Passport FAQs

How much does a U.S. passport cost?
The cost of your U.S. passport will depend on the type of passport you request and how quickly you need it. See Passport Fees for more information on the cost of a U.S. passport book or a U.S. passport card and all associated services.

I have a life or death emergency overseas and need a passport. What should I do?
Life or Death Emergencies involve serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family that require you to travel within 24-48 hours to a country that requires a passport. Customers must appear in person at a passport agency for emergency service and documentation of the emergency may be requested.

Please call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY/TDD 1-888-874-7793) to schedule an appointment at the nearest Passport Agency. Our automated appointment system is accessible every day, 24 hours a day.

If an appointment that will meet your needs is not available and you are calling from 8:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., EST, Monday-Friday, except federal holidays, please stay on the line and follow instructions to speak to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). The CSR will give you guidance on what to do.

If an appointment that will meet your needs is not available and you are calling on a federal holiday or during hours the CSRs are not available, please call 202-647-4000 and explain your situation to the operator.

I am preparing for official travel. How do I obtain my diplomatic, official or regular no-fee passport?
The Special Issuance Agency, located in Washington, D.C., issues no-fee passports to citizens traveling abroad for the U.S. Government, their dependents (if permitted to accompany them), and certain others who are exempt by law from payment of the passport fee.

Help! My passport has already been issued and mailed to me, but I have not received it. What do I do?
Contact the National Passport Information Center. A Customer Service Representative will confirm the date your passport mailed to you, the address to which it was mailed and, if necessary, help you to report the non-receipt of your passport.

You have 90 days from the date your passport was issued to report that you have not yet received it in the mail. If you do not report the non-receipt of your passport within 90 days of the issue date, you will be required to reapply and submit the full passport fee.

What is an E-Passport?
An Electronic Passport is the same as a traditional passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit (or chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip stores:

The same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport;
A biometric identifier in the form of a digital image of the passport photograph, which will facilitate the use of face recognition technology at ports-of-entry;
The unique chip identification number; and
A digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration.

How long does it take to get a passport?
Processing times can vary depending on workload and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. During busier times, such as the summer travel season, we encourage customers to expedite their applications if traveling in less than 10 weeks.

Who should maintain a valid U.S. passport?
Passport Services recommends that the following U.S. citizens maintain valid U.S. passports. Those:

with family living or traveling abroad
thinking about a vacation abroad, or
with a job that could require international travel.

In the event of an emergency involving a family member abroad, a short-notice airfare bargain, or an unexpected business trip, already having a valid U.S. passport will save time, money and stress.

How many blank visa pages do I need to travel?
Some countries require your passport have two (2) to four (4) blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement in not met.

How long is a passport valid and when should I renew my passport?
If you were over age 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.

If you were age 15 or younger when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years.

The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card.

If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.

I’m renewing my passport. Do I get the old one back?
Yes, we return the old, cancelled passport to you although it may be sent separately from your new passport. It is a good idea to keep it in a safe place as it is considered proof of your U.S. citizenship.

I was recently married/divorced. How do I change my name on my passport?
You will need to complete Form DS-5504: Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement, within one year of the issuance date of your current valid passport and submit along with the following:

The same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport;
The passport to be replaced
Certified documentation of your name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree with your new name); and
One recent passport photo.

Do I have to provide my Social Security Number?
Failure to provide your Social Security Number may result in significant processing delays and/or the denial of your application.

Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6039E) requires you to provide your Social Security Number (SSN), if you have one, when you apply for a U.S. passport or renewal of a U.S. passport. If you have not been issued a SSN, enter zeros in box #5 of the passport application form you are completing. Contact the Social Security Administration to request a Number. If you are residing abroad, you must also provide the name of the foreign country in which you are residing. The U.S. Department of State must provide your SSN and foreign residence information to the Department of Treasury. If you fail to provide the information, you are subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS. All questions on this matter should be directed to the nearest IRS office.

How do I order applications in bulk?
Bulk quantities of passport Form DS-11 (Application for Passport) and Form DS-82 (Application for Passport by Mail) are now available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

I found someone’s lost passport, what should I do with it?
Please mail found passport, using a sturdy envelope, to:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Will I receive my passport and the citizenship documents I submitted with my application back in the same envelope?
If You Applied for a Passport Book Only: You may receive your newly issued book and your returned citizenship evidence in two separate mailings. If you do not receive a second mailing within 10 business days of receiving the first, please contact NPIC.

If You Applied for a Passport Card Only: You will receive your newly issued passport card and your returned citizenship evidence in two separate mailings. If you do not receive a second mailing within 10 business days of receiving the first, please contact NPIC.

If You Applied for a Passport Book and Card: You may receive three separate mailings; one with your returned citizenship evidence, one with your newly issued passport book, and one with your newly issued passport card. If you do not receive the second or third mailing within 10 business days of the previous mailing, please contact NPIC.

Comments

  1. At what age does a child need a passport? Or, can they just travel with their birth certificate?

    • A birth certificate is not always required for travel for a child, but it is a good idea to carry a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you just in case. No matter how old they are though, kids from the United States need to have a valid passport to travel internationally. You can read more about this, as well as apply for a passport, here: http://www.passportsandvisas.com/passport/index.asp

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