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Passports, Visas, and Travel Alerts

The U.S. State Department charges $70 to issue a passport and your local courthouse may charge a processing fee. The expedite fee is an additional $60. I paid the expedite fee and waited four weeks. A friend, who didn't pay the expedite fee, got hers in less than two weeks.

By the way, the State Department would rather see an old passport than your birth certificate. (I wish I'd known that before I went to a some trouble and a lot of time to get a copy of my birth certificate.)

U.S. citizens don't need to get a visa before traveling to Israel; a three-month visa will be stamped into your passport when you arrive. Getting a visa renewed in Israel is apparently time consuming, so I will apply for an A-2 Student Visa that will cost $42. The San Francisco Consulate requires quite a bit of supporting documentation; someone at the school said they're the only consulate that does.

That's all the information I have to share but here's a link to the State Department's international travel information.

I hadn't planned any trips to Gaza, so I just skimmed that section. However, I am going to avoid the Old City at night and on Friday afternoons.

(I am puzzled by the suggestion that U.S. citizens "use common sense when patronizing restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, malls, places of worship, and theaters" because of terrorist attacks. Is common sense of any use in predicting where a terrorist may strike?)

Comments

Yes, some common sense may help. One should avoid places with large numbers of people gathering at the entrance, unless there is visible and considerable police attendance. So if you go to a restaurant and it happens to be exactly at rush hour and people are mobbing the entrance, avoid it. Suicide bombers look for places where they can cause as much carnage as possible. Another guideline is that when there is a rise in tension between Jews and Palestinians, like right now, try to avoid going near any people who might look Palestinian to you. Because there have been knifing cases in the past - especially of tourists and haredi Jews.