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Prapare to have passport ready for travel

It is common during the fall for the U.S. state department to experience a rush on passport applications and renewals.

According to Douglas County Clerk Susan Sandvick, the hope is Americans plan far enough in advance to avoid having the passport application pending when they are ready to travel. Routine processing time, from the date of application to applicant's receipt of an official passport, is four to six weeks.

To apply for a passport at the Douglas County Clerk's Office, an appointment is required, and makes the application process go much smoother. Appointments are available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call the Douglas County Clerk's Office at (715) 395-1341 to schedule an appointment. The County Clerk's Office is in Room 101 of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1313 Belknap St., Superior.

All first-time applicants, regardless of age, must apply in person. Passport photos are required for both first-time applicants and renewals. Photo service is available in the County Clerk's Office. New and renewal application forms and information on required documents are available in the County Clerk's Office or online at www.travel.state.gov .

If you get a renewal alert, the state department says "renew it now," as many countries are now enforcing a requirement for at least six months validity on a United States passport.

In addition, effective Jan. 22 air travel within the U.S. will require identification that meets the Real ID Act requirements. Alternative forms of ID in order to board a domestic flight are the U.S. passport book and passport card, as both meet the Real ID requirements; however, the passport card cannot be used for international air travel. Visit www.dhs.gov/realid for information.

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