A checklist for your international attendees Now is the best time for attendees preparing for international meetings and incentives to apply for or renew their passports, visas, and overseas driver's licenses. Since fewer people apply for such documents during the winter and spring, the process tends to move along faster. This guide will help your attendees get the right papers and safeguard them abroad.
Where to Start * To apply for a passport, you will need two new 2-by-2 inch photos (a head shot against a white or off-white background) and proof of identity, such as a valid driver's license, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or previous passport.
* Check your local telephone book for passport locations, or call the National Passport Information Center at (900) 225-5674 (35 cents per minute).For downloadable, state-by-state listings and blank passport forms. visit http://www.travel.state.gov. The form number is DSP-11.
* The cost of a passport for first-time applicants is $60; passport renewal is $40. There is no charge for amendments (name changes or additional pages) to your passport.
* Minimum processing time is 25 days; it can take longer during the busy summer months. To expedite a passport request, there is an additional $35 charge. Expedited passports will be mailed within three business days of the request's arrival at an agency office. Services that will expedite visa and passport applications for a fee do exist (see box).
* Visa rates, rules, and fees vary from country to country. For specific information, visit the state department's Web site, http://travel.state.gov/passportservices.html), or check with the consulate of the country you'll be visiting. Another useful site, http://gnn.com/gnn/meta/travel/res/visa.html, has an "electronic embassy" that links to all the embassies in Washington, D.C.
* Some visas are issued at the embassy or consulate before you depart. In some countries, such as Turkey, you can pick up a visa at the point of entry.
* If you have any doubts about your driver's license, or if you will be staying for a long time, get an International Driver's Permit from AAA. Having one of these internationally recognized permits on hand may prevent problems with local authorities.
Extra Precautions * When traveling in a group, don't let one person carry all the passports.
* To protect yourself if your passport is lost or stolen, make three photocopies of the data page. Leave one copy, along with your itinerary and emergency telephone numbers, with a friend or relative. Take the remaining two with you.
* Place one photocopy in your hotel safe and carry the other with you. Be sure to keep it separate from your passport.
* If you lose your passport, promptly call or visit the nearest embassy or consulate and the local police. Form DSP-64 (to replace the lost passport) is available on the state department's Web site.
* If you are staying for more than two weeks in a country, notify the U.S. embassy in that country, either by phone or in person. That way, if someone needs to reach you, you will be easier to find.
Information reprinted courtesy of Fodor's Travel Publications Inc., a division of Random House Inc., a Bertelsmann AG company. Fodor's is the world's largest English-language travel guidebook publisher, with 300 titles in print. For more information, visit Fodor's at http://www.fodors.com.
Speed It Up! For fees as high as $150, passport and visa services can expedite travel documents. Here are some expediters and their toll-free telephone numbers:
* * CIBT (800) 925-2428
* * Passport Plus Inc. (800) 367-1818
* * Travisa (800) 222-2589
* * Visa Services Inc. (800) 222-8472