Monthly Archives: September 2016

Double Up on Your Passport!

The immediate opportunities that come with getting yourself a second passport are many! Moreover, these benefits are especially desirable to those living in a desperate governmental, or political situation/environment.

Check out some of the perks that accompany a second passport!

Greater Opportunities for Internalization!

Obtaining a second passport can open up a real set of distinct possibilities for your assets and income that are certainly limited for most citizens. This last piece is particularly true for Americans, in terms of opening up foreign bank accounts prior to closing old ones.

As a result of this mounting list of severe regulations, some foreign banks have determined that the costs of compliance outweigh any benefits of having Americans use their services!

As an American, opening a foreign financial account is an incredibly daunting task, with some real obstacles to overcome. In a way, these regulations are a sort of capital control.

Similarly, obtaining a second passport can also make purchasing real estate abroad a significantly easier experience. Of course, certain EU citizens have fewer limitations than others.

Prevent Foreign Policy Blowback!

If your country of origin’s government has gotten heavily involved in the complicated internal affairs of other nations, it could definitely make you a target for criminal activity, terroristic events, and other rare, yet life-altering foreign affair crises.

Of course, there are passports with minimal foreign policy blowback risk!

Travel Visa-Free!

The true value of a good passport isn’t how much you pay to get it in the first place, but how much visa-free travel it allows for! Applying for a visa document that must be pre-approved is a real hassle. Additionally, confronting obstacles to getting that visa can be frustrating, especially right before a trip. On this note, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina all collect a standardized visa fee from travelers who show a US passport.

Afghanistan has one of the least useful passports, while the Finnish passport will really get you places!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Keeping your Passport Safe!

As a basic rule of thumb when traveling, try to carry just the basic necessities and keep cash/ other valuables in a very secure pocket or bag.

Of course, you should always remember that if you put those belongings down, they should stay in your line of sight!

Ask a “spotter” to watch your stuff while you run to the restroom! Make sure that you’re entering marked or otherwise designated transportation services before heading out for your daily travels abroad!

As such, if you truly don’t need your passport or other valuables while you’re out hitting the streets, leave them at the hotel, hostel, or other residence.

Above all else, you should definitely trust your instincts and be aware of anyone who may be invading your personal space, even subtly!

If you have the luxury, using a hotel safe to store your passport is particularly wise idea.

Of course, becoming a victim of theft could easily ruin your trip and beyond this letdown, replacing that pesky passport will cost money and time!

Keep you passport protected at all times and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Beware with Border Crossing!

Beware of Canadian or Mexican border crossing without a passport!

The penalties may be graver than you think!

In compliance with international international law, one needs to have a valid passport whenever crossing the US border. Additionally, if you’re crossing the Mexican/Canadian border by land or sea, you could also use a passport card, as well as various other government-issued documents.

The law which dictates the above has been in place for upwards of seven years and when a US citizens attempt to cross the border by land without a passport or other accepted proof of identity, the consequences are rough!

Still, It’s estimated that up to 1% of US travelers entering the US lacks proper ID!

So, exactly what does happen if you enter the US without a passport?

If you’re driving or even walking back into America from Canada or Mexico and you don’t have a passport with you, you should be prepared for some serious hassles.

Although you won’t be necessarily denied entry to the United States, you can be sure that you’ll get taken out of line and subsequently interviewed by US Customs and Border Patrol officers. Your return to the US will be delayed until the officials are satisfied that you are a US citizen.

Fines aren’t so fine!

As it stands, there is no determined fine for US citizens who don’t show a proper passport when at the border crossing. However, as of late, an amendment was proposed, which would serve to fine on any US citizen who attempts to re-enter the United States passport-less.

Before you panic, this rule is still in the review stage (although It’s being taken seriously). Additionally, this fee is intended to cover the lofty costs of the “extra” inspection/security measures required to admit a US citizen without that essential passport document.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passport Damage and You!

There’s a certain level of damage that governments will allow of your passport, before being instructed to apply for renewal. You know, the stuff that occurs from normal handling and use. 

Let’s start with the good news:

If the rim of your passport is torn or fraying, no worries!

Government agencies take into account that your passport is regularly tossed around, as well as pulled out of some tight spots. Think of all of the frantic airport workers and flyers, alike, dropping, squeezing, and scanning the documents ad infinitum.

