Just about every person in the world knows that if you want to travel outside of your own country’s border, you’re going to need a passport. But how much do you know about that little blue book besides that? You’d be surprised just how much there is to know.

Passport 101: 5 Things You May Not Know | Blue Horizon Travel

Here are just a few of the most common things you may not realize about your U.S. passports:

Fall is the best time to renew. More specifically, early in the fall season is the best time to renew your passport because applications are low before the holidays. If you choose to go through the process at this time of year, you will likely get your request processed faster.

Any passport made after 2007 has a chip inside. An electronic chip inside your post-2007 passport stores a backup of all the information printed in the booklet. Additionally, it holds a biometric identifier so that security can use facial recognition technology to ensure that the passport is 100 percent yours.

Larger passports give you extra pages for free. While a standard U.S. passport is constructed with 28 pages, an XL passport contains 52 pages and can be requested for free when renewing an old passport or applying for your first one. However, if you wait to add pages to your already existing booklet, it will cost you $82.

You can take your own passport photo at home. Yes, your photo needs to be unchanged and printed in a square shape with a white background. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go down to town hall or a local drugstore and wait in line for your photo to be taken.

You need to have blank pages. If your passport does not have two-four blank pages, some airlines may not allow you to get on the plane. This is because certain countries have different requirements, which can be reviewed here.

How many of these facts did you already know about? Did any surprise you? Let us know in the comments section below!