Monthly Archives: November 2016

Child Passport Renewal!

Child Passport Renewal and You

US passports that are being issued to folks who are 15 years of age and younger are valid for a mere five years, so sooner or later, every frequently-traveling family struggles to get their child’s passport renewed in a pinch.

The truth is that there is no distinct renewal process for children like the passport renewal procedures that are clearly available for adults.

As a result, every time a child needs a new passport, that child’s identity and citizenship must be verified by a lawful agent! Talk about a broken system…

If your little one’s (or tween’s) passport is expired, you will need to follow the same process that is followed for minor passports (first time applicants). The only difference here is that you will need to submit your child’s expired or soon to be expired passport.

Don’t forget that If your child also has a passport card, you will need to submit the passport card as well.

You will have to accompany your child to a Passport Acceptance Facility in order to have the passport application officially closed and properly sealed.

This formal procedure called the  “execution” of the passport and It’s not as deadly as it sounds.

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Become an Airline Elite!

Do you know (or are you, yourself) one of those people always traveling “smarter” than you? The kind of people who always seem to enjoy all of the airline benefits without hassle?

Ever wonder what kind of benefits one can receive with that elite status in your favorite airline’s loyalty program?

Of course, those specific benefits vary from airline to airline, but at the mot introductory level of elite status, benefits may include things like the following:

  • Free bags for checking! Forget that pesky fee and usual struggle to make it all cram.
  • Flight Upgrades! Get that seat that you’ve been pining for. Connecting flights get you where you’re going quicker!
  • Priority boarding status! Be among the lucky few to board your flight early and you’ll be guaranteed to get space for storage.
  • Free “award” travel! Even with “free” flyer miles, there’s often a fee attached to that transaction-enjoy the discounts without the strings attached.
  • The ability to extend benefits to your friends! You know the drill-share the love/pass it on!

At the top level of these elite flying programs, await more benefits, like free booze in economy class, or no fees for services like agent ticketing! Avoid those troublesome charges for changing your ticket on the same day of the flight, too!

Additionally, top-tier airline elites are able to access airline lounges at the airport, where there are free drinks, snacks, business center rooms, showers, and most importantly, a really relaxed and luxurious environment while you wait for your flight!

Gotta catch that business meeting and care to dress to impress? You’ve got it!

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Canada Rush

Although the old “I’ll move to Canada if X” exclamation has been around a while, it seems to have taken on an added layer of seriousness this past election season.

Perhaps  this is a sentiment that you’ve heard or felt in your own life.

No matter how desperate the political opposition, moving to Canada LEGALLY isn’t quite as simple as packing up your ride and heading for the border.  If you’re serious becoming a resident of Canada, you’re going to need to get a residence visa for our icy neighbor country of the north.

It’s worth noting that for shorter stints, American citizens are legally allowed to stay in Canada for up to 180 days without even obtaining a visa. Yup, that’s six full months to enjoy hassle-free Canada splendor.

Want to head north for more than 6 months? Well, you guessed it-for a long term move, a visa is a must.

Canadian Visas

As you may already know, there are several option with moving to Canada – one can head over on a temporary basis (with a residence-type visa) or on a more permanent basis as an immigrant.

Additionally, residence visas are available to US citizens who will work or study in Canada.

  • The Student Visa requires that you have been accepted into a learning institution in Canada – this just means schools universities that have been authorized to host foreign  students.
    • In addition to this student visa, one can also apply for a student work permit.
  • The Work Visa permits you to live and work in Canada while receiving income from a Canadian employer.

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passporting in the Trump Age

As projected daily by a stunned world and staggered media front, Trump’s election to the highest office has certainly brought new, legitimate concerns for immigrant communities in the United States.

Foundational elements of the Trump platform are threatening yet non-existent ideas like “deportation squads” to seek out and capture undocumented immigrants.

Additionally, in this past October, Trump released his official plan for his first 100 days as president, which certainly includes the mass deportation of at least 2 million illegal immigrants.

Additionally, with such rhetoric being legitimized, even legal immigrants and US citizens, may have reason to worry about being subjected to government-sanctioned harassment and search over their immigration status.

In such extreme events, having the proper documentation available to prove legal status should definitely be of help.