Of course, some countries’ rules are tighter than others and in the end, the final decision about whether or not your passport has sustained too much damaged is simply up to the attendant/government agency representative.

Additionally, some airlines may refuse to allow you on board if your passport is just too beat up. As with everything related to travel, It’s better to air on the side of caution. Long story short, keep an eye on your passport’s and save yourself some unneeded hassle.

As you might have imagined, if your document is seriously damaged, or the page containing your identification has sustained too much damage and  therefore cannot be swiped by the authorities, you will sadly need to replace that bad boy.

Here’s some “no brainer” examples of damage to your precious passports:

  • Ripped or compromised cover
  • Water damage
  • Mold damage
  • Chew/bite marks from animals or humans
  • Missing pages
  • Fraying pages
  • Out of place, unidentified marks
  • A tear in a page
  • Loose hanging pages

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Voting Abroad

Voting overseas sounds daunting. Maybe it doesn’t have to be so!

Check these tips below to be prepared for change, not behind it!

As an American citizen, as you know, your vote is a fast track to expressing your own, authentic voice. This is one of the integral cornerstones of our modern democratic society.

From voting in a new representative, to adamantly fighting for important, groundbreaking social justice-oriented legislation (oh, and that whole electing a president thing), you’ll be able to fulfill your basic rights and responsibilities as an American Citizen from a foreign state.

In other words, just because you will be abroad during an election does not mean that you have an easy out!

American citizens who are residing in a foreign country during election cycles can absolutely exercise the right to vote! The Federal Voting Assistance Program makes it really easy for families, as well as lone individuals working or simply traveling abroad, to register and receive their absentee ballot.

In order to this absentee thing, you will need to present a copy of a valid passport when you do cast that vote, so be sure that it does not expire anytime soon.

With several million Americans residing abroad, this rather large population of voters is actually sometimes considered their very own swing state, which makes sense, if you think about how “red” or “blue” said population could be.

Of course, a lot of Americans don’t know how easy it is to vote from abroad, and as a result, there’s a sizable American population that doesn’t cast a vote, at all.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Change to Passport Requirements

New Passport Requirements for Italy, France, and other heavily-trafficked areas are changing the way that folks travel! 

Read below to find out how…

Before you pack your bags for your summer ventures, we’d suggest checking the most up-to-date passport requirements for your destination of choice!

Because entry requirements for international locations aren’t universal, they can and, by all means, do change pretty frequently in response to the global political and environmental climate. Territories including France, Italy, and even the US have recently changed their entry requirements for visitors from abroad.

Until recently, Italy and France required that US citizens have a passport valid for at least three months past their planned European departure .

As this has recently changed, both France and Italy now require that travelers have a passport valid for at least six months past the last date of their planned stay!

As you might imagine, a large number of unlucky travelers have learned about this alteration the hard way, when they get to that pesky TSA line and receive the bad news!

In an act of leniency, some European countries still allow US citizens to enter with less than six months passport validity. This includes regions like Germany and the Netherlands, which require for only three months validity! This variation is on the books currently, but with the ever-changing and increasingly globalized world, the exact fate/trajectory of the passport remains undetermined.

As it stands, US citizens are allowed to stay in the country of travel for up to three months without a visa in “Schengen area” nations. These countries require that travelers have at least three months of passport validity, compared to the aforementioned six months validity.

Now, with Italy and France becoming part of those stricter nations that require at least six months validity, It’s increasingly possible that European countries will follow suit!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Ridgewood Eats

Ridgewood, Queens is a true NYC gem, with a bustling Mexican, Polish, and Chinese population that thrives on unbelievably rich food culture! Located on the Bushwick border, the region has become a distinct blend of multi-ethnic and economically diverse backgrounds.

Read below for the writer’s personal favorites for mighty fine eating.

Mally’s 2

This hole in the wall taco shop is an incredible representative of the thriving Mexican food culture presence that dominates the picturesque, sleepy streets.

Mally’s 2 is a single-person kitchen, run by an incredibly hard-working and masterful purveyor of classics ranging from fried whole fish, to to-die-for tortas!

Be sure to try the chicken tacos with extra green salsa – this place is easily overlooked, but ripe for taco fanatics of all likes.

