.

When to Renew: Passports for adults are valid for ten years provided that the original passport was received after you turned 16. Children under the age of 15 must renew their passports every five years. Damaged passports regardless must be renewed immediately. If you have gotten married or divorced, you will also need to renew your passport if your name has been changed.

Where to Renew: Application Agency's accept passport renewal applications. Many will find it easier to apply through the mail. Renewal forms are available at Travel.State.Gov website and include instructions. Additional forms, available online, are required if you are renewing your passport due to a name change.

What do I Need: A renewal application requires the same things that a first application did. Two identical photographs of just your head and shoulders, identification documents, and properly filled out forms. If you are going to an Application Agency to renew your passport do not sign the forms. Many find filling out the forms online then printing them is easier. The applications can be read and usually there are no delays due to illegible handwriting. If a name change is part of the renewal process your marriage certificate or divorce decree must be included.

How Long: Renewal of your passport will take between four and six weeks to be approved. Occasionally the agency falls behind especially if they have received many applications. Allowing yourself time for the unexpected will prevent last minute worries.

Renewal Denial: Criminal convictions occasionally prevent renewal of your passport. Application Agencies can provide you with the current list of convictions that will prevent renewal. If you owe the Internal Revenue Service back taxes your passport renewal will be denied. The Department of Health and Human Services has a file of people who owe more than $2,500 in back child support. Passports will be denied to anyone who owes back child support. If your passport renewal has been denied for back taxes or child support it can take an additional four to eight weeks to have your name removed from those lists.

Renewing your passport is something that is best done before you leave the country.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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US Passport Renewal - Quick and Easy!

So your U.S. passport is just about ready to expire. It probably doesn't seem like it's been almost 10 years since you first applied for a passport. Now you're starting to remember. What a lot of work! Forms that had to be presented in person, all that trouble digging up your original birth certificate and the cost was really high. But, you'll be happy to learn that a US passport renewal is so much easier than a first time application.

One of the best things about renewing a passport is that you can do it all by mail. The United States Department of Defense has a special form just for you. It's called a DS-82: "Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail". You'll need to either pick up that form at your local passport processing office, such as the U.S. Post Office, or you can download and print it online by visiting the State Department's web page.

A recent photograph is required, as most everyone changes in 10 years. As with the initial application, it must be an authorized passport photo, size 2x2 inches. Check with your local U.S. Post Office to see if they have passport photo services.

Although you no longer have to verify your citizenship status with a Birth Certificate, etc., any name changes will need supporting documentation. If you've married, divorced or changed your name for any other reason, you'll have to send original certified documents which show that change.

Fees for a renewal are currently set at $60.00. You'll need to make out a check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State. They don't take credit cards.

Don't forget to budget for the price of the passport photos as well as mailing envelope and postage.

Once everything is gathered, be sure to sign your application form and don't forget to also include your old passport. Just to be safe, make a copy of everything for yourself before sealing the envelope.

Waiting time for a renewal is 4 to 6 weeks typically. You can go for a rush service, which is a 3 to 4 weeks, but you'll have to pay extra. Take a look at the web site for the United States Department of State to confirm the fee for this service and also check for any updated information as requirements can change.

Soon you'll have your new passport in your hand, good for another 10 years. Keep it somewhere safe and it will be waiting for you when you head off on your next vacation.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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The Passport Application Process For United States Citizens

Applying for a passport may not be on your top-ten list of things to do, but it is worth your while to take the time to apply for this important document. Not only will it speed you through travel security lines, both inside of and outside of the United States, but it will come in handy for any situation which requires a photo identification that is accepted around the world.

Passports are a verification of who you say you are as well as a confirmation of your citizenship. No other document needs to meet the strict qualifications and supporting evidence that's required to apply for a passport, which is why it is so widely accepted. There are several steps when applying for a first time passport, but since your passport is good for 10 years, and renewal is much easier, you'll only have to go through this level of work once.

Start by locating a passport acceptance and processing office close to you. A United States Post Office meets this requirement and is the most familiar and convenient for many people. Libraries and local government buildings also qualify. You can check in the phone book or visit the web site for the United States Department of State and use their convenient search link. This link lets you search by zip code and distance as well as city and state. You can further refine your search if handicapped access is required and it's worth narrowing the list to those that also produce passport photographs.

