How to Obtain a Passport or Visa

Obtaining a Passport | Obtaining a Visa

The United States Department of State will be requiring passports for more and more types of travel. We encourage all cruise passengers to obtain a passport well in advance of their cruise reservations. The information below will help you alleviate any last-minute rush and expense of obtaining necessary documentation before your sailing.


What is a Passport?

A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.

How do I apply for my First Passport?

To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver's license.

Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 13 regional passport agencies, which serve customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.

You'll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time; if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession; if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago; if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you are under 16; or your current valid U.S. passport has been lost of stolen.

For more information, visit these links on U.S. State Department Website.

My Passport has expired or is expiring. How can I renew it?

You can renew by mail if: Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged; you received the passport within the past 15 years; you were over age 16 when it was issued; you still have the same name, or can legally document your name change. If your passport has been altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.

For more information, visit this link on U.S. State Department Website.

How much does a Passport cost?

The cost of a passport varies on whether or not it's your first passport or a renewal and your age. Passport fees are non-refundable.

  • Routine Services for a New Passport (Form DS-11)

Age 16 and older: The passport fee is $135 (includes acceptance fee)

Under Age 16: The passport fee is $105. (includes acceptance fee).

  • Passport Renewal (Form DS-82)

You may use this form if your previous passport:

    1. Was issued when you were 16 or older.

    2. Was issued in the last 15 years.

    3. Is not damaged.

    4. Is submitted with your application.

The Passport renewal fee is $110 (includes acceptance fee)

Note: When applying at one of the thousands of designated application acceptance facilities in the U.S., you pay the passport fee and the security surcharge to the ''U.S. Department of State'' and the execution fee to the facility where you are applying. Acceptable forms of payment vary. When applying at a Regional Passport Agency, both fees and the surcharge are combined into one payment to the ''U.S. Department of State'' and may be paid by check (personal, certified, travelers'), major credit card (V, MC, AE, Discover), bank draft or cashier's check, money order (U.S. Postal, international, currency exchange), or if abroad, the foreign currency equivalent, or a check drawn on a U.S. bank.

How long does it take to get a Passport?

If you are applying for a Passport in person and select "Routine Service" you will receive your passport in the mail in about 6 (six) weeks. If you apply in person (or by mail if renewing a passport) and select "Expedited Service" you will receive your passport in the mail in about 2 (two) weeks. "Expedited Service" requires an additional "rush" fee plus the cost of overnight delivery services.

Can I use a commercial Passport Expediting Service?

Yes, there are numerous private commercial firms that specialize in arranging expedited issue or replacement services for an additional service charge.

For more information about applying for an expedited passport, please visit:

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What is a Visa?

A visa is an authority issued by the Embassy/Consulate of a country that permits a traveler to visit that particular country. The majority of visas are stamped inside your passport. (A small number of visas are either separate documents to be carried with the passport or issued electronically.) Visas are issued with specific limitations regarding purpose of visit, length of stay, validity of visa, etc... It is the traveler's responsibility to obtain necessary visas for their travel itinerary.

Do I need a visa for a Cruise Vacation?

Most countries do not require U.S. Citizens to have a visa to travel if they are arriving by cruise ship; however, there are exceptions. Some countries like Russia, for example, do not require a visa unless you plan to do your own independent sight-seeing separate from the cruise line's own, ship-organized shore excursions. Other countries like Brazil require everyone to obtain a visa even if the passenger does not disembark the ship in that port. If you are staying overnight in a country before or after your cruise vacation, some countries may require a visa as well.

How do I obtain a Visa?

The Embassies and Consulates of various countries are authorized to grant visas. Appropriate visa documentation must be presented to the Embassy/Consulate in proper order for the visa to be issued. Visa Central obtains visas on travelers' behalf by submitting proper visa documentation to the Embassy/Consulate. This eliminates the need for the traveler to visit, communicate and correspond directly with the Embassy/Consulate.

Do I need to send my actual passport?

For the majority of countries, a visa is stamped on a visa page inside your passport. However, there are a few exceptions. Please view the Visas Section of the Visa Central website and select your country of travel to determine whether or not you must submit your actual passport.

How long will it take to process my Visa?

Various governments have strict and varied regulations on length of visa processing time. Please view the Visas Section of the Visa Central web site and select your country of travel to determine visa processing time.

How much does a visa cost and what is included in the cost paid for Visas?

Total cost of visas includes service fees, consular fees established by and paid to the appropriate consular office for your country of travel and shipping fees for the return of your completed documentation. Total cost of visas will be clearly listed for you on the downloadable instruction form located on the Visa Central site. Consular fees are subject to change without advance notice at any time by various governments. Please note that whether or not you choose to use Visa Central, consular fees must be paid to the consulate for completion of your visa.

Do I have to use Visa Central to obtain my Visa?

No, you do not have to use Visa Central to obtain your Visa. They do have years of experience and can save you time chasing down answers, but you can save money by obtaining your visa on your own. To obtain a visa on your own, you must contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are visiting. Most will have visa procedures and costs on their websites.

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