Norma’s Corner Shoppe

In Ridgewood’s Polish subsections, Norma’s reigns supreme. With lines that easily overrun the otherwise peaceful Queens block, this place is the brunch spot for hipster newcomers and long-time residents alike!

Homemade bagels and biscuits are certainly worth waiting for and with imaginative and refreshing sandwich combinations, this neighborhood cafe is anything but ordinary.

You’ll never enjoy a more balanced cup of coffee than at this breakfast staple.

Guadalajara de Dia

If you’re dying for the most authentic Mexican food experience that doesn’t break the bank, check out this absolute hub for Mexican imported goods, and a kitchen that produces pure culinary delights.

The heavenly tortas and deliciously shred-able queso hebra from cheese display make this spot a total winner. With delivery to boot, there’s nothing stopping this powerhouse peddling the realest deal around.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passport Seizure: What You Need to Know

You probably watched some coverage on the somewhat infamousSummer Olympics in Rio-It didn’t just set records in swimming and weightlifting but perhaps also in number of passport seizures during the games!

Of course, the most publicized passport seizures occurred after multiple US olympic swimmers (yes, including Ryan Lochte), did some college-style property damage a Brazilian gas station after a night of olympic-proportion drinking.

As the relentless media frenzy ensues, it makes sense to start asking questions!

So, what exactly is a passport seizure? Who has the authority to seize a passport? And, of course, why?

What Is a Passport Seizure?

This ominous term refers to the act of a passport being confiscated by a government-authorized official so that the passport holder cannot exit or enter a territory/country. Additionally, passports may be seized by foreign governments if the subject is accused of committing a crime in the midst of traveling internationally.

In extreme cases, passports can also be lawfully seized by the government of issue while the holder is at home in order to prevent flight out of the country (awaiting trial, criminal investigation, etc…). Certain countries have even been known to seize passports for political reasons, including preventing protesters and journalists alike from leaving the country (pretty messed up, eh)?

You should know that passport seizures are commonly temporary and the aforementioned process is not the same as cancelation or revocation.

It’s incredibly important to note that outside the US, the physical seizure of passports is usually the work of police officers and furthermore, the order to seize the passport could come from branches of the country’s government and is frequently ordered by a judge, or some other member of the judicial branch.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Picture Perfect!

You’ve got a lot on your plate while planning your next getaway! Don’t forget to nail that photo to ensure success at the gates!

Get a Picture Perfect Passport and Prevent Delays!

Wouldn’t you know it,? September is National Passport Awareness Month!

What better way to celebrate than by killing it at your home passport photo shoot!

Here’s the sad truth: Every year, around 200,000 US passport submissions are flat-out denied because the photos don’t meet the government-issued standards.

We want to guarantee your passport photo success!

According to a little group called the US State Department, there are some predictable problems amongst pesky passport photos applications!

Sizing

Remember that passport photos must be 2X2 squares and if it’s been printed on a larger piece of photo paper, it will surely need to be cropped and cut.

Keep in mind that your face must also be 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head!Avoid rejection by sizing your image to government-issued regulations!

Lighting

Obviously, your photo(s) will need to be well-lit and without shadows. When your photo is printed out and all, take the time to make sure that it’s not too dark or too light.

Photos that are overexposed or washed out will surely be rejected. Additionally, your photo will be required to have a white background!

Pesky 6 Month Rule!

As you probably already know, your passport photo must be relatively recent and reflect your genuine current appearance.

Thus, if your photo was taken more than six months ago, be sure to safely destroy it and get yourself a new travel document!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

 

How To: Getting Your Passport

Simply, here are the tips for getting underway with your US passport! Bon voyage!

Have the Documents you need!

The necessary documents are a simple Proof of Citizenship and Proof of Identity.

There are a number of different documents that can be used, however.

This depends on whether or not this is the first time applicant, or if the passport is intended for a minor.

 

  • Proof of citizenship includes:
    • Previous US passport
    • Birth certificate for those born inside the US.
    • For those born outside the US, a Certificate of Citizenship (or like document) will be necessary upon submission
  • Proof of identity includes:
    • Previous US passport
    • Driver’s license
    • Current government or military ID
    • Naturalization Certificate.

*These items should include both your photo and your signature!

