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Has the travel bug bit? Dreaming about all the many places to visit in the world?

If so, it's time to get your US Government passport in order.

First, locate it (A lost passport ought not be one of your trip preparation discoveries!). Once you find your American passport, make sure it's still valid. If not, renew your passport. And if you don't yet have one, now's the time to make a new US passport application.

What's the hurry?

1. It takes time for a passport to be completed usually six to eight weeks. (Request "Expedited Service" to shorten turnaround time to about two weeks. Plan on spending an extra $60, plus overnight delivery costs.)

2. By December 31, 2006, you'll need a passport for air and sea travel to and from Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

3. By December 31, 2007, you'll need a passport for all land border crossings to the above destinations.

To get a passport

Gather together the following items:

1. Application Form DS-ll. Visit, click on "Passports" and print it out. Or inquire whether you library, post office or municipal offices are passport acceptance facilities. If they are, they'll have passport applications.

2. Proof of U.S. citizenship either certified birth certificate or certificate of citizenship.

3. Proof of identity your driver's license.

4. Two passport photos two-by-two inches square. Many places, including passport acceptance facilities, offer this service. Additionally, check the yellow pages of your telephone directory.

5. Application fee of $97 for those 16 and older. First time applicants must apply in person.(Note: Your passport is good for 10 years.)

Take the items outlined above to:

1. One of 15 Passport Agencies located in the United States. (For locations, please visit:

2. OR visit a passport acceptance facility. (For locations, please visit:

What's a visa? "An endorsement on a passport, showing that a person has been granted official entry into or passage through a country."

How can you get a visa? Take your passport, visa application and the required fee to the issuing nation's consulate or embassy. (Exception: Australia. American travelers may obtain a visa by internet click: Australian Electronic Travel Authority)

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