Planning Your Summer Vacation? Apply for Passports Now!

The what, how, where and why of applying for a passport.

It’s that time of the year. The sun is warming, the school year is winding down and everyone is starting to think about summer vacation. But if you or your family is planning on traveling beyond the U.S. borders this summer, it’s time to start applying for passports.

There are three options for adults and minors when applying for passports. A passport book is good to travel via land, sea, or air to any country (keeping in mind that some countries require visa). The passport book for adults (over 16) are valid for 10 years and for minors (under the age of 16) are valid for five years.

The US State Department says, “All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air.”

A passport card cannot be used for international travel by air, but can be used for international travel by land, or sea (such as cruising). The card has the same length of validity as the passport books.

The other big difference between the passport book and the passport card is the price. The passport book for first time applicants costs $135 for adults and $105 for minors. The passport card costs $55 for adults and $40 for minors.

Forms to apply for a passport can be found on the State Department website and at your local AAA. You’ll also need two, identical 2x2 photographs. Some post offices will complete this service for an additional fee, many one-hour photo labs will also take the photos an you can have them in advance.

Locally, the Bryn Mawr, King of Prussia, and Chestnut Hill post offices process passport applications by appointment only.

The , Willow Grove Post Office, Montgomery County Prothonotary’s Office in the Montgomery County Courthouse, Montgomery County Prothonotary’s Office in Willow Grove process applications during specific times during the day, but do not require an appointment.

To find the closest location to you and their hours, click here.

The U.S. State Department website is estimating that regular applications are being processed in approximately four to six weeks and their expedited service takes about two to three weeks, door to door.


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