ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Passports might be considered keys to the world when it comes to international travel, but they can also be a pain in the neck to obtain, especially for those seeking international identification.
Most citizens with passports based outside of the United States will still have to travel to major cities such as Houston, New York, and Chicago, or back to the country of origin, in order to get their new passports or get renewals.
There are occasions, however, when certain passports can be renewed outside of those locations: Holders of Norwegian passports, for example, will be able to renew their passports in Anchorage on Jan. 19. The biometric machine required for that particular registration process will be in town - for the first time ever - that day.
If you have a United States passport, or are looking to obtain one or update other travel documents, you can do so at any of multiple locations around Alaska, including many post offices, courthouses, clerks' offices and other government buildings.
Officials have also been advising anyone who needs or will need a passport within the next six month to a year to submit applications sooner rather than later, as they do expect an uptick in passport requests. Right now, residents in the United States can use state-issued licenses or photo identification to travel, but that's only been promised through January 2018.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when seeking a new passport:
A passport is not required for domestic travel within the United States.... for now. Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will be able to use a state-issued license or identification card for domestic air travel.
The cost of your passport will depend on the passport you request and how soon you need it. Click here to calculate the cost of a passport. The basic estimated cost for first-time applicants 16 years of age and older is $165 for a passport book and card, including the execution fee.
The validity time of passports ranges. If you're older than 16 years of age, your passport is good for ten years. If you're under 16, the passport is good for five years. Keep in mind, some countries require that your passport be valid six months beyond the date of your international trip.
Be aware of specific requirements for obtaining a passport. Of course you'll need the proper paperwork and identification, assuming you've already met requirements to be a passport holder. Other nuances - for example, only photos that are 2 in. by 2 in. are accepted as pre-provided pictures - should be researched before you go to obtain your new ID.
You can check out the application before you visit an application site. Click here for a PDF copy of the United States passport application.
Holders of Norwegian passports can contact Lise Falskow at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with renewing or obtaining passports on Jan. 19.
If you need more help or have other questions, check out the Bureau of Consular Affairs' FAQ site here.