Tag: PassportsView All Tags
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We have not been shy when it comes to sharing our love and affection for some of the new technology making its way into the passport and immigration control line. Automated kiosks smooth the process, and of course cutting down on lines after a long-haul flight is always a plus.
This week some of this travel technology makes its way over to Texas, as Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport is now featuring some of those awesome Automated Passport Control kiosks.
Travel Safety / Thailand Travel / Phuket Travel / Passports / MH370 / Crimes / → All Tags
An entire weekend has passed since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and, in that time, the only news of any consequence has been that at least two passengers onboard were traveling under false identities, using stolen passports.
No aircraft, wreckage, emergency calls, or anything to decipher the mystery has been found.
What we have now is a world distressed by the use of these stolen passports, both swiped in the last two years while the original owners (who are alive still) were visiting the popular vacation destination of Phuket, Thailand. Phuket is an island towards the south of Thailand, much nearer to the border with Malaysia than the Thai capital of Bangkok.
India Travel / Passports / Visas / Travel Tips / Immigration / → All Tags
We’ve seen some good visa news and advice over the last few days, and now we have even more to share. India seems to get be getting on board the technology bandwagon, and they’re streamlining their whole entry process.
The country is boosting its offerings when it comes to allowing visas on arrival to visitors from around 180 countries, and that does include those making the journey from the United States. Right now there’s only like 11 countries that can do this, so it’s certainly quite an expansion. Obviously the thought behind things is convenience, but we’re also thinking that the country is eager to cash in on some more tourist dollars.
Travel News / Passports / Visa / Turkey Travel / IST / Istanbul Travel / → All Tags
You've booked a ticket, bought a guidebook and Netflixed a documentary; it's official that you're excited to travel to a new destination. That is, you were excited until you read that the country requires a visa. We're not talking about the plastic credit card, but a little piece of paper or sticker that means you've filed paperwork and paid for the privilege to cross a border.
Obtaining a visa can either go the hard way (like Brazil) or the easy way (like Australia), and we're thrilled to announce that one visa-requiring country has made the decision to take their process completely online. Beginning April 11, 2014, Turkey will require visitors to file an e-Visa.
Brazil Travel / Travel Tips / Passports / Visas / Politics Travel / 2014 FIFA World Cup Travel / World Cup Travel / Rio de Janeiro Travel / Sao Paulo Travel / Manaus Travel / Amazon Travel / → All Tags
Without a doubt, Brazil is cool. Many elements combine to make it so; Brazil is fortunate to have some of the world's best beaches, liveliest music, sexiest people, most exotic flora and fauna, and tastiest food. Still, there is one bit about Brazil that's not so cool: going through the process of obtaining the visa necessary for US citizens to visit.
It's our own fault, really. Brazil is only doing to us what we do to their citizens wanting to visit the US; it's called reciprocity. Still, the Brazilian visa process is necessary evil of traveling to this beautiful country, and since we just sweated through it ourselves, we thought we'd break it down into simple steps.
Note that spectators, staff and volunteers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup have abbreviated visa requirements for what is a free "temporary special visa" with 90 days validity. If you're heading to the World Cup and think you'll return to Brazil at some point, then opt for the regular tourist visa, which comes with ten years of validity but costs $160-$180.
* Instructions and links below are intended for one regular adult tourist of US citizenship, holding a US passport.
Monaco Travel / France Travel / French Riviera Travel / Luxury Travel / Passports / Travel Tips / → All Tags
The tiny Principality of Monaco just so happens to be both the world's densest country and its richest. Long a favorite of the cruise crowd and wannabe James Bonds, it's more than just Grace Kelly and gilded yachts; Monaco is one destination that deserves a prominent place on your bucket list and all week we'll be sharing why.
Despite Monaco's tiny size and lack of an airport, it is still very much its own country and it'll stamp your passport to prove it. The only thing is, you've got to chase down that stamp if you want it, and trust us that you definitely do want it if you've gone to the trouble to set foot in this hamlet on the French Riviera.