Speaking of passport photos, these can't just be your favorite shot from your last vacation. As with a driver's license, the picture must meet certain requirements, such as size and composition. Local copy centers such as Kinko's also typically make passport photos, but if you select a processing site that does this service, you'll be saving yourself an extra trip.

The passport application itself can be downloaded from the U.S. Department of State web site, or picked up at the application center. If you download and print it at home, check it carefully as anything smudged, smeared or illegible will cause it to be rejected.

Use only black ink to fill it in and don't sign it before showing up in person at the processing center. The official will need to witness your signature.

Since citizenship is verified before a passport is issued, you'll also need a certified and embossed Birth Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization Certificate. These must be originals, not copies. If you need to write away for a replacement certificate, it's a good idea to order 2 so you'll always have a spare. Photocopies of these important documents are seldom accepted as proof of citizenship.

As you may have guessed, passports aren't free, so be prepared to pay. Fees change over time but the typical cost is around $100.00. Photos are an extra charge, depending on where you have them taken, but typically that's between $10.00 and $20.00. If you're rushed and need your passport expedited, add on more money. Mailing fees can also add up, as sending by a traceable method is highly recommended.

You'll need to wait approximately 2 to 3 weeks to receive your passport, but allow a few more weeks on top of that just to be safe. Starting the application process at least a month or more before you need your passport will allow for any unexpected problems. Soon you'll be the proud owner of a U.S. Passport and will find yourself smiling as you sail though those long security lines at the airport!

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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Yes, Passports Do Need to Be Renewed!

Now-a-days, many more people have taken the time and trouble to apply for a passport, even if they don't travel much. Passports can be used for any type of identification, and even traveling within the United States with a passport makes it quick and easy to pass through the security checkpoint at airports. Most people who have a passport tend to put them away somewhere until they need it, only to be unpleasantly surprised to find their passport has either expired or will do so by the time they leave on their overseas vacation.

Adult passports are good for 10 years, and children every five. Since the processing time can be delayed for any number of reasons, renewing a passport within a year of expiration is a good idea. There is a bit of paperwork and, of course, a fee, but the process is much easier than a first-time application.

Except in certain situations, most passports can be renewed by mail. This saves you the time of having to locate a passport agency and stand in line to have your signature witnessed.

Every government agency needs its paperwork, and passport renewal is no exception. You'll need to complete the form DS-82, "Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail", which can be found online or at most post offices. Always print carefully and use black ink. Don't forget to sign it! If you've changed your name, such as a marriage or divorce, you'll need to include a certified original of any supporting documentation.

Since you'll need to send your current passport along with your application, it's always a good idea to make a photocopy. In fact, photocopy your renewed passport when you receive it, as replacing a lost or stolen passport is easier if a copy is available.

The fee for renewing a passport is $75.00. Make the check payable to the U.S. Department of State and include it along with the other paperwork.

When you're ready to mail everything, plan for the worst by using a traceable means of mailing such as certified mail. Also, mail can and does get damaged in transit, so pick a durable mailing envelope such as the "Tyvek" type, which are water resistant and strong.

Renewed passports typically take 3 to 4 weeks from the time of receipt, but times could be longer if there's a backlog or anything is wrong with your paperwork. Expedited service is available for those in a hurry. Check the website for the U.S. Department of State for important details.

Once you've received your renewed passport, you can tuck it away for another 10 years or until you're ready for your next trip.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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Where to Find a US Passport Office and How to Apply For a US Passport

US passport offices are places you've very likely passed by many times, even spent time in, without realizing it. Passport offices, also known as passport processing centers, are designed by the United States Department of State. There are approximately 8,000 throughout the U.S.

The most commonly known passport offices are the U.S. Post Office, your local library or any number of government agency buildings in your city or town. These designated agencies are allowed to accept passport applications, which must be presented in person in order to obtain a first time passport. If you're looking for a passport office, then you've probably decided you need a passport and are finding out what's involved.

The passport application process can be a bit intimidating, but once you understand what's needed, it gets easier to understand. First thing is to find that original copy of your Birth Certificate. It has to be original and certified, with that raised seal. Naturalization Certificates or Certificates of Citizenship also are accepted and also must be original.

Next is the actual application form, called DS-11 "Application for a U.S. Passport". This is available at any passport office, and can also be downloaded from the United States Department of State website. This form is the key to getting a passport, so fill it out carefully, black ink only and don't cross out or write over any mistakes, or it will be rejected. It has to be signed in the presence of a passport official, so resist adding your signature until you get to the passport office.

