According to research as recently as five years ago, only 36% of Americans
actually possess a valid passport. A large percentage of Americans have never left the country, so they don’t think they need a passport if they have no plans to do so. While you may think it’s not necessary to have one as you currently have no plans to leave the country, there are several reasons why you should always have one anyway. Read on to find out some of the top reasons that answer the question, “Why do you need a passport?”
Why Do You Need a Passport? In Case of Emergency
You may not have plans to go abroad, but many people have family members who actively travel or live abroad. If your sister or son decides to spend a week in Japan, for example, you may think this won’t affect your need for a passport. If an emergency occurred while your family member was visiting Japan, you may want to get to them immediately. Say they got incredibly ill suddenly or were in an accident and you wanted to be with them in the hospital as soon as humanly possible. If you had a valid passport in your drawer, you would be able to book a seat on the next flight out. However, if you don’t have a passport, it can take up to eight days to receive one, even if you purchase a rush service
. This could mean waiting at least that long to see your loved one who may need you.
You’ll Always Have Proof of Citizenship
If there’s any question about your legal status or if you can work in the United States, having a passport will clear that up immediately. You can present it to your employer or any agent who is curious as to your status. The passport is an official document testifying to your citizenship.
You Can Save on Fees
In the emergency case scenario, we mentioned that it could take as long as eight days to receive an expedited passport. While you’ll not only have to wait for it to come, you’ll also have to pay for the rush service. At present, that’s an extra $60 you wouldn’t have had to spend if you had your passport waiting for you.
You Can Use It for Starting a New Job or for Enrolling in School
When you start a new job, you’ll likely have to provide proof of your ability to work in the United States. A US passport proves this without a shadow of a doubt. You can also use a passport to enroll yourself or your children in school. A passport provides proof of age and identity. Most public schools will accept them as a document to allow you or your child to enroll. However, it is a good idea to check with them before relying on it solely.
What If Something Good Happens?
So we’ve covered a catastrophic emergency abroad, but what if you have a good emergency? Some companies send employees abroad at relatively short notice for work assignments. If you don’t have a passport, you’ll have to turn it down, or they won’t pick you knowing you don’t have the credentials. You could also suddenly be gifted a holiday by your spouse or a family member that requires you to leave on short notice. Without a passport, there’s a lot of stress required in the lead up to what is supposed to be a good time. Although not likely, you could also always win a sweepstakes or gambling prize in which you’re given a free vacation abroad. If you can’t get your passport together before you go, then you’ll have missed the chance for an all-expenses-paid vacation abroad!
If You Don’t Drive, You Can Use It For ID
While many people in the United States are dependent on cars, not everyone drives. Some people live extremely close to their work and do not see the need for a car. Others live in big cities where public transportation is reliable and a car is an unnecessary expense. If that’s the case for you, you may have let your driver’s license lapse. As a result, you may not have an official ID to allow you to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, enter into a club or even buy a glass of wine at a restaurant. The last thing you want is a hassle when you’re trying to enjoy yourself, and having a passport provides instant proof.
You Can Use It to Get Another ID
If you need a driver’s license or state ID, you’ll typically need another form of identification to get it. A passport can be all you need in order to do so and will save a lot of time and effort of gathering other documents you may not have lying around your house.
Having a Passport Opens Up Possibilities
Currently, Americans can visit over 170 countries
with their passports. Having one makes the idea of traveling more of a reality. Even if you don’t have plans in the near future to travel, you may decide to do so, and having the passport in your pocket means one extra hurdle you don’t have to jump over. If you and your spouse are mulling over a dream vacation in Paris
, having a passport makes it much more of a reality. You’re much more likely to bite the bullet and order your plane tickets and make hotel reservations if you have your passport all ready to go.
Should I Get a Passport?
We’ve answered the question of “Why do I need a passport?” rather thoroughly in this article, but whether or not you decide to get one is up to you. It is an excellent tool not only for travel, but for identification, and can be more powerful than some other forms of identification. With it, there is no question your country of citizenship or your work status. For more on all things passport and travel, visit our blog