Updated: Oct 5, 2020
If you have never traveled outside of the United States, then you may not realize you need a passport to do so. A passport is official proof that you are a citizen of the country in which the passport was issued. In the United States, passports are issued by the Department of State.
Here are some important FAQs regarding passports:
Do I need a U.S. passport? American citizens are required to have passports to exit and enter the U.S. and all other countries in the world. The responsibility to carry the correct identification while traveling abroad is yours.
How long are U.S. passports valid? If your U.S. passport was issued when you were 16 years old or older, your passport is valid for 10 years. If your U.S. passport was issued when you were 15 years old or younger, your passport is valid for 5 years.
What if my passport is soon expiring? Check your passports well in advance of your international travel. Most countries will require passports to be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of a trip.
What if I’m running out of blank passport pages? Your passport must have enough blank pages to accommodate entry and exit stamps for each country you visit. Before you get to the last blank page in your passport, begin the process to obtain a new one.
What if my name changes such as in a case of marriage or divorce? The process for changing your passport due to a name change varies depending on the situation. For full details about the process, please visit Change or Correct a Passport.
Do my children require US passports? Yes. Each individual citizen, including infants, must possess his or her own passport for international travel. You are not allowed to represent other members of the family inside your passport.
How old must my children be to apply for a Child Passport? Your children must be 15 years old or younger to apply for a child passport.
What if I lose my passport while out of the country? First, keep a photocopy of your passport with you when you are traveling in the event your passport is lost or stolen. If it is lost or stolen, you must contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a replacement immediately. You will not be allowed to return to the United States without a valid passport.
Before leaving for your international vacation, be sure to note the location and contact information for the nearest embassy in the country to which you are traveling. You can find a list of U.S. Embassies at Official list of embassies from the U.S. Department of State.
Do I need my passport when traveling within the United States? No. Domestic flights within the United States do not require a passport for United States citizens and permanent residents. However, you can use it as an official form of identification when traveling within the United States.
What are the requirements to obtain a passport? For full details, visit US Passport Application
You must apply in person using Form DS-11 if at least one of the following is true:
You are applying for your first U.S. passport
You are under age 16
Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
In additional to Form DS-11, you will need to provide evidence of United States citizenship (along with a copy), present photo identification (along with a copy), provide an official passport photo, and pay the necessary fees.
For full details of the application process and specifics to what proof of US citizenship and identification is accepted, please visit Apply in Person.
Who is responsible for applying for my passport? You and only you! Applying is not a responsibility of your travel agent or anyone else. A passport is a federal document that requires you to apply in person.
What if I have a felony record? Probation or Felony issues may also cause passport applications to be denied. If you are on probation, owe more than $1,500 in child support payments, are wanted on an arrest warrant, are currently summoned to appear in court, are currently in jail, or have serious felony issues, your passport may be denied.
How long will it take to get my passport after I have applied? The typical turnaround time is 4 to 6 weeks.
What if I don’t have 4 to 6 weeks to wait? If your international travel is quickly approaching and you do not have 4 to 6 weeks to wait, you can make an appointment at one of the Passport Agency locations nearest you. You will have to provide proof of international travel, pay an expedite fee and have an appointment.
For a list of Passport Agency locations, please visit Passport Agencies.
For travel that is more than six weeks out you will need to visit your nearest Acceptance Facility. Where to Apply for a Passport Nationwide
For more information regarding United States Passports, visit: U.S. Passports
Disclaimer: While your travel agent can assist you with information, the individual traveler is responsible for understanding and knowing all the rules and procedures for applying and using a US passport. A travel agent is not responsible for securing or renewing your passport. Be sure you are in the know by reviewing all the details online at U.S. Passports.