  • Non-US Citizens who are legally residing in the United States: 
    • Be certain that your foreign passport is both valid and current to ensure that you do not experience unnecessary hassle and violate serious national security laws. Of course, passport renewals can be obtained through the embassy or consulate of the country of origin.
  • Permanent United States residents:
    • Ensure that your green card is both valid and on hand! As you know, these cards expire every 10 years, even though the residency status, itself does not officially expire at said date. Green cards are required to be renewed when they are six months away from expiration.
  • Naturalized United States citizens should apply for a US passport book, passport card, or a combination of those two documents!

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Check Up and Head Out!

What you’ll need!

  • Learn about local visa requirements languages, cultural customs, and even emergency medical care possibilities in the location that you are traveling to. Some visitors, including but not limited to those with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ individuals may face additional challenges when abroad (It’s 2016, but we’ve got a long way to go…)
  • Look into any travel warnings/alerts that have been recently issued for your destination country. These notifications will elaborate on possible health, environmental, and political dangers.
  • Check up on those recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip (masks, devices, etc…)
  • Be fully prepared to deal with local and unfamiliar currencies overseas. Before you go away, it might be wise to notify your bank and even credit card company of your travel (check exchange rates, too!).
  • Carry contact details for the nearest embassy, in both English and in the local language!
  • Get required documents!

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Applying for Your Passport at a Regional Office

Before your visit,

  • Make an appointment and make note of your appointment! This would be an awful shame to sleep through…
  • Gather all of the documents required for your passport service, including your valid ID and definitely a means of payment (checkbook or a credit card).

At your visit,

  • Arrive before in advance of your appointment time. Obviously, you will some need time to get through security and check in.
  • Go on and get through the security line, where you will need to show your identification and have your belongings briefly inspected.  You should know by know that absolutely no weapons are allowed in regional passport agencies.
  • Check in at the Information Desk. Provide your handy appointment confirmation number or Social Security Number to verify your appointment. From there, that Information Desk will then give you a number for service.
  • Simply sit and wait for your number to be called. When your number is called, you will be directed to one of the windows for service (yes, like the deli at the supermarket).

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Name Changes and Passports

  • Of course, a legal change in one’s name would result in some legal document changes accordingly. Here’s what you’ll need!
  • Your legal name, as listed on your current passport
  • Your current legal name, as listed on your legal name change document
  • Any other legal names you have previously used, like maiden names/previous names
  • The number and issue date of your current passport
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your height, hair color, and eye color
  • Your residential address
  • At least one contact phone number – may be your home, work, or mobile phone number
  • The name and address of someone who can be a contact in case of emergency

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Foto Failures

We all know how difficult it can be to master the art of the passport photo. Here are some quick “don’t do’s” in the hopes of helping you get it right.

1. Too light

Wash-out, over-exposure, and lightness are all caused by camera flash and other bright light sources such (like direct sunlight). Of course, these things all lead to light bouncing off of a person’s face or eyes, causing photo glare. Such issues problems can be easily fixed using a photo editing program (usually). However, to be safe, you should always ensure your flash is switched off for your photo shoot.

2. Sneaky Shadows

Deep facial shadows have a serious tendency to hide or contort facial features in photos. Of course, when applying for a passport, it is vital your face can be seen for identification purposes. As you may not know, passport fraud is still a prevalent problem in many countries around the world, which is why such strict rules have come into the forefront of international travel today. Remember to set the brightness and the contrast of your image for a balanced result.

3. Sizing issues

If your passport agency demands that your image is a standard size of 2×2 inches, it applies to the actual image area, and is not inclusive of that white border. A great deal of passport agencies require that the passport holder cuts off that white border prior to sending along that photograph.

4. Focus issues

Individuals commonly decide to take their own photographs for passport photos and as such, they misjudge the correct distance for capturing the image. The recommended distance is around three feet. A poor focus will result in a series of blurs and smudges. Try “sharpening” the image!

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passport Fees Examined Pt. 2

Passport fees are nobody’s friend-but they are certainly unavoidable.

Find out the supposed cause of these curious charges here!

If you happen to be applying for your first time passport document, a replacement for a lost/stolen/damaged passport, or a passport for someone under the age of 15, you’re going to be forced to pay a Passport Execution Fee when you do apply for that pricey and prized little booklet.

The $25 Passport Execution Fee, as It’s called, is a fee set by the US State Department, but technically, that’s paid separately from your passport book fee.

The Passport Execution Fee is officially charged when you visit a Passport Acceptance Agent, typically found at large US Post Offices, Clerk of the Court offices, and other government facilities.

