Now you can renew your passport with an app

“Now you can renew your passport with an app”

by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher via “Fox News

passportapp.jpg

Forget schlepping to the post office or the DMV. If you have a smartphone, an envelope and a credit card, you can now renew your passport at home.
Ten years after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) required Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda to carry U.S. passports, the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo app has arrived just in time for tens of millions of Americans whose passports will soon expire. The app, a free download, was released this month for iPhones and will soon be available for Android phones.
The ItsEasy app guides customers through the passport renewal process, starting with determining whether the expired passport is actually renewable. (ItsEasy)
“Nearly 10 years after implementation of the WHTI and the associated surge of passport applications, the Bureau of Consular Affairs is preparing for an anticipated surge as those applicants renew their passports,” said William Cocks, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. “We expect increased passport applications to continue through 2018.”

Frequent flyers may need passport renewals, too, because the State Department has stopped adding visa pages to U.S. passports. Until this year, passport holders could pay to have 24-page visa inserts added when their passports were full.

The ItsEasy app guides customers through the passport renewal process, starting with determining whether the expired passport is actually renewable.

There are numerous reasons why a passport may not be renewable, said David Alwadish, CEO and president of the app’s developer, ItsEasy.com. “For example, the traveler may not have the most recent passport in his or her possession, or it may be damaged beyond what is acceptable to the Department of State. Or the most recent passport may have expired more than five years ago.

“In each of these cases, the customer would need to apply for a new passport rather than a renewal.”

The ItsEasy app provides guidelines for taking a passport photo with your smartphone, and a gauge to help ensure that faces are sized to the proper dimensions.

The app sends an email with a printable passport renewal form and a USPS Priority Mail shipping label to be affixed to a 9 x 12 envelope. The user fills out the renewal form, puts it in the envelope with his most recent passport and then drops it in any mailbox.

The State Department charges $110 to renew a passport within the standard time frame (about six weeks, according to Cocks), and $170 for an expedited one. There’s an additional service fee of $29.95 if you use the ItsEasy app. . . . .

READ MORE

Advertisements

Changes to the US Passport System

We are just now getting this letter from the Chinese Embassy, but it applies to all US travelers!

“The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, would like to inform U.S. Citizens that the U.S. Government will no longer be able to add additional visa pages to U.S. passports starting January 1, 2016. Instead, 52-page passport books will be issued at no extra cost. This worldwide change enhances the security of U.S. passports.

 

U.S. Citizens who require extra pages in their U.S. passports should make an appointment to come to the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services unit before December 31, 2015. Once the change goes into effect worldwide, we recommend that U.S. Citizens who travel frequently renew their passports early to ensure they have enough blank pages for visa stamps from other countries.” 

To make an appointment: visit the US Embassy’s webpage

 

See travel.state.gov for more information on entry, exit, and foreign visa requirements.

 

# # #

Summer Countdown: Passport Applications

Just wanted to remind everyone that if you are actually interested in studying abroad over the summer or fall, you need to start on the Passport process now.  You can’t always wait until you’re accepted into a program in March or April; you need to get on top of the Passport thing early. Even if you already have the Passport, you might need new pages for it if you travel frequently and almost all countries require that the Passport not expire until at least 6 months after the estimated end of your trip.

Every year it takes longer and longer to get a Passport, especially if you aren’t the simplest case.  Dual citizenship, foreign citizenship, criminal records, and a history of visiting or coming from difficult locations (Middle East, China, Etc.) can all add to the wait time for a new or renewed Passport.

Plus, you have to have a Passport to get a Visa, arrange flights, set up hotel reservations, and other steps.

So go ahead and get the ball rolling to make sure you have it early! 

For helpful instructions check out theGetting a Passport’ section on our site “Students Ramblings. We also have information for ‘Renewing your Passport. Or just head straight over to the State Department’s website.