Are you ready to travel, but don’t know where to start regarding passports, visas, the mobile passport app, TSA Prescreen, Global Entry, or the Smart Traveler Program? Well, look no further. Here is everything you need to know.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PASSPORT?
- Visit the State Department’s webpage.
- Print out the application.
- Gather supporting documents. (Don’t forget a check or credit card.)
- Run to CVS for a passport picture.
- Head to the post office for a quick interview. Check the USPS website for passport processing hours.
- Wait patiently by the mailbox for your passport to arrive.
- Go on vacation.
HOW DO I USE THE MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL APP?
The U.S. Customs and Border Control is using something we all love – apps – to streamline the reentry and traveler inspection process. The app is free and doesn’t require pre-approval to use. Simply download the Mobile Passport app from the Google Play or Apple App Store and go take a trip (you still need your passport!). When you arrive home you’ll fill out a “new trip” questionnaire and submit your answers. If you’re allowed back into the country (kidding!) you’ll receive an “Encrypted Quick Response” (QR) code to present at passport control. Kind of a skip-the-line for passports. Click here to find out more.
HOW DO I CHECK VISA REQUIREMENTS?
The best and most up-to-date information about international travel is found at the office of U.S. Passports & International Travel
HOW DO I APPLY FOR GLOBAL ENTRY AND TSA PRECHECK?
TSA Precheck will get you through security faster when you fly from an airport in the U.S. Global Entry will expedite your journey through passport control when you return from a trip abroad. It’s starting to get more crowded, but the lines are still significantly less than the line without Global Entry. If you travel overseas more than once each year it’s worth the time and investment.
Apply for TSA Precheck HERE.
Apply for Global Entry HERE.
HOW DO I APPLY TO THE STEP (SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM)?
STEP allows you to register your trip with the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If necessary, the Embassy will send information about safety conditions in your destination country, contact you in an emergency, and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
Sign up for STEP HERE.