You'll also need two passport photos, which have to be 2x2 inches in size and meet strict setting standards. Most passport offices also take passport photos, especially post offices, so pick an office that can take pictures for you. Prices for photos run around $10.00 to $20.00, but ask to be sure.

Speaking of price, fees for first time passport applicants are running at this writing about $100.00 which is the estimation of the combined fees for the State Department and passport processing office. You'll also want to buy a strong and durable mailing envelope and send your application by a traceable method, such as certified.

After everything has been mailed in, it's about a 3 to 4 week wait if all goes well. Once you receive your passport, you'll be good for 10 years. Keep it somewhere safe until you're ready for that next travel adventure.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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What You Need to Know About the US Passport

The modern passport contains many characteristics that enhance the appearance and safety aspects for travel. These ensure that tourists can have a smooth passage into the country of destination.

Essentials: Every regular US passport contains a few standard features - a blue cover page with the Great Seal of America affixed on it, a personal data page and a page carrying the signature of the bearer and a message from the US Secretary of State requesting permission to enter a foreign country. The passport covers for diplomats and officials, however, differ from regular ones. Each passport contains a standard of 32 pages, or 52 pages for frequent flyers such as businessmen.

Visa access: Some countries, such as China and Australia, require visas for entry into the country. The time taken and cost for visa application varies from country to country. A vast majority of countries in the world, including most of Europe and Japan, do not require any prior visas to enter. For information as to whether to apply for a visa, do remember to check the Foreign Affairs website of the country you re about to visit, or simply enquire with your travel agent.

Safety: The new US passport now contains an electronic chip that stores all your bio-data and passport information. This is not only to ensure that no changes are made to the passport illegally, but also to allow for a faster checkout at the immigrations.

Passport card: An alternative to the passport booklet is the passport card, specifically for travel to countries in North American - Canada, Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean. It might be a good idea to apply for a card instead of a standard booklet if you are traveling to these countries, since it is not only more portable, but also cheaper.

Validity: Both booklets and cards are valid for 10 years for an adult, or 5 years for a minor under 16 years of age.

Application: Applying for a passport can be done in person at any passport agency or acceptance facility. Current costs for an adult passport booklet are $100 and $85 for minors, or $45 for an adult passport card and $25 for minors. Passport renewals can be done through the internet and mail.

These are just some of the basics of a US passport, and would serve any traveler well when using or trying to obtain one.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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How to Get a Canadian Tourist Visa

A visit to Canada should be planned carefully as citizens of certain countries must produce more than a passport for entry. Some countries, such as the United States, Denmark and Spain, do not have such additional requirements, but if your country is one that does, you'll want to plan well in advance of your trip to Canada.

There is a relatively long list of applicable countries of which Canada has placed additional entrance requirements. The best web site for a complete list is the Canadian and Immigration Canada page. This excellent resource has current information regarding which citizens do need to meet the requirements for visiting Canada.

If you find that your country is listed, start as soon as possible to gather as much information as you can. Each nation's visa processing office has slightly different requirements in addition to what is listed in this article, which meant as a general overview for visa application.

Depending on the nature of your stay, you'll need to complete the correct Canadian form. Some of the form numbers are IMM 5256, IMM 5257 and IMM 5259, all of which are visa applications but the differences depend on if you're entering for sightseeing, business or to work. Be sure to pick the right application for your visit.

All applicants must possess a current passport from their applicable country. Additionally, 2 more passport photographs must be included with your form. Supporting documents are also important as you'll need to show how long you'll be staying in the form of an itinerary; who you'll be seeing in the case of a visit to family or friends; and possibly a verification of employment. These can be letters from friends asking you to visit or your airplane ticket. If you'll be working in Canada, have your employer provide a verification of your future position.

There may be additional requirements depending on your country of origin. Some countries require a personal interview at the visa office and may also ask that you submit to a medical examination to prove your good health. Be ready to meet these requests and plan ahead so as not to delay your trip.

Costs for applying for tourist visas are dependant on whether you only need a one time entrance document or if you plan on returning to Canada multiple times. Fees run from $75.00 to $150.00 per person respectively. Every person in your travel group must pay separately as group fees are not available.

This general outline should prove helpful in planning a visit to Canada and obtaining the required tourist visa but be sure to research for specifics for your country. The internet has numerous resources as does the Canadian and Immigration Canada site which is kept current.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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