Frequently Asked Questions
General Passport Questions
Birth Certificates are records that are held in custody of the State, City our Country Health Department in the State in which you are born. There is a modest fee in obtaining these records, but it can be difficult to get them quickly. Some States make it easy for these records to be obtained and others make it very hard. If difficult it is generally due to the populous the Health Department is reporting. Recently the US government, in an attempt to prevent fraud respecting US passports has stated a new policy regarding the requirements they place on the types of (or acceptable forms of) Birth Certificates they accept as evidence of US Citizenship. But basically, the record must be an original with the Legally Filed Name, and state clearly the date of birth, place of birth as well as parents’ names and birth places. It must be certified by the clerk or custodian of these records. For further information click here.
The Birth Certificate must be issued by the State City or Country Bureau of Vital Records or Health Department and must be the original record. It must state that the original filing was done within one year of your birth. The Registrar or Clerk of the Records will issue the Birth Certificate with a Statement regarding Certification such as I, (name of clerk), do hereby certify that this record is a true and accurate record held in the archives of this state, etc. It would also bear a raised seal or fresh ink signature near the Certification itself. Nowadays it is common for these records to come in a format that is multi-colored and bears the State or County impression near the corners of the document itself. Copies of any of these records are unacceptable.
The short answer is Everyone – Regardless of their Nationality. There are very few exceptions. The most common exception is if you are a USA citizen and traveling by GROUND not by AIR and are leaving a USA border and entering Canada, Mexico and are in possession of a Passport Card, or you are traveling to many parts of the Caribbean. Travel to The Caribbean is only acceptable without a passport or passport card if you are traveling by boat or Cruise Ship and are by US Border Official definition making a “Closed Loop” which means you are leaving a USA port and not really entering any foreign country but rather staying on the ship which travelers from a USA port and returns to same. The other exception is if you are a minor and traveling by ground on a closed loop Cruise or traveling to Mexico or Canada with your parents. For a more detailed and Authoritative explanation of this please visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and for more information regarding minors applying for passport including parental consent please go to Passport Requirements for Minors 16 & Under.
RJRPassports.com has been expediting US passport and foreign entry visas for 38 years, and due to our relationship with governments we are able to expedite documents like passports and visas more quickly than the standard way of application. Our company is referred to as a Certified Courier Company or Registered Courier Company, authorized by the State Department to act in your behalf in getting your passport issued quickly. There are several types of these Courier Companies, some like us are directly registered with the State Department and others are not and use companies like us to help them with their services. Our company does not authorize nor allow any other company but ours to use our name and relationship with the State Department. We take this license or right very seriously and realize that we are supervised by our government and must follow their procedures and use their forms and methods or we will lose this right to expedite US passports. There is an actual Contract in place between us and the US State Department and this contract placing high demands on our employees and representatives due to the nature of the information you are sharing with us which is most personal identification information and documents. So, we watch this very carefully, and in our databases and files we keep only a very limited amount of information about you and never retain copies of any documents you may have used in applying for your passport or visa.
You must have a passport to re-enter the USA by air and in many cases by ground. Some exceptions: a USA citizen and traveling by GROUND not by AIR and are leaving a USA border and entering Canada, Mexico and are in possession of a Passport Card, or you are traveling to many parts of the Caribbean. Travel to The Caribbean is only acceptable without a passport or passport card if you are traveling by boat or Cruise Ship and are by US Border Official definition making a “Closed Loop” which means you are leaving a USA port and not really entering any foreign country but rather staying on the ship which travelers from a USA port and Returns to same. The other exception is if you are a minor and traveling by ground on a closed loop Cruise or traveling to Mexico or Canada with your parents. For a more detailed and Authoritative explanation of this please visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and for more information regarding minors applying for passport including parental consent please go to Passport Requirements for Minors 16 & Under.
Yes, unless you are traveling by ground not by air and are in possession of a US Passport Card. For more information respecting Passport Cards follow this link US Passport Card Information. Note: RJR Passports cannot assist you in expediting a Passport Card, but rather only a Passport (Book), and if you apply for the card in conjunction with the passport book when using our company the card will be mailed to you separately weeks later
The normal or standard processing times for US passports varies throughout the year and is dependent upon the number of people applying. The busiest time begins in the early spring and stays steady through the end of September. Normally the standard turn-around time is 4-6 weeks provided there is no suspension of your passport application. Using RJRPassport.com of course this time frame is shortened considerably, and we can help you to get your passport in as little as a few hours.
