A little while ago, my cousin and I where taking about taking a trip, maybe visiting them in Germany in the near future.
So I went to see if our passports are still up to date. Well guess what? Only one out of 4 was still valid. That would be mine. Phew!!! because for mine I would have to make an appointment in Atlanta. Not knowing how long the wait for that would be. Then make arrangements that my kids are taken to and from School. Atlanta is about a 3 hour drive from here. Well I guess I could count myself lucky, that I don’t have to go further like other Germans that live on the West Coast. But as I said mine is still good for another 5 years.
So I checked online to see what the rates are right now for an American passport
|Passport Service Type||Passport Fee||Expedite Passport Fee|
|New Passport Age 15 and Younger||$80.00||$60.00|
|Lost or Stolen Passport||$80 (Child) $110 (Adult)||$60.00|
|1st Passport Card||$15 (Child) $30 (Adult)||$60.00|
and then you still have to add the $25 Execution fee and the $15 for the picture . Oh boy, better scrape our pennies together.
Off I went to make a phone call to our closest post office.
Guess what, they only do passports between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. “no, thank you, Mam. I will not need an appointment today. I am not going to take my kids out of School for that.” But she did give me two post offices that do passports between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm / 4 pm on a walk in basis.
So now all I had to do is check for the next 1/2 day in my kids schedule and tell hubby to take a day off, because we both need to be there to sign their application.
What an act, just to get a document that allows you to travel abroad.
King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament.At that time, documents like these could be issued by the king to anyone, whether they were English or not. Foreign nationals even got theirs free of charge, while English subjects had to pay.
It was in the early 20th century that passports as we would recognize them today began to be used.
Many countries issue only one passport to each national . When passport holders apply for a new passport (commonly, due to expiration of an old passport or lack of blank pages), they may be required to surrender the old passport for invalidation. In some circumstances an expired passport is not required to be surrendered or invalidated (for example, if it contains an unexpired visa).
Under the law of most countries, passports are government property, and may be limited or revoked at any time, usually on specified grounds, and possibly subject to judicial review. In many countries, surrender of the passport is a condition of granting bail in lieu of imprisonment for a pending criminal trial.
Each country sets its own conditions for the issue of passports. Passports have a limited validity, usually between 5 and 10 years.
Many countries require a remaining passport validity of no less than six months on arrival, as well as having at least two to four blank pages. A friend of mine just found this out the hard way this year. She had to get new passports asap, because she was told by the airline that they will not let the person on the flight,if you don’t have the six month grace period, because the airline will get hit with a fee if they let you fly.
Since a few years now there is the biometric passport, I think since 2004. A biometric passport, also known as an e-passport, ePassport or a digital passport, is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers. It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or center page, of the passport.
The currently standardized biometrics used for this type of identification system are facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and iris recognition. These were adopted after assessment of several different kinds of biometrics including retinal scan. The ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation) defines the biometric file formats and communication protocols to be used in passports.
A lot of information in a little piece of paper/ plastic. So you want to make sure you don’t loose it while you are traveling.
Ok, now I have done it. I am getting antsy to go and travel. We have not had a vacation in 5 years. I think it is about time that we go explore more of this wonderful planet again.
Guess it is time to get those passports done, so we are ready.
Where is your favorite place to travel to?