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Essential Passport Information for Your Destination Wedding and Honeymoon

If you are traveling outside the United States for your wedding or honeymoon, you will need a valid, current passport.

If you already have a passport, make sure that it will still be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your trip. A passport that is near expiration may not be accepted by some authorities. If your passport is expired but was issued less than 15 years ago, you can renew it by mail.

If you have never had a passport, or your expired passport is too old, you must apply in person for a new passport.

Start your application process at least 6 months before your departure. While a passport normally takes only 6 to 8 weeks to arrive once you’ve completed the process, it can take longer if there is any kind of problem. Besides, you’ll want to get this important detail taken care of early, before you are too busy with wedding planning.

The US Department of State’s passports web page is passport central for US passport information. To start your application, use their online “passport wizard” to help you gather the information you will need to complete a passport application, including eligibility, birth certificates, photos and more.

The requirements for a passport photo are extremely detailed and specific, so get your photo from a qualified professional. This can be as simple as going to a CVS or Walgreens or other store that offers passport photo service.

You can’t apply for a passport online. Your passport application documents must be submitted in person, with the fees, to a “passport acceptance facility.” Though that sounds unfamiliar, it is most likely to be either the municipal clerk or the central post office in your town. The Department of State website also has a search tool to find the nearest acceptance facility.

Be sure your application is for a passport book, not a passport card. The card is only for surface travel to a few destinations, close to the US, and will not be valid for most international travel.

If you are a bride-to-be planning to change your name when you marry, do not apply for a passport in your future married name. You’ll want all of your travel documents to have exactly the same name on them. And since you won’t have a marriage certificate to prove the legal name change, until the wedding, that will mean having different names on different documents. Once you get home, it’s easy to apply for a name change on your passport, by mail, and it’s free if done within a year of the wedding.

When you get back home, don’t carry your passport in your purse or wallet. Keep it in a safe place with your other important documents, like birth and marriage certificates, car titles, and Social Security cards. That way, the next time you need it, you’ll know exactly where to find it.

Your new passport is valid for the next ten years, so you’ll be able to use it for many other trips if you choose. We'll be happy to help you plan those trips, too.

Don Fuchs March 24, 2015 Travel Tips