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Planning a trip soon? Get your passport for a smooth travel

The demand for passports in Los Angeles has been on the rise over the past few years. Following the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative back in 2007, individuals entering the country must provide a valid passport or any other legal documentation at the point of entry. This applies to all individuals crossing the United States borders, by land or water from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Unlike the past, when people from these regions would enter the U.S by showing a valid driver’s license, the changes in immigration laws are becoming stricter.

As of 2018, slightly over one decade since the implementation of this law, most of the passports issued were up for renewal. Adding this to the high demand for new applications, most people are waiting until the last minute to obtain their passports. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security is still implementing the REAL ID Act, which requires everyone flying across the country to possess a REAL ID-compliant identification by 2020. Any traveler without an ID from their state will provide an alternate identification. In this case, a passport is worthy of sufficient proof.

Many companies have entered the market at a time when the vast majority of Americans are experiencing challenges with their travel visas. They are working to change how the public accesses these services from both federal and international governments.

Here are five tips that can help you travel smoothly without the trouble of obtaining a new passport last minute.

1. Good Timing – Apply or renew your passport in time.

There are many times when people wait until the last minute to file their applications. It is recommended that you renew your passport several months before your trip. You might wait until the last minute only to realize that it is impossible to get the process expedited, which might negatively affect your travel plans. Additionally, most countries will reject passports with less than four months of remaining validity. If your passport is closing down on its ten years validity period, consider getting a passport renewal. Ideally, this should be at least nine months to its expiration.

2. If you travel frequently, consider getting a passport with additional pages.

A good number of Americans do not know there’s an option that allows you to apply for the 52-page passport book. If you are a frequent international traveler, a passport with extra pages might be more helpful compared to the regular 28-page passport. Each page accommodates four stamps, an equivalent of two country visits- entry and exit. You will realize the 52-page passport will satisfy your needs if you are constantly traveling.

3. Obtain passports for your children.

Following the REAL ID enforcement, parents have a sufficient reason to get passports for their children even if there are no travel plans. This will ensure you comply with the changes made so that your family can travel within the country smoothly. Another thing to keep in mind is that a child’s passport is valid for five years. This is quite a shorter period compared to adult-passport validity. As such, it is important to stay awake and apply for a renewal as required. It will be helpful if you are planning to travel internationally with your kids.

4. A second passport is important

You might wonder why you would need a second passport, or whether it is possible to own two valid passports in the United States. But yes- it is within the law to hold more than one passport. This could be important especially to people who often travel internationally. This is because some countries will reject passports containing visa stamps from other countries- especially if the diplomatic ties are not that friendly. Additionally, a second or third passport could be helpful for travelers who might need to process multiple visa applications concurrently.

5. Check whether you need a travel visa in advance

Some people plan their trips in advance only to be turned away at the airport because they forgot their travel visa, or were simply not aware that they needed it. As such, you should always find out all the required travel documents and get them ready in time. The requirements vary from one location to another, which is why you should start preparing in advance.

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