One of the biggest must-haves for international travel is a passport. This is a form of identification that documents who you are and where you are traveling. Some people find the task of getting a passport to be somewhat daunting, but now with online forms and procedures the process is as easy as 1, 2, 3, smile for the camera!
The first step in getting a passport is to look at your expected date of travel in order to know how soon you must order your document. Typical processing and delivery times range from 4-6 weeks standard, or 3 weeks expedited service. Arrangements for your passport should be made as soon as possible before your expected travel date that way you are not left without proper documents when the time to leave comes.
The easiest way to apply for a passport comes directly through a government website. Visiting https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html provides all the information about passports and applications. This website also provides a printable PDF application that can be taken to any local passport processing office and submitted.
Passports can be pretty pricey, and as I discovered it is best to have the money for it in the form of a check before going in to submit documentation. I applied at the OU Passport office, which is conveniently located in the student union right next to the Sooner ID card office. This office specifically requires a check for the majority of the payment, as the payment must be sent the US Department of State. The OU passport office only collects the service fee, which is $25 and can be paid by credit or debit card. Costs of a passport are included in the majority of cost estimations for studying abroad listed by OU’s Education Abroad office. Getting one done as soon as possible is the best way to make sure you have the proper funds to do so as well as the time to get it processed and mailed to you.
The passport process is significantly easier than most people think and because of this ease, I encourage anyone going abroad to get it done as soon as they can. Doing this checks off one box on your preparations to-do list, and it also enables you to check off a box in the study abroad application process as passport information is required to complete the application.
The sooner it gets done the better, so take the downtime you have during the summer months and get your passport. Your wallet, your calendar and your stress levels will be thanking you as your travel date approaches!