9 reasons why everybody needs a passport


Currently, less than half of US citizens have a valid passport. Even if you don’t have immediate plans to travel abroad, an up-to-date passport is a valuable document for reasons that go beyond gaining entry to far-off lands.

If there is a chance you might need to go out of the country in the next six months, you should start the passport application process now. The State Department reports that it takes a minimum of six weeks to get a passport. And if there are any problems with your application, the process will take longer.

1) It’s a legal ID

If you lose your driver’s license, your passport serves as a legal photo ID for any situation that might require one. (However, it does not prove your legal driving status, should you get pulled over on a driving violation.)

2) Adoptions

If you plan to adopt a child from another country, you cannot visit or pick up the child from their country without a valid passport.

3) Resting easier

Knowing that you have a valid passport can provide peace of mind. For instance, if there’s an emergency and a family member or friend needs your help, you know that you already have the documentation you need to board a plane to wherever they are. (Do keep in mind that some countries require visas, which you might need in addition to your passport.)

4) New job paperwork

If you are hired for a new job, you need to complete employment verification forms and produce documentation. A passport is one of the best documents for establishing your identity and employment eligibility.

5) Child protection

If you have children and are engaged in a custody battle or are worried that your ex-partner might try to kidnap them, obtaining passports for your kids offers some protection. Once a passport has been issued, no one can legally obtain another passport for that same child—and he or she can’t be taken out of the country without the passport you legally obtained. And if you’re going to apply for your child’s passport, you might as well apply for your own at the same time.

6) Process streamlining

If you might need to travel to a country that requires a visa, you have even more incentive to get your passport now. Obtaining a visa is a separate process, so if you already have your passport, there’s less paperwork to worry about. But if you have to wait at least six weeks to get a passport and then have to apply for a visa, it could be a very long wait.

7) Domestic flights may require one

If you plan to travel by plane, even if it’s a domestic flight within the United States, you will need a passport to board starting in 2018 if your state driver’s license doesn’t meet federal requirements. Wait times for passport application processing will likely increase as we get closer to that looming deadline, so it makes sense to apply for your passport now.

8) Going to Canada?

Many people think passports are for only overseas travel, but if you want to travel between the United States and Mexico or Canada, you do need a passport. There is an exception: if you reside in a  state that issues enhanced driver’s licenses, your license is accepted as documentation for travel to and from those neighboring countries.

9) Traveling for work

Although you may not be planning a leisure trip out of the United States, if you are up for a job promotion that includes travel, a valid passport in your possession is a point in your favor.

Go here for more information on getting a US passport, or get free legal advice right here about passports or other legal documentation.