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The Olympics has just started and all eyes are focused on Mother Russia. Sochi which is in the providence of Krasnodar Krai Russia is about 1,000 miles south of Moscow (about a 20 hour drive). 

Most of us know that Moscow, Russia is one of the grandest cities in the world with it’s famous architecture, colorful past, and thriving culture. As the location for all political activity in Russia, Moscow serves as a symbol for Russia: one of tradition and modernity, displays of affluence, power, and government, and living history. But what about the city of Sochi which has un-doubly become more popular in recent days. 

Sochi is the largest resort region of the entire Russian Federation. Sochi experiences climate changes that attract both winter and summer visitors year round. Sochi is located between the Black Sea and the Caucasian Black Mountains, which possess the largest mountains in the continent of Europe. It's because of its unique location between the sea and the mountains, that creates a subtropical climate that allows visitors to swim in the sea between April - October, and ski in the mountains from October - May. Mountains in Sochi are largely protected by from wind, which also enhances the outlook for good snow conditions, which is why Russia opted to use this location for the Winter Olympics.

Whether you decide to visit Moscow or go to Sochi for the Olympics, you will be required to have a passport to travel. Russia is also one of the many countries that will require all U.S. Citizens to apply for a Tourist Visa prior to entry. If you need help in getting a passport or a Visa for your next trip to Russia you can visit, www.uspasssportnow.com, for more information. Should you need a last minute passport... services online can expedite your request in as little as one day. This passport expediting service specializes in getting you a passport when you need it. While the traditional passport process requires months and months of waiting time, online services can get you a last minute passport in as little as 24 hours.

If you trying to make it to this Olympics you still have time. Not only are their plenty of tickets available for all the sporting events, but airfare has been reduced in recent days. This winter Olympics is sure to make history, as there are a total of 12 new Olympic events added, which makes the 2014 games the biggest in the history of the Winter Olympics. The last day of the Winter Olympics is Sunday, February 23rd, 2014.   #2014winterolympics   #olympicpassports   #passportforrussia   #russianvisas  
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Washington D.C. Passport Agency Closed

The District of Columbia Government and the DC Passport Agency will be closed on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, due to inclement weather in the DC Metro area. 

The Passport Agency was limited yesterday on 12/09/2013 due to the weather conditions and received notice early this morning that all Government Office would be closed due to weather concerns. 

The Agency is unlikely to give any answer on any further delays in passport processing or re-scheduling of appointments until the offices re-open. 

Need An Expedited Passport?

US Passport Now operates out of 8 passport agencies located throughout the United States. Though we may not be able to process out of our DC Location because of the snow storm (12/12/2013), we do have access to our other passport agencies located in the United States to process in as little as 1 Business Day. For information call us: 1-800-881-2464.

#expeditedpassport   #dcpassportagecy   #washingtondcpassport   #dcsnowday  
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Text and Talk On A Plane

On December 12, 2013 the FCC will have a meeting which could lead to them changing the rules on in-flight mobile broadband communications. In a statement released by the FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, "Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers."

History

Originally the FCC is the one who put the ban on using cellular phones / devices because of possible interference the wireless networks on the ground could receive. It should be noted that the FCC tried to do this back in 2004, though their investigation was inconclusive on whether or not ground communications could still be affected. 
Right now there are multiple other airlines that operate in other countries that do allow their passengers to use their cell phones while in flight. Different source all confirm that a study with those airlines reported no incidents where cell phones were affecting the safety on the flight.

So Whats Next?

As our technology has grown, we should now have the ability to isolate that interference. Though the FCC states that "New Gear" for airlines would have to be approved by the Federal Aviation Association before they could move forward with the plan. The FAA would be the ones responsible for making sure airlines are equipped with these new special antennas before any planes would be approved for in-flight calling.

You should note that the FCC's proposal still will require that devices be turned off during takeoff and landing for safety concerns. God forbid there was an emergency, passengers would still need to be alert to commands given by the flight crew.

The other question that still looms is how you will connect to the flights "New Gear" that will allow you to make an outgoing call. Seem like you might have to pay to use you phone on the plane, similar to using your computer to connect to the internet. Also international flights may run into issues as networks are different as you fly over a respective country and there also may not be a tower for you to connect to. 

The other determination is whether or not your airline want to update their planes and/or even allow in flight calls. Some airlines are still on edge whether or not in-flight calls could hinder the passenger experience. Remember you could be on a red-eye back trying to catch some sleep with a chatty someone next to you.

We want to know from you and what you think

Should the airline allow people to use cell phones in flight or should it continued to be banned even if we now possess the technology to make it happen?
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On Behalf Of All Our Passport Specialists,

We wish you and your family a very Happy New Year. We hope all of you have made it to your destination and wish you a safe return. 

Please note our offices will close early Today (12/31/2013) and our offices will be closed Tomorrow (1/01/2014) for the New Year Holiday.

The US Passport Agency will have limited processing Today (12/31/2013 and will also be closed Tomorrow (1/01/2014) in observance of the National New Year Holiday. 

Passport processing will resume on 1/02/2013. If you are in need of an expedited passport for travel in January of 2014 you can visit www.uspassportnow.com to get started with your application process. Notes that routine processing will be delay due to the holiday though expedited passport processing with www.uspassportnow.com will only be affected for 1 business day. 

Today Only! Use promo code Happy2014 for a 14% discount on expedited passport services through US Passport Now. This discount will be available until the clock strikes 12, so place your order today to save!

