A bit of research is required when it comes to visas. The type of visa you apply for will vary depending on the length and purpose of your stay. You can see all the options and requirements here.

This is the visa application form. They are hyper-aware of any spelling or numerical mistakes on the applications so you may want to ask a friend to check all the details before you submit it to the embassy. Your passport, a copy of the picture page of your passport, a visa photo matching these requirements, an attachment of your flight itinerary, an invitation letter, and a check or money order for the allotted payment will need to be attached.

In your research you’ll find that you could fill out all the applications on your own and then hire someone you know to take the application to the embassy for you. Or, you could go through a company like ItsEasy, and pay to have everything done for you.

Having processed hundreds of visas for other people, I would suggest just going through an agency. It will be a bit more expensive, but it will save you from a ton of stress. They’ll walk you through the process and ensure everything is in order for your trip.


IMG_1685I. Love. My. Passport!

I was 16 when I got my first passport. I had never been outside of the country and really, the thought of international travel hadn’t ever crossed my mind. I pretty much never put that wonderful book down after it was placed in my hand. It was like the world was opened to me. For just a couple hundred dollars I could be across the world experiencing something new and meeting new people.

If you can spare some time and $110 you can have your passport in hand in just a few weeks! Getting a passport is the first step to all of your international  adventures. You’ll probably start finding all these amazing travel deals and realize that there isn’t anything keeping you from going!

So, how in the world do you apply for your passport?

  1. Go to the Post Office and pick up a copy of the DS-11 form. Make sure to book an appointment with the acceptance agent while you’re at there.

Things to bring with you to the appointment:

  • The DS-11 booklet you have already filled out (but not signed)
  • Official Birth Certificate issued by the State in which you were born.
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate
  • Valid U.S. Drivers License
  • Photo copy of Drivers License
  • A 2×2 passport/visa photo (purchased at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, or Costco)
  • A blank check or money order

2. Wait 4-6 weeks for your passport to come in the mail.

3. Go play!



I recently received some inconvenient news; the requirements for Chinese Visa Photos have changed. There are a TON of new specifications and luckily for us, they’re all listed on the sheet below.


Just keep in mind that both ears must be showing, no smiling, no teeth, and no shadows.

Until Walgreens and Walmart upgrades their software, they will not be able to cut your photo to the proper dimensions. You might see if it can be taken by a local photographer or University Photo Lab.

Note: The U.S. Passport Application still requires a 2×2 inch picture.