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Passports or other accepted documentation are now highly recommended to return to the U.S. from Mexico by land.
In a nutshell, U.S. and Canadian citizens older than 16 years old have to show a passport, passport card or another accepted document to cross back into the U.S. Children under 16 may show an original or copy of their birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, a Canadian Citizenship Card or a passport if they have one. Learn more.
Maybe. If your drivers license is an Enhanced Driver's License from New York, Vermont, Washington, Michigan, Québec, British Columbia, Manitoba, or Ontario it will be accepted. At this time drivers licenses from California, Arizona, Texas and the rest of the U.S. states are not enhanced. You may use a driver's license and birth certificate to cross back into the U.S., however we have heard this may create delays at U.S. secondary inspection.
If you plan on doing any international air travel, a passport is your only option. If you will only cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico by land in your personal vehicle, a passport card is a less expensive alternative to a passport. If you would like the added benefit of a dedicated commuter lane for speedier entry into the U.S., consider the SENTRI pass.
It depends on whether or not you are applying for the first time. If you are applying for your very first passport, you will have to make an appointment at your nearest passport agency to submit your application in person. If you are just renewing your passport, you may be eligible to renew it through the mail. Learn how to obtain a passport from a U.S. Post Office.
You will need to apply for your passport in person if...
If you need to apply for your passport in person or if you need your passport processed within two weeks, you DO need to make an appointment. All passport agencies take applications by appointment only, so you should call in advance. Most of the agencies in the US are open between 9am and 4pm, although some offices do close at 3:30pm. The good news is that there is no charge for an appointment at any passport agency. Don't pay anybody (or any business) that tries to charge you for your appointment!
Yes, there are several things that you should bring with you to your appointment.
Acceptable forms of payment vary from agency to agency. You should call your local agency first, before showing up for your appointment.
You can renew your passport by mail if...
ALL of this must be true, in order for you to renew by mail. There are a couple of exceptions where you will need to go into a passport agency to renew, even if you meet the above conditions.
First, you should download the DS-82 form from this site.
Next, attach to it your most recent passport, two identical passport photos, and a $67 fee payable to the US Department of State. If your name has changed since you got your last passport, you should also attach a certified copy of the legal document specifying your name change (for example, your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or court order). FYI - they won't accept photocopies. It has to be the original!
Mail all of this together in a padded envelope to:
National Passport Center
P.O. Box 371971
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7971
If you go through the general application process, as of June 19th, turn around times are four to six weeks for the US Department of State to process your passport.
There are a couple of options. You may choose expedited service for an additional $60 fee. For turn around times, click here. If that is not fast enough, consider a passport service. Some offer service as fast as 24 hours.
Yes, here are the basic steps:
First off, all minors who are US Citizens must apply for their passports IN PERSON.
In addition, in order to get a passport for a child under the age of 14, both parents or the child's legal guardians must appear and present all of the following:
If only one parent appears, you must also submit the following:
Here are the current rates for routine passport services:
Rates for passport cards:
Passports issued to citizens aged 16 or over last for ten years! If you think about it, that brings the price of purchasing and using your US passport down to around $10 per year.
US Department of State - www.travel.state.gov
Dept of Homeland Security - http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=4434
Commercial Carrier Journal Magazine - http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.php?id=46975
Search Security.Com http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid14_gci211666,00.html