Passport Vs. Visa – Do You Know The Difference

When do you need a passport and what is the purpose of them?

How is a Visa used and how do you get one?

Some folks may never ever need a Visa and can get by with just a Passport.  But how will you know what you need if you do not understand the difference.

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  1. an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.

Essentially when you decide to leave your home country the first question you should ask yourself is, “can I provide proof of my identity?”

That is the purpose, to official state who you are upon arriving and departing each country you visit.  It is one way the governments keep track of who is coming and going.

To apply for a Passport you will go through the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs by visiting your Passport Agency with is typically your local Post Office.

First time applicants that are 16 years and older will be expected to pay the standard $140 fee plus a $25 execution fee.

Renewals will be $140 flat.


Minors, 16 years and younger, fee is the standard $95 plus $25 execution fee.

Expediting: This is when you need a Passport FAST. The typical turn around time when applying for a Passport is 4-6 weeks from the date of application.  
Expedited services boost it to 8 business days from when the agency receives your application.  

But if you need it even faster than that there is an agency called Rush My Passport where you can get it in 24 hours if applied for during usual business days.    

** If you are a US Citizen the only country you will not need Passport is Puerto Rico as it is a US Territory.

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 noun \ˈvē-zə also -sə\

: an official mark or stamp on a passport that allows someone to enter or leave a country usually for a particular reason
A laymen’s term a Visa is a stamp which is put in your Passport by the country you are visiting (not your home country) either upon arrival or before hand and specifies the basis on which are allowed to be in the country.  It could be a tourist, work, au pair, athlete, business, crew member, diplomat, exchange visitor Visa etc. 

Follow this link to the U.S. Passport and International website and you can access an interactive map on any country to find out what you need to travel there, safety information, travel alerts and travel warnings.  

For example, Ecuador and Australia are two countries I love but they require different documentations.   By doing a quick search on the internet I found out two things.

1.  Nationals of USA, Canada, Australia and the UK do not need Visas to enter the country, only a Passport.
2.  To enter Australia you need a Visa unless you are already a citizen or a citizen of New Zealand.
How to obtain a Visa…
Depending on where you are traveling you will need to visit their official government website to fill out an application and to check their fee schedule. 

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Plan accordingly when traveling abroad and your trip with be smooth sailing!

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