How to Get US Passports, Travel Visas, and Immunizations

Depending on where you are headed, there are certain things you may need to take care of before you get on the plane, such as renewing a passport or getting a travel visa or specific immunizations.

The resources listed below are the travel bibles of answering every question having to do with visas, passports, immunizations, etc., and I highly recommend you double check them every time you plan to travel.

US Passports and Travel Visas

US citizens, refer to travel.state.gov for more on all of the following.

If you do not yet possess a US passport, you will need one to leave the country and this should be one of your first orders of business if you are planning a trip abroad.

If you are applying for a US passport for the first time, you must apply in person. This can be done at one of your local post offices and usually requires an appointment. Not all post offices have passport agents, so before you go driving all over town, get online and find out which one near you provides passport services.

Before you go, make sure you have all the material you need to apply for a US passport. Use the links below for more information.

How to Apply for a Passport

How to Get a Passport

It may take up to 8 weeks to apply for and receive your passport, don’t wait to get this started.

Click here to apply for your first US Passport

You will need the following:

  • Form DS-11: Application for US Passport; remember not to sign it until instructed to do so by the agent;
  • Evidence of US citizenship: A birth certificate or the like;
  • Identification and a copy of said identification;
  • One passport photo (if you are a AAA member you can get it for free at your nearest branch, or Costco has them for cheap);
  • A check for the appropriate amount

How to Renew or Change Name on Passport

Click here to renew or change your US passport

You can do this by mail with the following:

  • Form DS-82: Application for US Passport by Mail (and provide the necessary documentation)

You can also find forms to download, what to do if you lose your passport, passport application status, requirements, costs, and much more.

Depending on how busy the passport issuing centers are at the moment, it can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks, or even up to 8 weeks to get your passport. This processing time is updated periodically and can be found online in order to help you plan accordingly.

Click here for Canadian passport information

Travel Visas for US-Americans

This includes work visas, study visas, tourist visas, country-specific requirements, fees, consulates, and much more.

Travel Immunizations

Your one-stop shop for worldwide health and safety topics is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also know as cdc.gov.

This is where you will go to find out if there are required immunizations for your destination country and what immunizations are recommended immunizations for your destination country.

This is a very important step in planning your trip. There are airlines that won’t let you on the plane without specific immunizations.

It is very important that you a) get the immunizations, and b) DON’T LOSE YOUR IMMUNIZATION CARD. It can cause some very big problems if you lose it, and unfortunately, I know this from experience.

General Travel Information

Global News, Laws & Policies

You can read about current affairs and civil states at your destination, find out what to do if something goes wrong, learn how to register with the Department of State (and why you should), find out about legal issues abroad and more.

International Travel Warnings and Tips

This includes warnings, alerts, information for students or women, safety tips, what to do in case of emergency, Country-Specific Information and more. If you aren’t sure whether your destination country is safe for Americans or not, click here to find out.

Related: What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance