Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Update: Safely Working for You

1. What is the current status of passport operations?

As of Monday, August 3, there are 6 passport agencies and centers in phase two and 12 agencies and centers in phase one of our reopening plan. Go to our Passport Agency and Center page for more information.

Passport agencies and centers are only open to assist customers who need a passport in the next 72 hours (3 business days) for a life-or-death emergency. For the health and safety of employees and customers, we are minimizing the amount of time employees and customers spend together in our agencies and centers. Customers must make an appointment for life-or-death emergency service and cannot walk in to our agencies or centers. 

2. What services can I expect in each phase of reopening?

The Department will resume processing passports in phases, while protecting the safety of both our staff and our customers. Each passport agency and center will open on a different date based on location conditions.

Phase 1: Limited staff will return to onsite work at agencies and centers, allowing us to resume limited processing of applications we already received. Applications will be processed in the order they were received by the agency or center on a first in, first out basis. We will continue to prioritize services for customers with life-or-death emergencies by appointment only. Customers must wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and observe strict social distancing. During phase one, we will continue to recommend customers wait to submit new or renewal applications as delays will continue.

Phase 2:  Most staff will return to onsite work at our agencies and centers, and we will be able to resume processing more of the applications we already received. Applications will be processed on a first in, first out basis, beginning with the oldest applications received. Our returned staff will continue to prioritize life-or-death emergency cases by appointment at our agencies and centers. Services offered at our agencies will continue to be by appointment only. Staff and customers should wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and continue to observe social distancing. During phase two, we will continue to recommend customers wait to submit new or renewal applications as delays will continue.

Phase 3:  All remaining staff return to onsite work at our agencies and centers. We will continue to process applications on a first in, first out basis, focusing on the oldest applications. You should continue to make an appointment to apply at an agency or center. Staff and customers should wear cloth face coverings in common areas and we will encourage social distancing. When all agencies and centers are in phase three, or our nationwide workload has returned to normal levels, we plan to resume expedited service.

3. Are you making progress on U.S. passport applications?

Yes. Every Thursday, we will publish U.S. passport statistics in the table below so you can track our weekly progress as staff at our agencies and centers safely work on applications. You can find historical U.S. passport statistics on our Reports and Statistics page.

Week (Thursday-Wednesday) Applications Received Passports Awaiting Issuance* Passports Issued
This Week (July 30-Aug 5) 139,000 1.06 million 213,000
Last Week (July 23-July 29) 143,000 1.15 million 206,000
2 Weeks Ago (July 16-July 22) 143,000 1.23 million 198,000

*In prior years, the average number of passport applications in process during our busy season has routinely exceeded 1 million.

4. Why can't employees work on passport applications from home?

Passport applications must be adjudicated in our agencies and centers to protect customers’ personally identifiable information and ensure the integrity of the application process. We maintain the highest standards of security and privacy protection for our customers, and must secure sensitive documents like birth certificates and naturalization certificates in our offices. We must also physically print and mail passport books and cards back to customers from our facilities. Our staff are returning to our agencies and centers in phases, and will immediately work to finalize pending applications.

5. What qualifies as a life-or-death emergency?

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 business days).

You must provide:

  • passport application with supporting documents
  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional. Documents must be in English or translated in English.
  • Proof of international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket, itinerary) specific to the emergency.

To make an appointment at a passport agency or center for a life-or-death emergency, you must call our National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY) on Monday- Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time, except federal holidays. Call 202-647-4000 outside of these hours to make an appointment.

6. I already submitted an application. How long will it take for me to receive my passport and my citizenship evidence documents?

As additional employees return to our agencies and centers, we are working aggressively to address a high volume of pending applications. You will continue to experience delays receiving your passport and the return of your citizenship documents such as previous passports, and birth and naturalization certificates. You may check the status of your passport online or by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. Unfortunately, we are not able to return documents before your passport is completed. We ask for your patience as we safely work on your application.

7. Can I get a status update on my passport?

Yes. You can get a status update 7-10 business days after you have applied for your passport. Status updates are available online or by calling us at 1-877-487-2778. You can go to our Online Passport Status System and sign up for automatic email notifications about your passport status. You will receive an email when your passport is 1) In Process: your application is being reviewed at a passport agency or center, 2) Approved: your application has been approved and will be printed, and 3) Mailed. If you receive a status update of Not Found, your application is still in transit to one of our agencies and centers or we are experiencing a temporary, technical issue with our Online Passport Status System. 

Until we reach phase three, we will not be able to provide more specific processing times or status updates. 

8. Why did you cash my check if you are not updating my passport status?

One of the first steps in the process is handling passport fees. Although we can process fees remotely, we are not able to handle secure documents such as birth certificates at home. Your applications and documents with personally identifiable information are secure. We cannot further process these applications until our staff return to our passport agencies and centers.

9. Can I expedite my passport?

No. We suspended expedited service in March. You cannot upgrade your application to expedite service at this time. We plan to resume offering expedited processing times (meaning 2-3 weeks door-to-door service) after we first resume offering routine processing times in phase three. 