All The Best,

US Passport NOW

#washingtondcpassport   #passportagency   #expeditedpassport   #passportdiscount  
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Visiting China To See The Ice City Of Harbin

If you can stand that cold and love ice sculpture then the Ice City of Of Harbin (China) is your sanctuary. This event put on years is by far the most breath taking scene of ice turned into works of art that makes up the entire city. The next event is between December 28th 2013 through February 28, 2014.

China is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the World. There are an immense amount of things to do and see for travelers who are visiting China. One of the most interesting sites to see while you are in China is referred to as Ice City. It is one of the coldest destinations in China and is located in Harbin, China. 

Passports & Visa's

Passport and an entry Visa is required before you plan a trip to China to visit Harbin. Getting a passport by mail, normally, takes about 6-8 business weeks to fully process. Perhaps you are in a situation where you need it renewed before that. If that is the case your best bet is to go online to: www.uspassportnow.com. There you will be able to locate expedition services that are offered to speed the process up to 24 hours to 2 weeks. They can ensure you receive your passport in time for your trip. 

Visa's are also required and depending on your length of stay Visa's will differ. Again processing time is lengthy to apply on your own through the Chinese consulate so an expediter is recommended. They will ensure you meet all of the criteria necessary to satisfy the foreign embassy's requirements for you to be granted a Visa. If you need more info on how to obtain a Chinese Visa you can call: 1-800-881-2464, to speak to a specialist.

Northeast China 

Harbin is the largest city of the Heilongjiang Province of Northeast China and is also the capital in addition to holding the tenth highest population in China. This city has served key roles in the political, economic, cultural, communication, and scientific realms and has acted as a major hub for Northeast China. The city is renowned for its bitterly cold winters and in the winter months shows off beautiful ice sculptures. The average temperature in the winter is only 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sculpture Exhibits

Harbin is famous for incredible ice sculpture displays that are featured at annual festivals in the city These sculptures are featured on Sun Island and then there is the “Ice and Snow World” that operates at night. The Ice and Snow World is a series of buildings made to scale that are made from blocks of ice that are two to three feet thick. In addition to the ice sculptures and festival that are world renowned, there is also Alpine skiing, winter swimming in the Songhua River as well as an exhibit of ice-lanterns in the Zhaolin Garden.

When To Go 

The next event is between December 28th 2013 through February 28, 2014. China is one of the largest and most interesting countries in the world. There are an incredible amount of activities and attractions for travelers to see and enjoy. One of the most unique things to do while in China is to go and see the Ice City of Harbin. Harbin, China is one of the coldest and most unique cities in the country. 

So what are you waiting for.... Grab your winter coat and head to China for your next winter magical vacation.

#chinesevisa   #uspassport   #icecity   #harbin  
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New FAA Guidelines For  P.E.D.'s (Personal Electronic Devices)

You will no longer have to worry about ending that latest game of "Words With Friends" or have to worry about putting down your new suspense thriller e-book you started to read prior to your flight taking off.  The new FAA guidelines are out, after a long study started in January from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.

What is P.E.D.?

A Portable Electronic Device is any piece of lightweight, electrically-powered equipment. These devices are typically consumer electronic devices capable of communications, data processing and/or utility.  Examples range from handheld, lightweight electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones to small devices such as MP3 players and electronic toys.

Why is this only now coming about?

In the latest study conducted by A.R.C. (which stands for Aviation Rulemaking Committee), they concluded that most of the commercial airplanes we use today can tolerate the radio interference signals our personal electronic (PEDS) devices put off. 
Why were we not allowed to use our PED's before, but now can?
Current FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from PEDs is not a flight safety risk before the operator authorizes them for use during certain phases of flight. Even PEDs that do not intentionally transmit signals can emit unintentional radio energy. This energy may affect aircraft safety because the signals can occur at the same frequencies used by the plane’s highly sensitive communications, navigation, flight control and electronic equipment. An airline must show it can prevent potential interference that could pose a safety hazard. The report furnished by A.R.C with regards to PEDs helps the FAA to guide airlines through determining that they can safely allow widespread use of PEDs. 
So what does all this mean? 

Well based on that decision the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will start allowing us to us our personal devices during takeoff and landing. This means that eventually we will be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on our devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions.

Will my Airline allow me to use my electronic on my next flight?

Unfortunately not all airlines are alike, though many of the makes and models of planes are built the same. Due to differences among planes and airlines, the implementation will vary, though many experts believe that many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

Phone Calls

So you're probably asking yourself.... Can I now make calls on those long flights too? The answer is: No. Your cell phone will still need to be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones. However if your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during the flight, you could possible use those services.  This mean you can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards and headphones.

When does this take effect?

Once an airline verifies the tolerance of its air planes, it can allow passengers to use personal electronic  devices – such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones—at all altitudes. Please note however that you may in rare instances of low-visibility be instructed by the flight crew to turn off your devices during landing. Your airline crew may also require that heavier devices should be safely stored under seats or in overhead bins during takeoff and landing.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About The Expanded Use of PEDs On Your Next Flight:

1. You always want to make safety your first priority.
2.  Note that changes to PED policies will not happen overnight and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
3.  The current FAA requirements of  PEDs remain in effect until your airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
4. No Talking...Your cell phones still cannot be used for voice communications.
5.  Your devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may be able use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows it.  
6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.    
7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
8.  It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
9.  In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked
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US Passport Now is a full service U.S. passport expediting company that aids U.S. Citizens in receiving a passport back faster than the standard process. US Passport Now has over 20 years of experience in passport expedition and ensures a simple, fast and easy solution in receiving your passport back in time you require.
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