*In the absence of an ID, you will need two forms of secondary identification.

With fairly lenient protocol on this front items like a social security card, credit card or even a library card will do. In fact, one can even appear with a witness, who will need their own sufficient forms of ID.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

LA Beach Guide

Passport Ranking!

Are all passports created equal? Not quite! Passports from different countries actually grant document-holders access to differing numbers of countries/territories.

Curious about how your country’s passport fares?

This ranking shows which passports give holders the most global mobility, based on how many countries can be visited without a visa, or by getting one when you get there!

As demonstrated by these findings, developed countries with advanced economies fare the best when it comes to passport mobility. Unsurprisingly, tied for first place are U.S. and U.K. passports, which give holders access to 147 countries.

Passports from the world’s most populated country, China, offer access to 74 countries!

Indian passport holders enjoy 59 destinations. A Russian passport provides 98 country options!

Here’s the complete list:

  • U.S., U.K. (147 countries)

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Best Boston Eats!

Pinning down the best eatery in any bustling city can prove to be a challenge, especially one with such a competitive and explosive culinary scene! 

Here’s a few specialty spots to check off your list!

Mike’s Pastry – North End, Boston

The importance of this legendary Italian bakery could not be overstated. This is undoubtedly one of the city’s best! Mike’s boasts the best cannoli’s in Boston, which is certainly saying a lot considering the scope and authenticity of the city’s North End-based Little Italy.

Though lines can easily reach astronomical levels of 20-30 minutes for a single pastry, this place runs like a well-oiled machine! Marvelous twine dangles from ceramic orbs for lacing up the perfect pastries.

When asked if you’d like powdered sugar on that strawberry cannoli, do yourself a favor and say yes!

Coppa – South End, Boston

This pig-loving gastronomical treasure is tucked away on a quiet side street in Boston’s South End.

This world-renowned joint offers Italian small plates by a couple of “okay” cooks…just kidding! How about two James Beard Award-winning chefs? Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have graced the streets of Boston with this gem of an eatery.

Be sure to book far in advance and find a special event to make it worth every penny!

Peppe Bocca – Davis Square, Somerville

This place is entirely off the beaten path. This small-time artisanal Italian specialty goods store has more to offer than can be described in text.

The key is following the memorizing scent of the brick oven at the back of this single-room restaurant.

From squid, to prosciutto and fig pizzas, perfect cutlets, and pounds of imported cheeses and cured meats, Peppe Bocca is not to be missed.

Pick up freshly-baked breads and even cop some of Peppe Bocca’s own pre-made pizza dough. Pro tip: ask for that at the pizza oven!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Eating Out in NYC’s West Village!

Manhattan’s historic Greenwich Village is a mainstay of New York culture, from Stonewall, to beat culture, to celebrity residents galore!

With such a high concentration of exceptional restaurants, picking just one can be a serious headache! We’ve got you covered for all things West Village!

Rocco’s Pasticceria

No words can describe the sensory bliss of entering this old school Italian pinnacle of all things delicious. In a particular hub for Italian specialty eats, this bakery is a relic of old New York.

This spot wins a personal vote for greatest cannoli in New York and the write is not afraid to say so! Crisp, flaky shell crumbles under a luxurious, velvety ricotta filling, not too tart or overly sweet.

This treat is the truly the gem of Bleecker Street. Stop by for the lobster tails, Italian wedding cookies, and just about everything else. The espresso bar is not to be taken lightly, either!

Saigon Grill

This iconic Vietnamese eatery boasts a crazy line at almost all hours (lunch in particular), and for good reason! With the finest banh mi in town, Saigon Grill is a breath of fresh air and seriously fresh food in this densely populated culinary mecca. Enjoy a host of asian delights, from pho, to a totally unique and unparalleled cold noodle appetizer. Soups and solid are winners, for sure!

Call ahead to save yourself some time in line!

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

This famed hole in the wall pizza shop is obsessed with perfecting a small array of particularly excellent Italian delights.

The Artichoke franchise has expanded since It’s flagship restaurant opened from a serious familial legacy in Manhattan. The namesake slice is basically bread, generously blessed with a heaping portion of cream sauce, swimming with gently-roasted artichoke leaves.

