Little blue book is key to traveling

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- As summer approaches, some Aviano members are planning getaway vacations. 

Many of the world's most sought out locations are only a short plane, train or automobile trip away, and with a little planning and help from the Internet, Aviano members can reach these destinations for a small fraction of the cost than those living in the United States. 

To get to some of these destinations, Aviano members will need a passport. As an avid traveler, I really enjoy showing my friends and family the stamps in my tourist passport. 

As the new Aviano passport agent, I receive lots of questions that I wouldn't have known the answers to before I took this job. So, I'd like to share what I've learned with the community so they can focus more on their next place to visit and less about which passport they'll need. 

Technically, there are four types of passports. First, there's the black diplomatic and the red official passports. Both of these passports are reserved for military and government employees who meet certain criteria. They are fairly uncommon, and should only be used by the carrier when traveling on official business. 

The two types of passports most people have here are the no-fee and the tourist passports. The distinction between these two can be confusing because both of them are blue. The difference between them is they both carry specific rights the carrier is entitled. 

People can identify the no-fee passport by opening to the very last page and reading a statement about the entitlements. A no-fee passport identifies a person as a military dependent that has been granted permission to live in Italy. The right to travel granted by this passport, is between only two countries -- Italy and the U.S. 

I've heard of many people traveling abroad on their no-fee without complications. If a person travels on their no-fee passport and is stopped for speeding, an accident or any other reason, they could be held in the country they're visiting. 

Every dependent at Aviano must have a no-fee passport and an Italian Visa before arriving here permanently. This is based on Italian law, and my ability to assist with no-fee passports is primarily limited to those passports about to expire and babies born in Italy. 

People whose no-fee passport is approaching expiration should make an appointment to renew it within six months of expiration. Italian law permits active duty military members the right to enter the country with a Military ID and a copy of their orders, so active duty military personnel are not entitled to a no-fee passport. 

Not every country allows military personnel to enter with just their ID, and since dependents shouldn't visit other countries with a no-fee passport, it's always best to possess a tourist passport. 

A tourist passport is my favorite. Possessing a tourist passport permits the holder to travel to any country and everyone is eligible to apply for one. Many air and cruise lines will not allow passengers to board without a tourist passport. 

People who would like one or need assistance with any type of passport can contact me at Ext. 4614 or e-mail joseph.campo benedetto@aviano.af.mil.