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So you’ve booked a trip to Canada…congratulations! (In case you missed it, read the article about our tours to Montréal and Québec here). Now begins the first leg of the journey – the preparation and anticipation.

It can be easy to get so caught up in the excitement of visiting a new place that you might forget about handling some of the important logistics – that’s why we are here to help you! In this article we will give you a brief and easy-to-understand tutorial on how to handle getting your documentation ready to visit Canada, so you can go right back to gazing longingly at maps and pictures of your destination.

Do I need a passport?

All adults traveling on tours must have a valid US passport. Students under the age of 16 may present a valid copy of their birth certificate. Students between the ages of 16 and 18 who are traveling with a school group may also present a valid copy of their birth certificate.

Do I need proof I am traveling with a school group?

Groups should be prepared to present a letter on organizational letterhead with the following information:

  • The name of the group and supervising adult
  • A list of the children on the trip and the primary address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth and name of at least one parent or legal guardian for each child
  • A written and signed statement of the supervising adult certifying that s/he has obtained parental or legal guardian consent for each participating child

What are the costs associated with passports?

As of June 1, 2016, fees for the passport book are $135 (age 16 and over) and $105.00 (under 16).  Fees for the passport card, which cannot be used for international air travel, are $55.00 (age 16 and over) and $40.00 (age under 16).  For application information and current fees, visit Department of State’s very informative website.

If traveling is something you love and plan to do often, we highly recommend getting a passport (even if you are under the age of 18). While you can travel to Canada without one, odds are that you’ll have to get one in the future, anyways! Passports for minors will be valid for five years, and passports for adults will be valid for ten. Renewal fees are affordable and without much hassle.

Here are some helpful tips to make the process of getting your passport as easy as possible:

Passport photos

AAA member? Great! Head on down to your nearest branch location and get your passport photos done for free. If not, use your local pharmacy or try out an app like Passport Booth (just make sure your pictures are in line with the regulations).

student tours to Canada - Suburban Tours

Passport Applications

Adults who have never had a passport and minors can print out form DS-11 from the Department of State Travel Site. If you are renewing your passport, fill out the DS-82. Take your time filling out these forms and gathering the required information (listed in more detail on the application itself):

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of US citizenship
  • Recent color photograph
  • Fees (make sure you pay attention to not just the fee itself, but also the method of payment required, which can differ depending on which facility you use)

Passport Facilities

Once you have everything ready to go, head to your nearest passport facility (some require appointments). Often, this is a post office, but you can search here to find the one nearest to you.

Normally you will wait about 6 weeks to receive your passport in the mail, and your birth certificate or other important documents will be mailed back to you in separate envelopes around the same time.

*Disclaimer: Please note that State Department regulations are subject to change at any time.

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