This may be a pricy slice, but seeing as how this particular piece of pizza is filling enough for a day, it always makes sense for pitstop another Macdougal Street treasure, even at night (grab a cold one, while you’re at it).

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Avoid these Passport Mistakes!

Are you making easy-to-miss mistakes with your passport and related information?

Your passport is a valuable and powerful document, so it seriously pays to ensure that it’s always available and valid for ease of travel!

Read below to avoid unpleasantries on your next date of travel!

Make a Photocopy!

As you can probably deduce, a photocopy of your passport can’t exactly  be used for travel!

However, this useful document is clutch to have on hand! When you’re off to travel, leave a photocopy of your passport at home with someone that you really trust, and take at least one copy to go with you.

Then, if you passport is lost or stolen while traveling (fear not!), it will undoubtedly be much easier to get a new passport at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate if you have a photocopy of your lost passport to present.

While traveling abroad, a photocopy of your passport can also be incredibly useful when you are checking in to your temporary residence, hotel, hostel, etc… Most hotels, at least, are strictly required to register the passport details of their foreign guests, and in certain countries, some will ask you to leave your actual passport at the front desk while they fill out the messy paperwork.

Of course, If you have a photocopy with you at a time like this, you can just show them your original passport book and freely leave the photocopy at that front desk! Protection is paramount!

Sign Your Passport

You may not be aware that your brand spankin’ new passport is not technically fully valid until It’s rightly signed.

In fact, many countries and territories will not allow you to use an unsigned passport to enter and It’s an even bigger issue if you have to apply for a visa before your time of travel.

When you do receive your shiny new passport, follow these simple guidelines and stay in the clear:

  • Be sure to sign your passport in blue or black ink and not with a pencil, marker, etc…
  • Remember to sign your passport with your full name as listed on your passport! This includes your middle name!
  • You should know that children under age 16 may sign their own passports but the passport must also be signed by at least one parent/guardian.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Longing for Las Angeles

Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of a short stay in California’s heartland! We’ve got you covered on the classic to-do’s!

Venture to Venice Beach

The iconic Venice Beach has always been a famed destination for a wild blast of California culture and although it gets more than its fair share of tourist masses, the one of a kind beachfront welcomes an adventurous spirit.

This spot is a prime location for people watching, skateboarders, and body builders alike.

You’ll encounter every vendor, artist, and musician you never thought you meet, in this most excellent hub for true LA “freaks!” Relax by the ocean and enjoy a healthy shot of California.

Hit Hollywood

As you may have guessed, Hollywood celebs are never too far away in historic LA. To spot your favorite entertainer and catch a true glimpse of “stardust,” walk the legendary Walk of Fame. Here, well over 2,400 figures from the entertainment world (both old and new) are immortalized in a dazzling sidewalk display.

This place is a serious relic of a time long gone and if you’re a film buff at all, keep your eyes peeled for the famous hand and footprints at a true Hollywood staple, The Chinese Theater. Infinite premieres have passed through its red and gold facade, adding to the renowned pagoda’s star status.

No matter how chaotic, Hollywood maintains a distinct charm.

Art 101 at The Getty

In a completely unique California landscape, The Getty Center is the undisputed envy of museums worldwide for its incredibly generous endowments and its breathtaking hilltop grounds.

Though different from collections of European galleries, it has some seriously impressive masterpieces, which cover a huge span in art history.

Among these works are several paintings by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and even Van Gogh.

The French decorative arts, the blossoming photography collection, and the sculpture garden are must see’s!

Live it Up on Rodeo Drive

Let’s face it-few can afford to buy from the vast cornucopia of of high-end designers seen in “the movies,” so window-shopping is a serious treat for the commercially curious!

Along the breath-taking cobbled walkway, tourists and regular shoppers mingle with high rollers.

Nearby is the famed Anderson Court, which is the only shopping mall ever to be designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Big Plans for the Big Apple

Unsure about what to do with your time in “The Big Apple?”

Don’t squander this brilliant opportunity, but don’t be overwhelmed, either!

We’ve got you covered with just a few tips for an unforgettable NYC adventure…

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Ok, so the city may be packed with selfie-stick wielding tourists and vehicle commotion…but walking over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge is a quintessential New York experience, and not one to be missed! To get some absolutely breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, don’t miss the walk from the Brooklyn side of the bridge over to Manhattan.