You must replace it. It’s much like losing a $100 bill; you can't just get another one, you have to apply for and pay for another passport. This may not seem fair to some travelers, but it’s important to realize that the fee for passports also is a service fee and includes our government checking the background and worthiness of the applicant.
You must apply for a new passport just as you did when you first applied. There are regulations regarding passports for minors, please follow this link for more information Passport Requirements for Minors 16 & Under.
An Acceptance Agent is a person authorized by the US State Department to verify the identity of the passport applicant and to administer an oath and witness the signature of the candidate for the US passport. They also are trained to assemble the required documents preparatory to being given to the US State Department. The Agent has been given a handbook which outlines “Will call “or “Hand Carry” passport procedures, and the State Department has clearly trained them on the use of services such as those offered by us. If you encounter a clerk who is preventing you from using our services in any way, please have the clerk contact the State Department for instruction. They are charging you $35 to do this function, so we highly recommend that you make sure they do it properly.
The options available to US citizens when expediting your passport applications are limited. First you can have the Witnessing Facility ship the application (once witnessed) directly to a US passport agency. Be careful when you use this method as the clerk may misrepresent themselves and indicate the “they” are somehow involved in the period the passport takes to get issued. They are not. The State Department is who issues your passport and if the clerk properly prepares the passport to be expedited it should take about 2-3 weeks to be issued and shipped to you. Secondly, if you live near a Federal Passport Agency you can appear in person at one of these facilities. They generally require an appointment and can and most likely will take up to 5 business days from the time of your appearance to issue the passport. They can certainly do them faster and depending on the location and population of their jurisdiction they try very hard to issue them as quickly as possible. This is a good method of expediting your passport as you are going right to the authority who issues US passports and getting the direct assistance. Keep in mind none of these facilities take passport photos so be prepared when you go. Lastly, and of course the way we want you to expedite your passport is to use a company like ourselves who is Registered with the US State Department to assist you in the expediting of your passport. We can get them issued in as little as a few hours.
The procedure for obtaining or expediting your US passport is the same even if you have been Naturalized and become a US citizen through the Naturalization process. The only difference is that you submit your original Certificate of Naturalization or if you have had a previously issued US passport you can submit this instead. For more information regarding the Naturalization Certificate please follow this link US Certificate of Naturalization. For information regarding replacing your lost Naturalization Certificate follow this link Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
The “government fee” is the fee the US State Department charges when you are applying for your passport. The standard fee is $110 for adults and the fee for minors under 16 years of age is $80. There is an additional $35 fee for witnessing passport applications which require witnessing and an additional $60 fee when having the Government Issue your passport in less than their standard turn-around time. Our service fee is much different. It is the fee our company charges to assist you in the following areas:
- To provide you with direct and personal assistance with your questions and answers regarding your passport application, we answer the phone, (which is rare nowadays), and we provide you with up to date information regarding International travel generally and your passport and visa application specifically.
- We make sure you have the proper requirements when you apply for your passport.
- We provide you with a discounted overnight shipping rate to confidently ship your passport application to us overnight which is less than you would pay otherwise
- We stand in line personally at Federal Passport Agencies located in the US to which we are authorized to represent you directly with them. All the passports we submit are issued within 24 hours of when we present your application to the government unless for some reason the State Department suspends your application form.
- If your application is suspended for whatever reason we immediately notify you by email and or phone call and proceed to resolve the suspension with you directly. We don’t just mail you a letter and hope you get it resolved.
- We return your issued passport to you via FedEx or UPS which we believe are the 2 most reliable companies to ship your documents back to you. Other services offered by the USPS and such are not as reliable, and we have found they are not worth the money they charge. In most cases, our return shipping fee is less than or equal to the Post Office Express Mail fee and other inferior shipping alternatives
You cannot just replace your passport once it is lost; losing it requires you to apply all over again as if you have never had a passport before, and literally the only difference in there is an additional form (DS-64) which must be submitted with your new application form. You must pay for a new passport as if you had never paid before.
Unfortunately, names and personal information is incorrectly typed on the passport by the State Department when they issue passports. The policy of the State Department is to require the burden of proof to be on the applicant in these cases. This is likely done for National Security reasons, but whatever the reason it’s just the way it is. When you receive your passport and it has an error in spelling of personal information, you need to report this immediately through a reapplication process. If our company has assisted you with your passport and you have this happen (which is very rare because we check these things when we pick up your passport from the State Department) please let us know and we will fix it for you. For more information if you have not used our company to assist you in obtaining your passport please follow this link Lost or Stolen US Passport.