10. Can I request a refund?

If you paid the $60 fee for expedited service when you applied and you did not receive expedited service, you can request a refund of this fee. We cannot refund any other passport fees or your travel expenses if you miss your trip.

Please note we stopped offering expedited service on Thursday, March 19 and do not anticipate offering this service again until phase three of our reopening plan. You can learn more about how to request a refund of the expedited passport fee on our Refunds page.

11. Can I apply now?

Yes, you can still apply now. If you do not have a life-or-death emergency, you will experience delays before receiving your passport and the return of your citizenship documents such as previous passports, and birth and naturalization certificates. We anticipate a return to our normal processing times this fall.

If you need to apply in person (all children under age 16 and first-time applicants), you can apply at acceptance facilities which include post offices, clerk of courts, and libraries. Please contact your local acceptance facility to confirm if it is open or closed. If you want to apply at a post office, you will need to make an appointment directly on the USPS.com website.

12. Can I renew by mail?

Yes, you can still apply by mail. If you do not have a life-or-death emergency, you will experience delays before receiving your new passport and the return of your previous passport. We anticipate a return to our normal processing times this fall. 

You do not need to renew your passport before it expires unless you are planning to travel internationally. Customers eligible to renew their passport have up to five years to renew their document after it expires. After five years from the expiration date, you must apply in person. Most countries require that your U.S. passport have at least six months of validity beyond the dates of your trip. 

13. Is it safe to travel internationally?

Conditions vary depending upon location. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Check our country-specific information pages to make an informed decision about your travel.. 

14. Will REAL ID still be enforced at airports later this year?

No. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the deadline for REAL ID by one year until October 1, 2021. Beginning in October 2021, DHS will require customers to use a REAL ID to fly domestically. The most common REAL ID is a state-issued driver's license. A U.S. passport book and passport card are two of many alternative documents that customers can use to fly domestically if they do not have a state-issued REAL ID. For more information on REAL ID, go to DHS’ website.

15. How will the customer experience be different in the coming months?

Because we are resuming operations in phases and will not have full staffing in our agencies and centers until phase three, we will not immediately offer upgrades to expedited service and we will not be able to immediately commit to specific processing times for routine service.

We encourage customers to apply for passport services by mail where there is no need to be physically present at a passport office. Services by mail include passport renewals (for customers who meet certain criteria), name and data changes, and applying for a passport card or book if the customer is already in possession of one or the other document.

The health and safety of our customers and our employees will remain the highest priority as we reopen. At our agencies and centers, customers will notice measures to ensure social distancing in our waiting rooms with fewer chairs and appointments. Hours of operation may be different. Some of our acceptance facility partners may also stop offering walk-in services and may require appointments to ensure social distancing.

16. What about customers overseas who need a passport?

Our embassies and consulates are currently providing emergency passport services, and in some cases routine passport services, to U.S. citizens overseas. For passport services abroad, please contact the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you.

Customers should expect delays when applying for non-emergency passport or citizenship services. We hope to return to normal passport processing, as soon as it is safe for us to do so.

General Questions

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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.

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I have a life or death emergency in a foreign country 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 72 hours (3 business days) to a foreign country that requires a passport. Customers must appear in person at a passport agency for emergency service with documentation of the emergency.

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 the automated system cannot meet your needs, you can speak with a Customer Service Representative during business hours.  Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST (except federal holidays). 

If you are calling outside of business hours and cannot make an appointment that will meet your travel needs using the automated system, please call 202-647-4000.

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I am preparing for official travel. How do I get a 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.

For information see No-Fee Passport.

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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 was mailed to you, the address to which it was mailed and, if necessary, help you report that you did not receive your passport.

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

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Will I receive my new passport and my documents back in one envelope?

Passport Book Only: You may receive your newly-issued passport and your citizenship documents (e.g. previous passport, birth certificate) separately. Please contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) if you do not receive a second mailing within 10 business days of receiving the first. We can send your passport book using a 1-2 day delivery service.

Passport Card Only: You may receive your newly-issued passport card and your citizenship documents (e.g. previous passport, birth certificate) separately. Please contact NPIC if you do not receive a second mailing within 10 business days of receiving the first. We only send the passport card via First Class Mail. We do not send cards using 1-2 day delivery services.

Passport Book and Card: You may receive three separate mailings; one with your citizenship documents (e.g. previous passport, birth certificate), one with your newly-issued passport book, and one with your newly-issued passport card. Please contact NPIC if you do not receive the second or third mailing within 10 business days of the previous mailing.

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How long does it take to get a passport?

Processing times vary depending on the time of year. See Application Processing Times for more information.

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Who should have 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
  • Those thinking about a vacation abroad, or
  • Those with a job that could require international travel.
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How many blank visa pages do I need to travel?

Some countries require that your passport has two to four blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.

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How long is a passport valid and is it true that it needs to have at least 6 months of validity remaining?

If you were age 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.

If you were under 16 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.

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. 

Check our Country Information to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling.  

If your passport has already expired, you may still be able to renew your passport. See How to Renew Your U.S. Passport.

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I'm renewing my passport. Do I get the old one back? Will I get a new passport number?

