Remember in grade school how every year you would have to take a school picture for the yearbook? You’d have to dress nicely and you’d try to practice your smile because you didn’t want to look like a dork. The stress of taking a school picture would hopefully be worth it once you finally got to see your picture. Like most kids, you learned to dread having your picture taken. That is why when you made plans to leave the country this summer, you began to dread getting your passport.
Getting a passport is almost like getting your license, minus standing in line at the DMV. A passport is what will allow you leave the country and see the rest of the world. It will also allow you to get back into the US. In recent years, the issue of having a Real ID has arisen. Thankfully a passport is considered a Real ID, so many people purposely get a passport for this reason alone. It’s proof of your citizenship, though you aren’t required to have one unless you plan on leaving the country.
Getting a passport isn’t as complicated as it may seem. However, there are a few things you need to consider before you go to get your passport. You have to make sure you are able to go on a trip or vacation first. If you’re out on bail, you may have travel restrictions set on you by the court. This means you may not be able to leave your city, let alone the country. If you have a past criminal record, you might have to check the no-fly list. To check the no-fly list you can go to the website www.no-fly-list.com and search for your name. Both of these situations can affect your ability to use a passport.
If you’re allowed to leave the country and fly, your next step is to figure out whether or not you want a passport book, or card. A passport book is the most common passport form. It’s the standard blue book, which has pages for you to fill with stamps. A passport card is not a book and will only allow you to travel to Canada and Mexico. Once you figure out what kind of passport you want, all you need to do is a take a picture.
When you go to take your picture for your passport, be aware that they will not accept photos where:
• You are smiling.
• Your ears are hidden under hair.
• You are wearing glasses.
If you didn’t enjoy taking school pictures, then you probably won’t enjoy getting a passport picture taken. However, this picture will at least allow you to travel and experience the world. All you need to do is fill out an application and take an awkward photo.