Get your passport pictures taken. Start your paperwork by getting your passport pictures. Snapshots do not work. Pictures must be 2 inches by 2 inches. Get extra pictures! You will need two for your passport. There are specifications that your passport photos must meet. A special passport photographer might be your best bet (Walgreens does this). You will need photos for visa applications, perhaps an international driver’s license, and you should bring several to Africa with you in case of travel emergencies. If you want to print your own with an Ink-Jet printer, check the U.S. State Department Passport Photo Regulations.NOTE: Be aware that many countries require different size photos for their requirements. For example, Tanzanian passport and visa photo size requirements are: 5 photos of 4cm x 4.5cm, sky blue background, ears shown. These size photos are more typical of what is needed by most countries for official documentation, as opposed to the 2 inch square photos used by the USA. However, if applying for a Tanzania visa at their USA embassy in Washington D.C., they will accept the 2 inch x 2 inch (5cm x 5cm) size required by the USA for passports. Some people prefer to have and carry both sizes to be able to deal with all possibilities. If you are planning on getting your Tanzania tourist visa upon arrival at the Dar es Salaam airport, they will take your picture for your visa right there as a part of issuing the visa!Get your passport. Many, but not all, local post offices can process passport applications and are the most convenient place to apply. It can take up to 6 weeks to get a routine passport. Expedited service is available but it is expensive. So it is important to apply early. It is best to check on the U.S. Government State Department’s website for the most current passport information and prices. Passport regulations are changing and are being tightened in the post 9/11 era. Also, those local post offices that process passports can provide you with up-to-date information. Protect your passport as a vital travel document. It is always expensive and very troublesome to try to get it replaced on your trip.Renew your passport. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date, and if it is within the last year of validity you will probably need a new one. Some countries will not put a visa into a passport that is within six months of expiration. Also, it must remain valid for the entire stay and it is recommended that it be valid for 3 months from beyond the end of your trip. You can apply for renewal of a USA passport at any time during the life of the passport. Don’t get caught on this issue as it can ruin your travel plans and make things very difficult in an emergency.