Obtaining a passport has never been a very easy process. In this day of terrorist activities and worldwide suicide bombers. The United States Homeland Security Department is making passport requirements a lot more strict and a lot harder to obtain them. Circumstances have changed passports and visas, strictly in the name of security for the United States and its allies worldwide.
‘While there are about 185 different types of visas, there are two main categories of U.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visa – for temporary visits such as for tourism, business, work or studying. Immigrant visa – for people to immigrate to the United States.”
“U.S. passports Apply for a US Passport – All information on requirements for U.S. passport applications is found at the U.S. Department of State website, including requirements for applicants, how to renew your passport and what the current fees and procedures are.are issued by the U.S. Department of State. U.S. Citizens must get a passport for overseas travel.”
“Find Out If You Need a Visa – United States citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. If you have a visa, we recommend you make a copy and put it in a separate place. Carry your visa with you—do not pack it in your checked luggage.”
“Border Crossing Document Requirements for Western Hemispheric Travel – If you are planning travel in the Western Hemisphere you should know there are six types of acceptable documents for crossing US borders. The types of identification required for travel in the Western Hemisphere — Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America – is described by the Western Hemispheric Travel Initiative.”
I was stationed in northern Japan, at Misawa Air Force Base in 1960 and 62. In October of 1961 we received an order for part of our Squadron to leave there within 24 hours. President Kennedy wanted us in Thailand ASAP. We immediately received numerous inoculations to get our shot records up to date, including yellow fever and malaria, a small clue that we were heading south.
An official from the US Embassy in Sapporo Japan was on base within hours preparing passports for us. At that time, I did not realize people serving in the US Air Force even needed a passport. We left Japan the next day, refueled at Wake Island and Okinawa then spent one night at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. The next day we flew on to Bangkok Thailand. Our mission was to fly reconnaissance missions out of the Don Muang Royal Thai Airport for two months. “Project Able Mable”, a secret mission the whole world seemed to know about.
That was the reason for our passports being issued, we never did see them, until we returned to Japan. I would imagine some government official was holding on to them in case we would run into a problem while in the country of Thailand. That was the first experience with a passport in my lifetime. Today young people travel worldwide with different passports and visas. It has to be mind-boggling wondering for sure where you are safe. I guess there is no safe place when you think about it.
My wife and I took our family down to Baja Mexico in 1972 without even thinking about foreign travel, we never checked on visas passports or anything. We spent the weekend down at the ocean. When we returned to Lukeville, the Arizona border crossing. They seemed convinced that my wife was Mexican, we finally got them to accept that she was a US citizen. The border guards told us to be sure to get Visas the next time we travel to Mexico.
Here is a site where you can view the world’s different passports.