While these agents are not exactly employees of the US State Department, they are granted the power to review your passport application and identity documents as the first step in your passport application process

Next, once your documents have been formally reviewed, the acceptance agent will seal them into an official envelope for the subsequent processing.

This procedure (executing the passport) and this frustrating fee of $25 applies at every Passport Acceptance Agent across the country.

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Passport Pricing

Nobody enjoys the bureaucracy of the passport-obtaining process.

The long lines, planning ahead, and agency fees along the way make for an all around frustrating experience, if you’re caught off guard! Ever wondered why those pesky passport fees can seem to rack up pretty fast?

$110? What gives?

That 110 dollar amount is the current price of a a US passport for adults over the age of 16. The amount has actually been in place since it was originally set in July 2010. At that time, when the price was increased, the difference came out to $35 over the previous fee of $75.

The $110 charged for US passports is actually comprised of two separate fees. As such, the base fee for a passport book is actually considered to be $70, and there is an additional, second fee of $40 for a Passport Book Security Surcharge.

Amazingly, even this surcharge is further broken down into a $22 charge to (in order to cover the costs of meeting the increased demand for US passports), and an $18 Enhanced Border Security Fee-Well, when you put it that way…

Basically, if you examine the reality of this whole passport fee situation, the money tacked on to your transaction is really just going to the State Department pay for all the additional personnel they’ve been forced to hire in order to accommodate the surge of passport applications since 2006, and toward forward-thinking measures like the biometric chips and streamlined Automated Passport Control kiosks (which have made international travel safer and more efficient).

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Recovering from Passport Ruin!

Got a tear in that ol’ passport page? Did water get where it shouldn’t?

Fear not, weary travelers-here’s a a guide for getting your feet off the ground, and back to flying high in the friendly skies.

Recovering from your Unrecoverable Passport

What you’ll need:

  • Citizenship proof–This means either birth certificate or an expired passport. It is worth noting that if your appearance has changed dramatically, an expired passport may not be accepted.
  • A Passport Application Form, also called a DS-11
  • A letter addressed to “US Department of State,” explaining how your passport came to be ripped, wet, torn, frayed, or otherwise compromised. Additionally, this letter must include your original signature in blue or black ink.
  • A copy of your driver’s license or another state-issued ID (both of the front and back pages)
  • A flight itinerary or another proof of your travel plans.
  • That unfortunately damaged passport replacement fee (…unfortunately)–You will need two checks, one of which should be made payable to “US Department of State” for $110 ($170 if you’re using that expedited service) and a second check for $25 for the Passport Acceptance Agent fee.

Ordering Options

Check out the estimated processing times for passport replacement applications below:

  • Regular service by mail=6-8 weeks
  • Expedited service by mail=2-3 weeks
  • Expedited service at a US Passport Agency=up to 8 business days
  • Expedited service from one of many registered passport expediting company=as little as 24 hours

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!

Boston Music Venues

Looking for a quick injection of musical culture during your Boston stay?

Are you the type who needs to pack it all in for your evening plans?

Look no further this city’s finest audible offerings-we’ve got you covered for all of your concert cravings.

Best Boston Venues

Brighton Music Hall (Brighton)

This venue is a great for high quality sound at a low cost. BMH boasts an amazing sound system to fill the high ceiling and fill acoustic spectrum.

Drinks are killer and stage accessibility is key, as this spot is a walk in, walk out kind of space. One of Brighton Music Hall’s strongest pros is the diversity of It’s performances, ranging from rap to rock and everything in between.

Wonder Bar

Located in the bustling, ever-hip Brighton Brighton, MA, this spot is your destination for all things hip-hop and soul. Enjoy an amazing array of dumpling delights downstairs before soaking up the humble main acts.

This joint is a single room but packs quite the sonic punch!

The Middle East Nightclub and Restaurant (Cambridge)

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this venue to the Greater Boston music and culture scene!

The Downstairs is number one in terms of a high quality sound, but the Corner is an unforgettable music and dancing experience, from weekly belly dancing to monthly funk! The Middle East Upstairs is your rock stop for all things heavy!

The Royale (Boston)

This bustling club features some of the world’s most eclectic and popular music acts. During the week, go go dancers and a rather rowdy crowd atmosphere dominates the space.

The high ceilings and blistering bass make for an incredible listening experience and some dynamite drinks to boot.

Take your photos like a pro and be sure to message us at ePassportPhoto to get quick guidance from our representatives!