As the end of the year approaches, quite likely you are focused on that big holiday gathering or perhaps a party to ring in the New Year. Make sure you save plenty of time for both of these in your schedule, but there’s something else on which you should also focus — records management of your important documents. The end of each physical year is the perfect time to get all of these documents organized and ready to be handled as necessary. Here are a few document-related projects to help you prepare for a brand new year! Continue reading
The New Year is a great time to make big changes in your life. One of the biggest changes you could make is moving internationally. Yes, moving from the country you call home to another country is a big decision, and one that will generate a lot of paperwork and effort. However, the results could definitely be worth it. One of the most important steps to take may be obtaining your birth certificate if you do not already have one. Luckily, it is easier than you may think. Continue reading
Renewing a driver’s license is not on the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do. Luckily, departments of driver services across the country are doing everything they can to make the process easier for drivers – without compromising the security of critical identification like a driver’s license. This includes making the waiting areas more comfortable, offering Wi-Fi and vending machines and some states even allow you to take care of some tasks with a self-service kiosk or online. While there are certain things that will always be an issue, such as obtaining and putting together the vital records and other needed documents, these tips may make things a little easier when it’s time to get your license renewed. Continue reading
When it is freezing outside and all you want to do is curl up with a good book by the fire, it’s hard to think about signing your kids up to play sports. However, there are a number of winter sports available—many of which are mainly held indoors. Just like signing up for youth baseball, signing up for lacrosse, basketball, swimming, wrestling or indoor soccer will require that you furnish certain documents. Before you head out for registration, make sure you get the following items gathered up and ready to go.
Preparing to go on an international trip, whether for work or pleasure, requires significant effort. In most cases, the experience is well worth it! One of the most stressful aspects of the preparation process can be obtaining your passport, including the dreaded passport photo. Never fear, your passport photo doesn’t need to be unflattering, but does need to follow specific requirements. In fact, getting a passport photo is easier than ever – you may even be able to do it yourself.
The entire process of requesting a passport, from filling out the paperwork, visiting your local passport office (if necessary), waiting for the paperwork to be processed and receiving your passport, as well as getting your passport photo, is detailed on the Department of the State website. We’ve summarized the passport photo requirements here, but be sure to check out the Department of the State website for full details.
According to The Department of the State, your passport photo must be:
- Taken in full color
- Printed on photo quality paper which can be either matte or glossy
- Must be sized at 2” x 2”
- Your head must be sized between 1” and 1 3/8”
- Have been taken within the past 6 months to assure that it reflects your appearance as it is now
- Have a white or off white background
- You must be facing the camera fully
- The photo must be taken from at least 4 feet away and at eye level
- You must have a neutral expression and both eyes open
- You must not be wearing a hat, sunglasses or distracting clothing
- If you wear glasses on a daily basis, you can wear them—but there must not be a glare
- Photos of children are slightly more flexible, but the child must still be able to be fully identified.
Where to Have Your Photo Taken
There are a number of options available to you for having your photos taken. Usually the easiest and safest is to go to a professional passport photographer. Many stores or pharmacies that offer photo developing services will also offer passport photography services. Another option is to have someone take your photo digitally, which you can then upload to the Department of State yourself using this photo tool.
Once you have your passport photo you’re ready to finish the process of applying. After all the effort needed to obtain your first passport, you will find that updating your passport in the future is much easier. Once you finally get that passport in your hands, you’re ready to travel—now all you have to do is pack!
While you may know the basics on avoiding identity theft (not giving your social security number to just anybody, safeguarding your birth certificate, hiding your PIN number when you use an ATM), there is so much more to think about during the holiday season. Since it’s such a busy time (and a time that many of us do more shopping, traveling and the like), it only makes sense that identity theft rates soar this time of the year. However, if you’re proactive, you can avoid becoming a victim. Here are a few things that you need to know – and to share with those you love: