PASSPORTS & VISAS
A valid US passport is required for all international travel. A US Passport Card is not sufficient and will not allow for international travel to Europe or Australia or most USAAI destinations. Passport holders from nations other than the US should contact USAAI immediately as additional information (visas) may be required for international travel.
Passports are required for all American citizens traveling outside of the United States. If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one as soon as you register for the team. It typically takes 6-8 weeks for you to receive your passport once it has been applied for. This is, however, by no means a guarantee so the soon you apply the better. The 2007 travel season was hampered by new laws that required passports for those traveling to Canada and Mexico, something previously not necessary. The high volume of applications pushed the average anticipated wait time back to 12 weeks, and some were waiting for 16 weeks or more! DO NOT WAIT! You can apply for your passport by going to your local post office, a passport agency or online at www.travel.state.gov.
What if I don’t have time to wait for regular processing?
There are several options if you are running a little short on time.
- Expediting – For an additional fee, you can apply for an expedited passport. This moves up the processing timetable, however it is not guaranteed and may still take a while.
- Regional Passport Offices – If you need your passport urgently, there are 13 regional passport agencies across the country that can process applications and provide you with your passport quickly and without putting them in the mail. There is a fee for this service, but it is reliable and fast for last-minute travelers provided you fit their eligibility requirements:
- You must be leaving within 2 weeks of your passport request.
- Applications are taken by appointment only and you must call in advance.
- For more information and other restrictions on regional passport agency use, visit www.travel.state.gov.
Private Passport Agencies – There are a number of private agencies that will guarantee you your passport in 1-2 days. For a fee that runs around $400, groups like https://americanpassport.com can assure you that you will have your passport in approximately 72 hours.
What if I’ve already applied for my passport, but it won’t be ready in time?
Our first suggestion is to contact your local congressman and explain your situation. They are almost always able to speed up this process for you. If you get put on hold, don’t hang up and don’t give up! It may seem like a frustrating, time-consuming process, but it will pay off once you get through.
Currently the only location that USAAI travels to that requires a visa is Australia. As long as USAAI receives your passport information at least 72 hours prior to your departure, we will take care of your visa purchase. However, if you do not receive your passport until you are within the 72-hour window or have failed to report your passport information to us, you will have to purchase your visa on your own. This can be done at the airport.