Whether or not you made a New Year resolution, one thing every traveler should do this month is double-check the expiration date of passports. If you've got two or more years yet to go, then don't worry about it. If, however, that expiration is approaching, put renewal on your short list of things to do. After all, some countries require a passport to be valid for at least six more months before they'll issue a visa or even just stamp you into a country.
When renewing your US passport (assuming you already have oneif not get one now), there's a few steps to be completed, whether you opt for a regular or expedited turnaround time. You take a passport photo, you pay the $110 passport fee and you submit the completed forms with your previous passport. But wait just a second!
Passports / Airports / Airport News / Lists / ORD / DFW / JFK / MIA / Airport Security / Travel Tech / Global Entry / → All Tags
Word to the wise: automated immigration kiosks are the new hotness. These machines process the passports of US & Canadian citizens in a matter of seconds (minutes, if there's a line), and we foresee it one day pushing the Global Entry program to the curb. Oh, and it's free.
How to use the kiosks:
Simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
Who's got them:
As far as we know, there are four US airports with immigration kiosks up and running for holders of US passports. They are:
Airport Security / Travel Tech / Global Entry / TSA / JFK / Airports / Airport News / Passports / → All Tags
Pardon the slightly blurry photo, but we're beside ourselves with excitement.
Those new self-service passport processing kiosks slowly appearing at US airports to speed the re-entry process for US citizens are a godsend, and we can finally say so from experience. Already the machines are installed at Chicago-O'Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth Airports, but encountering them ourselves at New York-JFK last week was an eye-opening surprise. It knocked our usual 40 minute wait time down to an impressive 40 seconds.
Located in Terminal 4, whose passport control area often erupts into airport hell after the arrival of foreign A380s, the 40 new kiosks were turned on October 15 to welcome travelers holding US passports...for free!
How do you use it? Well, simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
Travel News / Airport News / DFW / Immigration / Travel Tech / Passports / US Travel / → All Tags
At the beginning of summer, the US Government launched a new way to speed through immigration at Chicago O'Hare. Self-service kiosks eliminating the need to wait in long lines for a passport stamp. Even in the midst of an embarrassing government shutdown, someone was at work long enough to declare they were a huge success, expediting their expansion.
The trial in Chicago went so well, the next airport to see the technology is Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 60% of arriving passengers cleared customs in 15 minutes or less, and 85% of the rest of travelers making their way through in no more than 30 minutes. The Texas hub will now be the next to see improved waiting times.
These three little letters, E, T and A might mean estimated time of arrival when you're talking about planes, trains and automobiles, but they also might be responsible for ruining a vacation down under. When traveling to Australia, those letters stand for Electronic Travel Authority, which is the technological replacement for the huge visa sticker you once needed in your passport. Visitors must have one if they're planning to rock-out on Aussie shores, go on walk-abouts, see the Opera House or pet a kangaroo.
The ETA is electronically stored when an immigration officer swipes your passport at the border and will provide all the juicy details of your travel to and from Oz. Sounds super cool and futuristic, but it's actually very easy to obtain and available today.
The best way to get one is to head to the Australian Immigration website to ensure you qualify for the convenience. The process is quick and cheap as you can get approved online in a few hours, and it costs just $20. The ETA is valid for 12 months, but you can only visit for three months at a time. You must also apply for it before your trip, as they do not take applications that come from within Australia.
We can't all be Beyonce. Taking a passport photo is only slightly less awkward than having a mugshot snapped, and since the person holding the camera is often an underpaid employee of a drug store photo corner, the responsibility for making you look good in the photo falls completely on yourself.
The US State Department gives a ton of photo examples for both bad and good passport photo-taking practices, but they don't address the important questions, like, "can I double down on the Applebee's margaritas the night before my photo?"
And this, reader, is why we're here to help. Without further ado, our top tips on looking good in your passport photo: