Passports 101

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It was the tweet read round the world and one that sparked a ton of discord from both sides. People argued tooth and nail both in support of and vehemently against the small screen star. 

In late 2017, Insecure (the name of the show, not an adjective) actress Amanda Seales tweeted (twote?) the controversial statement. Those against the statement called her out for classism stating that Amanda was speaking from a place of privilege. As someone who makes a substantial amount of money and can travel as freely as her schedule permits, her comments failed to take into account that there are 1) simply some people who have no desire to travel out of the country and 2) some whose work schedules don't allow for it, thus having a passport isn't anything they'd want/need. Her comments, in this case were, therefore, insensitive and uncalled for. 

Others felt that Amanda's comments were justified and that some individuals had their priorities misplaced. The money that some people spend on opulence could, instead, be used to buy a passport and fund a trip...or at least a real bed. 

Regardless of which side of the fence you stand, having a passport does open up your access to the world at large, in a way that not having one simply does not. This doesn't take into account that there are those who don't yet have a passport, but still desire to travel abroad and don't know how to start. This article is for you. I'll do my best to answer a few questions about getting your passport and the cost of travel as simply and concisely as possible. Consider this your How-To Guide to Passports.  


Can you really afford a passport for the same amount or less than a pair of shoes?

Yes, and no, but it depends on the shoes. If you're talking a pair of Chuck's then the answer is no, but Amanda wasn't talking about some west coast slides, she said J's. If you look at the average price of a pair of Jordan's the answer is yes, but just barely. 

So how much does a passport cost?

Passports have different fees depending on certain variables. Whether it's your first time getting one or if you're renewing, if you want standard shipping or you need it expedited, if you're looking to get a passport card as well, etc. Payments for your passport will be split between the Department of State and the Acceptance Facility. You can download the official chart HERE.

PAYABLE TO THE ACCEPTANCE FACILITY

Execution Fee: $25

Execution Fee: $25

Execution Fee: $25

Execution Fee: Not Required

PAYABLE TO DEPARTMENT OF STATE

First -Time Adult Passport Book: $110

First-Time Adult Passport Card: $30

First-Time Adult Passport Book & Card: $140

Adult Passport Card: $30 

Standard Processing: $0.00

Expedited Processing: $60

Standard Shipping: $0.00

What's the difference between a passport book and a passport card and which do I need?

A passport card ONLY allows you to travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. If you plan on traveling to anywhere other than these locations you will need a passport book. 

How do I get a passport?

In order to get a passport you must apply for one. You need the following items in order to apply for a passport:

1. Passport DS-11 Application Form

2. Passport Photos: These photos have very specific requirements which you can read here

3. Passport Fees: Application Fee and additional services fee can be paid by check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of State

                            $25 Execution fee is paid separately by Money orders at all locations, payable as instructed by the facility, or Personal checks and cash (exact change only) at some locations or Credit cards at U.S. postal facilities and some other locations.

How long will it take to arrive once I apply?

On average your passport will take between 4-6 Weeks to arrive unless you choose expedited shipping which will take between 2-3 weeks to arrive.

Where can I go with a passport?

The U.S. passport gives you visa-free access to 166 countries around the world. A full list is available HERE

How much does that cost?

Traveling to different countries can cost a lot or it can cost a little. It's all about setting a planning and doing the research. Travel agents are usually able to help travelers find the best deals when it comes to traveling, but it's not impossible to do it yourself. 

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Patrick Springer1 Comment