Friday, March 27, 2009

Passport Day In The USA

The Department of State will hold "Passport Day in the USA" on Saturday, March 28, 2009 will hold a national outreach celebration about the upcoming changes to U.S. Travel Document Requirements. During "Passport Day in the USA," the Department of State will be giving out passport information and accepting passport applications. "Passport Day in the USA" will involve all Department of State Passport Agencies and many Passport Acceptance Facilities throughout the United States. The event is meant to encourage more U.S. citizens without a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card to apply for one during "Passport Day in the USA."

Any U.S. Citizen who does not have a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card and expect to travel sometime in the near future should take this opportunity to get a valid U.S. Travel Document because the Department of State will be waiving having to make an appointment and you can save money, due to the waiving of expedite fees, which is generally $60.00. So, at the minimum, those who can take advantage of attending "Passport Day in the USA," will save at least $60.00, if they need their U.S. Passport or Passport Card right away. However, you will still have to pay for $100.00 for your new U.S. Passport if you are older than 16 years of age and $85.00 if you are under 16 years of age. The U.S. Passport Card is $45.00, if you are older than 16 years of age and $35.00, if you are under 16 years of age.

Expect about four weeks to receive your U.S. Passport or Passport Card if you apply for it at the event and if you asked for the free expedited service at the event, you can expect your U.S. Passport or Passport Card in about two to three weeks. The hours for "Passport Day in the USA" varies by location and you can for the times and locations near you by visiting the Department of State Travel website here. You can also get the cost, fees and other information from the Department of State Travel Office here also. You can also get information by phone by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

The new U.S. Travel Document Requirements take effect on June 1st, 2009 and all U.S. Citizens will need to present a U.S. Passport or Passport Card when entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean, any land border of the U.S. or seaport entry point. Since January 23rd, 2007, any U.S. Citizen traveling by air and entering the U.S. has needed a valid U.S. Passport for entry, so that requirement remains unchanged. You can read more about U.S. Travel Document Requirements here. The "Passport Day in the USA" is a combined effort of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Service, non-Postal Acceptance Facilities, so get out and get your passport questions answered and while you're at it, enjoy your becoming travel to wherever you're imagination takes you!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sending Money, Receiving Money To The Philippines

Sending money to the Philippines is just as easy as receiving money in the Philippines, if you keep a few tips in mind. First and foremost, besides the obvious of having money to send to the Philippines, you need to make sure that you the exact name of your friend or relative's name exactly as they have it on whatever identification they will be using to claim the money. If, you are sending money and your friend or relative doesn't have a valid identification card of some sort, then you'll need to advise them to copy the transaction number that you will be giving them, so that they may pick up the funds right away.

There are many choices for sending money abroad, if your friends and family are like mine, they prefer that I send money online by credit card, because it is generally the fastest, but also the most expensive option to send money. Over the last 30 plus years or so, I have used Western Union the most, but in recent years, I have elected to use a money transfer service many of you will be familiar with called, Xoom. Xoom is fast and reliable and costs on average about $6.00 to $7.00 less than sending a comparable amount by Western Union. It doesn't sound like much of a savings at first, but if you are sending money as often to the Philippines as most of my friends, then the savings are rather dramatic after a short period of sending money home.

Once your receiving party gets the transaction numbers that you will send to them or tell them by telephone, the money is ready to pick up just about anytime. You can go directly to any Banco de Oro (BDO) & Equitable PCI Bank anywhere in the Philippines and pick up your funds. Sending money to the Philippines have become even easier if you use a PayPal Card to send money by way of Xoom. Using Xoom, you can generally pick up your money in less than 45 minutes in the Metro Manila area.

Check your location, because Xoom has many 24 hours locations in the Philippines by forming a partnership with M. Lhuillier Shops. Not all M. Lhuillier Shops are twenty-four hour locations, but I'm sure that you can find one close enough to where you live, work or shop. I know that no matter if, I were in Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Norte, Negros Oriental, Pampanga, or wherever in the Philippines. I was always within walking distance of a M. Lhuillier Shop, so in essence, I was always within getting money from Xoom. If, you don't feel like walking, you can even send money by Xoom from your home, using your checking account.