Monthly Archives: December 2016

Back in The USSR!

As Westerners are well aware, Russia is very strict in its visa requirements for American citizens and as such, a shroud of mystery surround the notion of traveling there.

What does it take to get to the “motherland” anyway?

Traveling to Russia

One must have a visa issued before departing for Russia, and the US passport must be legally valid for a period of at least six months after the planned departure from Russia.

In addition, one must have an official invitation before being issued a visa-interesting, huh?

It’s important to note that for travelers who will visit Russia, the visas are broken down into three subsections! This includes tourist visas, business visas, and homestay visas-got it?

Homestay visas are intended for use by travelers who are going to stay with companions, family, or friends on Russian territory.

In this situation, the travelers will stay in their home rather than in a hotel or commercial establishment. Therefore, this arrangement requires a special type of invitation, which the Russian host must formally and properly request on your behalf at a local government office in Russia.

Business visas are offered to those who plan to travel for work, and work only! As for US citizens, these business visas can be issued in several different forms but nevertheless, on any of these visas, one can expect a stay of up to 30 days.

Most commonly, travelers will be entering Russia using a simple tourist visa.  These tourist visas can be valid for either single or double entry, with a maximum duration of 30 days, as well.

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Easy Errors

A simple mistake made in the passport application process can lead to a swift rejection or suspension of the application, entirely!

Of course, this can cause major delays in passport document processing and possibly cause you to miss your trip in the worst case scenario! .

In order to save you some time and frustration, check out these quick tips for staying on top of all things passport:

  • Avoid any errors in that formal application! – Things like cross-outs, strike throughs, white-out smudges, or any other botched markings on the application are very important to omit entirely. It’s significantly better to focus intensely while filling out the form so as to avoid error! Remember to use black ink only, as well! Lastly, filling out the form online and printing it thereafter is definitely suggested for the preparers of the world.
  • Birth certificate mess-ups! – Your birth certificate must be an original or clearly certified copy of your birth certificate. Additionally, this should be the state issued long form with parents full names included.
  • Government fee fuss! – Paying the incorrect amount or made out to the wrong name will definitely cause your application to be rejected! If you are mailing your application in, fees must be made payable to the “U.S. Department of State” for the correct amount, obviously. Additionally, fees can be paid by check, for the easiest method. In person, fees can be paid by credit/debit card, check, money order or even cash for that exact dollar amount. The Application Fee is a pesky and non-refundable processing fee, which is retained by the Department of State regardless of the passport issuance.
  • Applying for a minor! – Both parental guardians and the child must be present in this situation. In the event that the parent or guardian cannot both be present, be sure to have proper consent forms notarized on time!

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

Mean Muggin’

Recognize the amazin’ mugs?

Take some visual tips from the best in entertainment or simply bask in the glory of these unforgettable icons.

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Dual Citizenship: Overview

As crazy as it may seem, it’s possible to be a citizen of both the United States and a citizen of another country at the very same time!

Maybe you knew this already…regardless, there are a number of ways that trusty travelers can become dual citizens. Know somebody who’s scored this fortunate position?

Dual citizens can have two up and running passports at one time, and have some pretty unique passport considerations when in possession of passports from two countries.

Dual citizenship with the Unites States and a citizenship of another country can be obtained in a few different ways!

  • Birth!
    • If a child happens to be born to a United States citizen and another parent who has citizenship in another country, that child can claim citizenship to both countries! Pretty simple, huh?
    • Children who are born in the United States to foreign national parents are also able to claim US citizenship via birth on US territory.
  • Marriage!
    • Some countries automatically offer citizenship to Unites States citizens who marry a member of that country.
  • Naturalization as a United States Citizen!
    • Do not fear, prospective dual citizens of the world! When a foreign citizen acquires US citizenship by naturalization, they do not lose their previous citizenship.

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Scoring Serious Discounts on Air Travel

I’ve always heard that when it comes to air travel, it is always worth waiting until the last minute-not for your peace of mind, but definitely for your wallet! Kind of counter-intuitive, right?

Nonetheless, “in the know” travelers have always preached that the best deals on flights and hotels are often available at the last moment. The reason for this is simple.

If hotel beds, airline seats, cruise spaces, etc… become vacant due to a late cancel or something of that nature, the company isn’t going to be making any money on them anyway. In the end, It’s more profitable to sell it to you at a discount, much like the idea of day old bread.

Yes, “last minute” is definitely subjective-but don’t be concerned-there’s a formula.

This certainly doesn’t mean waiting until the day before you aim to leave to book your travel! To be more specific, for flights, there’s a sweet spot about two weeks out from departure when the scheduled airlines get nervous that too many seats are still empty.

Travelers who choose to book flights within 48-72 hours of departure are usually desperate to get to their destination, so that’s when ticket prices go sky high.

In other words, they’re more susceptible to being taken advantage of due to a lack of options!

For components of your travel experience such as hotels, rental car companies, and cruise lines, “last minute” can have a serious range and be quite unpredictable!

An added note for the reader, keep in mind that the successful bargain hunter is someone who can travel on short notice and is prepared to pounce on an opportunity! This includes not being attached to a particular destination in mind, or even desired travel brand.

Moreover, this type of traveler is one who can easily keep track of related travel websites and jump on appealing deals as they go up!

It goes without saying that you’ll need a valid passport to take advantage of any of these pro tips at all!

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Heading to Canada, eh?

Somewhere around 300,000 people cross the US-Canadian border every single day. That’s certainly a lot of poutine to go around!

All together, it adds up to more than 20 million visits by Americans to Canada every year, and somewhere around 40 million trips by Canadians to the United States!

With such a whopping number of trips made between these two countries, one would think that there simply wouldn’t be any lingering confusion about passport requirements for border crossing. Not so fast!

Canada and the United States by air!

All of those lucky passengers flying between the United States and Canada must be sure to have a valid passport book-do not forget this simple fact!

The requirement for passport books to be presented in advance of ALL international air travel has been in effect since the beginning of 2007.

Don’t feel too targeted, as even newborns must have a registered passport book in order to board an international flight…with national security “better safe than sorry” is everything!

Crossing the border on land!

By miles (pun very much intended), the most popular way to enter the Canadian territory is by land. There are a number of options for documentation for both US and Canadian citizens to use to clear immigration at a land border, including:

  • Valid Passport Book
  • Valid Passport Card (US citizens only)
  • Enhanced Driver’s License

Furthermore, adults over the age 16 must have one of the documents listed above to cross the border by land!

Don’t forget that children/passengers under the age of 16 traveling with their parents can use one of the above-listed documents! It’s also possible to enter Canada by showing alternate proof of US citizenship. These are the acceptable documents:

  • Original birth certificate showing US origins
  • Original Consular Record of Birth Abroad
    • * This one is for children born abroad to US citizen parents!
  • Original or certified copy of US Naturalization Certificate

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