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July 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Passport Tips for Traveling Divers

from the July, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

If you’re traveling anywhere outside of the U.S., you need a passport these days. For Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, you at least have to carry a government-issued photo ID plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth or naturalization certificate. (Cruise passengers are officially exempt, although cruise lines now require photo ID and proof of citizenship.)

If you need a passport fast, pay extra to expedite it. The Feds promise they’ll get it expedited within three weeks for $60, plus overnight delivery costs. Private companies can do it in as little as 24 hours at prices from $179 up. For trustworthy passport expediters, get the list at the National Association of Visa and Passport Services’ Web site at www.napvs.info/passport.

If you have four or fewer blank pages in your passport, have new pages added by going to your local passport agency, or get details about expediting from the State Department’s Web site at http://travel.state.gov. Divers traveling in Asia with nearly full passports have told us they’ve been refused entry to a country and forced to fly elsewhere to get pages from an American embassy, which cost them a few days of time and lots of money.

Carry a photocopy of your passport’s pages in luggage separate from where you carry your passport. That will save you days trying to replace a lost passport while you’re in another country.

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