General Visa Questions
A passport is a travel document issued to you by the country you are a citizen of. A visa (which is unlike a passport) is a permit to enter a foreign country other than your own. So, if you are a USA citizen you would have a US passport and if you were traveling to China you would have to have a visa issued inside of your passport by the government of China. This is done through a Chinese Embassy or Consulate inside of the USA and requires fees and documentation to be paid and submitted. Our company RJR provides this service for you by hand carrying your request into a Chinese Consulate office.
It’s difficult to know exactly what reliable and specific information is required when you travel to foreign countries. It is logical to think that our government might provide access to this information, which they do, but often it is not reliable at all. You would also think that an Embassy or Consular Representative of the country you are traveling to might also be a reliable resource - often they are not. Many people ask their travel agent or an airline, but these resources are often misleading and incorrect. Travel throughout the world requires documentation as to who you are and what permission you must enter a foreign country and it is regulated by the country you are traveling to, not your own country. However, frequently TSA enforces foreign country’s immigration policies at USA airports. This is strange at best, but they are seen as authoritative and can and will prevent you from traveling if you don’t have the right documentation. There is an organization called IATA (International Air Traffic Administration) which is not authoritative either but is seen as such by airlines and domestic Authorities such as TSA. They publish a database which is available at the following link. Our company is a very reliable source for this kind of information.
Since a visa is issued inside of the pages of your passport you must have the passport physically submitted to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are traveling to. This can be risky even though many perceived advisors in the travel industry may recommend you do this. It’s important to note that Foreign Embassies and Consulates have Sovereign authority at their physical location inside of the USA. This is true with respect to their behavior as well. They can even lose your passport through their own negligence and it’s your problem not theirs. Due to these risks it’s always far better for you to use a professional visa service such as us to hand-carry your requests into these Consular locations. This prevents the loss of your passport as well as speeds up the process of issuance. Consider the savings you gain by doing a visa on your own versus the fees you pay if your passport gets lost; the savings is about $100 normally and the risk is 4-5 greater than that. If your passport got lost, you would likely have to expedite it to be reissued which would cost about $300=$350 and then apply for the new visa. It’s just not worth it. Pay somebody else who knows what they are doing to take the risks for you.
The visa process requires you to submit your physical passport along with all the requirements for obtaining a visa directly to a Consulate or Embassy of the country you are seeking the visa from. It is always best to have this done by a professional.
Countries that are popular destinations to US Citizens such as China or Brazil or India have a large number of visas, they issue every year. To control the work load they separate out this load by designating certain States and in some cases even counties in the US which belong to that Country’s Embassy or Consulate. For example: if you lived in Florida and wanted to request an Indian visa you would be required to apply for this visa at the Indian Consular Authority in Atlanta Georgia. Trying to process outside of Jurisdiction normally is not allowed even with personal appearance by the applicant. Many countries such as China do not allow you to deal with them directly by mail or post and require either a personal appearance or submission by proxy as is the case with visa services such as ours. This information is part of ascertaining information for foreign travel and you should have a reliable resource to count on for this information.
A Consular Fee is the fee one pays to the Embassy or Consulate of the country they are requesting a visa of. These fees can be quite high and gotten higher during the Bush administration. Prior to this time they traditionally were very inexpensive but then our country raised the fee foreigners pay to come to the USA and since the whole business of visas and foreign entry is based on tit-for-tat if one country raises a fee or sets a new requirement so does the other country. This process is referred to as “reciprocity”.
A fee for entry and for visa issuance is based on a policy or agreement between your country and the country you are traveling to. For example, during the Bush administration our government raised its fee for Argentine citizens to come to the USA so in response the government of Argentina imposed an entry tax which is approximately the equivalent of what the US charges for Argentine citizens to come here.
When applying for a visa there are several risks involved, most of which can be avoided by using a professional service to process your visa. If you ship your passport and visa request directly to an Embassy or Consulate you may lose your passport; both in the shipping or mailing process as well as at the Embassy or Consulate where it is received. Unbelievably it is normally the latter where passport get lost; they get lost inside of Embassies and Consulates. If you have ever been inside of a Foreign Embassy or Consulate it is unlikely you would ever choose to send your visa request this way as you would see how disorganized and bureaucratic they can be and how easy it is to lose documents inside of their office. Some more modern countries such as Australia make it easier for you to obtain a visa if you are a USA citizen but then they are extremely difficult to use if you are not. There is also the risk of identity theft. You would think this can’t happen, but it does. Again, these are foreign sovereign nations and are not subject to our civil or criminal laws.
No there is not. It is a function of the country you are traveling to and has literally nothing to do with the USA or any of its branches of government or any of its State or Federal Agencies.