U.S. Passport Rules Are Changing

New requirements were put into place for the type of ID you need when traveling by air, both domestically and outside the U.S.

In general, it is good practice to bring your passport to every foreign country you visit, including Canada and Mexico. U.S. territories are not foreign countries, therefore you would not always need to have your passport to enter Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, or the North Mariana Islands. However, new ID regulations mean that, depending on which state issued your driver’s license or state ID, you may be required to show a passport to fly domestically. This is due to the REAL ID Act, which instituted requirements for the information displayed on IDs used for air travel.

U.S. Passport Rules Are Changing

Since November 2016, you are no longer allowed to wear eyeglasses in your passport photo, unless it’s for medical reasons. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get a note from your doctor and submit that with your passport application. More recently, the State Department has begun refusing thousands of passport applications due to the poor quality of passport photos, so do make sure that yours abide by all of the rules in order to be approved on the first try.

In July 2016, passports received a makeover, including the installation of a computer-readable chip that contains the traveler’s biometric data. This new technology helps to increase security and lower the risk of fraud. Additionally, more advanced technology is due to arrive in the coming years, according to the State Department.

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