If you’re looking to beat the rush, the best times to go are in the early morning or in the evening, when you can enjoy to a most spectacular city sunset!

Stay at the famous Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle, a luxurious mainstay of the NYC hotel fame has temporarily housed royalty, celebs, and political figures, alike. So maybe It’s just not in the budget-fear not, city travelers! You can enjoy the bar all the same! And who knows, maybe you’ll run into some royal drinking buddies or a Hollywood starlet, at the very least.

Lounge at Central Park

What needs to be said about this of this playful green ocean in the nucleus of the city. Sure, the images you’ve seen are unbelievably beautiful and sprawling, but until you can see the vastness for yourself, you may be missing out on incredibly obvious treasure!

Get up on the most unbelievable summer roster of free, dazzling shows! Summerstage boasts the hottest lineups for the hottest time of year (summer months).

Of course, the Central Park Zoo is a must for those with little ones in the party!

Meet some of the most exotic creatures in this bizarre urban oasis.

Hit Fifth Ave

It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking to spend-Fifth Avenue is home to some of the finest shopping opportunities in the entire world!

Start at the legendary New York Public Library, as you wind your way north, and stop at all of the fashion fixtures of this style capital! Finish off your big day out with a Park Avenue dinner and some earth-shattering views. The cityscape is sure to knock your socks off.

Catch a Free Flick in Bryant Park

A movie in the park may sound cheesy or juvenile but It’s absolutely a classic New York affair! Kicking your feet up at Bryant Park is a free and unforgettable night for any happy couple!

Alongside the New York Public Library and some classic mechanical marvels, like the American Radiator building, this park is a breath of fresh air!

Summer movie nights bring everyone together, so bring your picnic blanket!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Longing for London?

So much to do, so little time!

You’ve heard this all before, but let’s face it-London is pretty loaded with unforgettable destinations!

We’ll help you decide how to plan your stay without the hassle!

Hyde Park is definitely one of the most famous parks in London, and It’s also one of the biggest! The space boasts a serious historical significance, as a number of pivotal demonstrations took place here over British history. Suffragettes fought valiantly for the right to vote at this site, and the famous Speaker’s Corner is still occupied by debates and protests today.

On the Serpentine, you can go paddle-boating, and see glorious swan, all while taking in a serious breath of fresh air in the city center.

Westminster is regarded as a political center of London and is also home to the Houses of Parliament! Of course, we could never forget about Big Ben, the bell housed within the iconic clock tower (it still chimes every hour, on the hour).

You can also find Westminster Abbey here, which is usually open to the public! While visiting these essential British landmarks, don’t forget to kick your feet up in Parliament Square, graced by the beautiful life-size sculptures of Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.

Camden is a culturally-rich neighborhood in north London, known for its bustling nightlife, goths, punks, rockabillies and tourists alike! Camden Market is an ethnically-diverse and highly stimulating experience, in itself, with street food from international cuisines, and plenty of vendors with artwork that would make any gift-giver a happy camper.

Dig through endless vintage clothing racks, find a “far out” book to take on your upcoming travels, or visit the city’s best vegan bakery called “Cookies And Scream.”

 

OK, fine-I guess a trip to London isn’t complete until you see the London Eye which was originally constructed to celebrate the new millennium! The Eye is better known as that giant ferris wheel you’ve seen in pictures!

With its breathtaking views across the city, the wheel is lit up in seasonal colors and is the absolute centerpiece of London’s New Year’s fireworks display, which happens every year.

One can enjoy one of these spacious pods with other travelers or “live it up” ad splurge on a private pod for you and your special someone!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Your Top To-Do in San Fran!

San Franciso is an undeniable California gem! Don’t miss the abundant opportunities to get to know this sourdough-loving city!

Golden Gate Bridge by foot!

Walking, biking, or simply venturing across the bridge is a free, yet unforgettable adventure for tourists and residents alike. Travelers can soak up the soaring towers, magnificent city skyline, or the jeweled Pacific Ocean stretching distantly into the horizon.

The Golden Gate never fails to impress, even when blanketed by fog. Don’t miss the most highly photographed bridge in the world (It’s for a reason).

Ferry Building produce shopping!

