All You Need to Know about Passports for Your Honeymoon
By Andrew Marino, HoneymoonPixie.com
Do you need a passport for your honeymoon? If you’re traveling outside the US, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, you definitely need one. With some countries, you also need a visitor’s visa. Here’s what you need to know about obtaining a valid passport for your honeymoon:
Getting a Passport
If you don’t have a passport, apply for one as soon as possible since they can take several weeks – or even months – to be delivered to your home. You must apply for a passport in person. Print the application form and fill it out before you go to the passport office. Just don’t sign the application because the person authorizing your passport application needs to watch you sign.
You can apply for a passport in person at several places, including the Bureau of Consular Affairs for your state, the Passport Services Office nearest to you, many public libraries, and many post offices. To check out the closest passport application site, go to the Department of State website and search for a location based on your zip code.
When you go to apply for your passport, you’ll need to bring evidence of your citizenship, such as a previous passport, a certified birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship. You’ll also need a current form of identification, which can include a naturalization certificate, a military ID, a government ID, a valid driver’s license, or an old passport. Before you apply for your passport, photocopy all of the documents front and back. The originals will be returned to you, but the copies will be mailed in with your passport application.
Finally, you’ll need to get a passport photo that meets the current requirements. Most local drugstores will take and print passport photos that should meet all the latest requirements.
The cost of a passport varies from year to year, but should be around $110, plus a $25 processing fee for first time applicants. You can get a passport card for $30, which is valid for entering the US from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The main limitation to the passport card is that it cannot be used for international travel by air.
Renewing a Passport
Even if your passport is currently valid, you may need to renew it before your honeymoon if you have less than six months of validity left. In certain countries, your passport needs to be good for six months out from your arrival date before they’ll let you in. Check the expiration date on your passport, and renew it by mail if you have your most recent passport in hand. If that passport was issued when you were a minor (under sixteen) you’ll have to re-apply in person as you would when getting a brand new passport!
Expediting Your Passport
If you don’t have time to wait on the normal passport application process, you can pay extra to have your passport expedited. You can pay a $35 expedite fee at the application location to get it faster. The fastest way to get a passport in an emergency is to travel to the nearest passport office location. There, you’ll apply in person and pay a $60 expedite fee. Passports can be ready the day you apply if you get there early in the morning, or by the next day at the latest.
To qualify for this extra service, you either need to be traveling within two weeks or need to get a foreign visa within a month. You’ll need to call the nearest Passport Agency to schedule an appointment. If you already applied for a passport for your honeymoon but don’t have it within a couple weeks of your departure date, you can call the National Passport Information Center to expedite the completion of your passport within seven days of your trip.
Changing Your Name
One concern with honeymoon passports is that you may be changing your name, technically, right before you leave. Don’t worry, though. Be sure to book plane tickets and do your visas in your maiden name as it appears on your passport. You can travel under that name legally, and then change your name on your passport by filling out the name change application and sending in your old passport after you get home from your honeymoon.
About the Author: Andrew Marino is the CEO of HoneymoonPixie.com, an industry leader in providing honeymoon gift registries for engaged couples. Couples create their free honeymoon registry website and receive honeymoon planning advice and travel tips. Andrew also serves as a contributing Senior Travel Editor.