For a full three days a week ( Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (up until 2pm)), scores of food-frenzied shoppers can be found happily surveying the overflowing produce stands of the Ferry Building Marketplace, an iconic destination where up to 75 regional farmers and artisan food purveyors of specialty goods offer a daunting array of organic produce, and gourmet snacks, oils, meats, cheeses and baked goods.

This place even boasts beautiful flowers! Local companies like Acme Bread and Blue Bottle Coffee enjoy a permanent home here!

Dumpings at Yank Sing!

The enticing scent emanating from the iconic dumplings at Yank Sing are so irresistible, you’ll probably down the things before finding out what’s in them.

Amazingly fresh and impressively flavorful dim sum is undoubtedly what keeps this longtime restaurant thriving in an unsuspecting wing of a looming office complex. Notable dished include shanghai dumplings with pork, scallion, ginger and a hot broth, and stuffed crab claws!

Hop on the Cable Cars!

San Francisco’s beautiful cable cars are a real relic of a time long gone. Three cable car lines depart from Union Square and the end of California Street, traveling at top speeds of a sluggish yet enjoyable 9 mph through some really prime San Francisco gems! Ride the rails and make some memories-save the cab fare, while you’re at it!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Airport Passport Lines-the long and short of it!

Anybody who’s ever flown knows that airports can be a massive time suck!

However, some airports are much better at getting hurried travelers swiftly through pesky passport security than others!

As you might imagine, the top airports which experience the highest number of international flights also have some of the longest wait times for getting passports properly examined.

John F. Kennedy airport, an undeniable fixture of the New York City landscape, receives 14.6 million travelers arriving from abroad every single year! Similarly, Miami International Airport sees more than 10 million international arrivals every year! The result? You guessed it-the longest average wait times, with both airports coming in at around 25-30 minutes.

Frighteningly, some passengers experience wait times of more than 50 minutes! At both of these above travel hubs, about a 1/4 of the returning American passengers had to wait in line for more than 30 minutes before they cleared US immigration! What a headache!

When considering other major airports, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orlando had among the longest waits for passport control!. These lines were clocking in at 20 minutes and up in average wait time.

Don’t worry, travelers! Not every major international airport is as slow as the above.

Phoenix Sky Harbor and Washington Dulles, for example, are also are busy airports that usually get returning passengers through those troublesome gates in about 11 minutes (or less).

Interestingly, JFK’s main competition, Newark Liberty Airport, is a surprisingly efficient option, with average wait times of 17 minutes at passport checkpoints.

The winner in this speed-demon countdown? Chicago-Midway Airport, which clears passengers through passport control in an average of only 9 minutes, is a model to strive for!

Here’s a common question for frequent flyers: Are small airports faster than the rest?

While those smaller airports have the advantage of receiving fewer passengers, they won’t always have shorter lines at passport control. However, there will typically be fewer US Customs and Border Patrol agents working at one time, meaning that just one or two large flights arriving can massively disrupt immigration lines.

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passport Renewal Documents

As you’ve probably noticed by now (if you’re a passport-holder), US passports have an expiration date and of course, this is taken seriously.

Read here to find out what you’ll need in order to renew that pesky passport!

If you’ve obtained a passport when you when you were younger than 16, that document would expire in five years.

If you were 16 or older at the time of the passport issue, the lifespan is ten years!

It is monumentally important to renew your passport when required, as some countries will refuse entry unless your passport is valid for six months after your scheduled time abroad.

The amount of documentation needed for passport renewal depends on whether or not you meet some specific conditions for renewal via mail, and not in person at a government agency.

Your passport must:

  • Be in top condition,
  • Have been issued when you were 16 or older,
  • Not be older than 15 years
  • Issued in your current name (unless you’ve had a legal name change).

Do you meet these conditions? If so, you can send in Form DS-82, your current passport, two passport photos, and application fee (sorry).

DS-11 is another form to be completed if the above conditions are met. As for the photos, they must be high quality, have been taken in the past six months and show an accurate representation of your appearance.

Additionally, those applicants who are applying in person must be able to prove United States citizenship by presenting an undamaged United States passport, birth certificate issued by a city, county or state government, a certificate of citizenship, a certification of birth, etc…

Don’t worry-these documents will surely be returned to you after the application process is complete.

Finally, remember to bring you personal identification!

Be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!