Yes, in most cases, we will return the old, canceled passport to you. The old passport may be sent separately from your new passport. We recommend keeping your old passport in a safe place as it is considered proof of your U.S. citizenship.

If your old passport is linked to a valid visa, you can still use the valid visa. You must travel with both your new and old passport in this case.

When you receive your new passport, the number on the document will be different from the number on your previous passport. 

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I live in Canada. Are there special procedures for applying for and renewing my U.S. passport?

Yes. If you live in Canada, you may be eligible to renew your U.S. passport by mail. You cannot renew by mail from any other foreign country in the world. Follow the instructions on Form DS-82 and our Renew by Mail page. Send your application and supporting documents via Canada Post to one of two addresses (either for routine or expedited service) listed on Form DS-82. You must pay by check or money order in U.S. currency drawn from a U.S. bank.

You should renew in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada if you have urgent travel within the next 4 weeks. You must also apply at the embassy or consulate if you're applying for the first time or you're applying for your child's (under age 16) passport. To learn more, go to our Applying from Outside the United States page. 

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I am recently married or divorced. How do I change my name on my passport?

If you are changing your name within one year of the date your passport was issued, you will need to complete Form DS-5504: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement.   

If you are changing your name more than a year after your passport was issued, you must submit Form DS-82: Renewal Application

For more information, see How to Change or Correct a Passport.

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Why is there an execution fee for the passport and passport card?

The execution fee applies to first-time applicants, children, and those replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged passport who must appear in person before an agent authorized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of State to give oaths to verify passport applications. In order to offer U.S. citizens convenient locations to apply for a passport, the Department of State authorizes Passport Acceptance Agents to accept passport applications on its behalf. The execution fee is to reimburse the acceptance facility for the cost of the service provided to the customer and to serve as an incentive for participation in the Passport Application Acceptance Program.

When applying for both the passport book and card on the same application, you pay only one execution fee. The execution fee does not apply to adult passport book or card renewals when submitting Form DS-82.

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How do I order applications in bulk?

Bulk quantities of passport forms are now available from the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

  • Form DS-11Application for a U.S. Passport (for all first-time applicants, children under 16, and applicants not eligible to use the DS-82 form)

    • Stock Number: 044-000-02510-8

  • Form DS-82U.S. Passport Renewal Application

    • Stock Number: 044-000-02511-6

Orders May Be Placed:

  1. By Phone: Call (202) 512-1800, Monday-Friday (except on federal holidays)
  2. By Fax: Fax to (202) 512-2250, Monday-Friday (except on federal holidays)
  3. By Mail: Write to 

                Superintendent of Documents
                P.O. Box 371954
                Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

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I found someone's lost passport. What should I do with it?

Please mail the found passport in a sturdy envelope, to:

ATTN: U.S. Department of State
Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit (CLASP)
CA/PPT/S/L/LE/CP
44132 Mercure Circle
PO Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

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My passport has been damaged. Can I continue to use this passport?

If your passport has been significantly damaged, especially the book cover or the page displaying your personal data and photo, you will need to apply for a new passport.  Damage that might require you to replace your passport includes water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing visa pages (torn out), a hole punch, or other injuries.

Normal "wear and tear" of a U.S. passport is expected and likely does not count as "damage."  For instance normal wear includes the bend of a passport after being carried in your back pocket or fanning of the visa pages after extensive opening and closing.

If you need to replace your damaged passport, you will need to submit the following in person (See Where to Apply):

  • The damaged passport;
  • A signed statement explaining the damaged or mutilated condition of your passport book and/or card; 
  • Form DS-11; and
  • All documents required by Form DS-11, including citizenship documentation (i.e., birth certificate).
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My sex marker has changed since my last passport. What do I do?

You must apply using Form DS-11, whether you are in the process of or have completed your transition. In addition to the regular requirements for those applying on a DS-11, you’ll also need a physician’s statement. For complete details, please see Change of Sex Marker.

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Can I pay online?

No, the Department of State does not currently have the option to pay online for passport services, although this service may be offered in the future. You will not be asked to provide credit card information on this site at this time.

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My deceased family member still has a valid passport in his/her name. Should I turn it in to be canceled?

The Department of State recommends that a family member or executor of a deceased passport bearer return the passport for cancelation. The passport will be returned to you after it is canceled. Please submit the valid passport, a certified copy of the death certificate, and a letter requesting the cancelation and return (or destruction) of the passport to:

U.S. Department of State
Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit (CLASP)
CA/PPT/S/L/LE/CP
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

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Can I get a second passport book?

Yes, but only if you have a valid U.S. passport book and you meet several additional requirements. Learn more to see if you are eligible.

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Can I get extra visa pages for my passport?

No, you cannot. Applicants who need additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport by mail. Applicants within the United States may choose a 28-page or 52-page book.

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What counts as the “proof of international travel” required to apply at a passport agency?

Your international travel must be within either two weeks or four weeks if you need to obtain a foreign visa. Proof of international travel includes but is not limited to a flight itinerary, hotel reservation, and cruise tickets. A print version of your proof of travel is required at most agencies.

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Can I use a passport to fly domestically?

Yes. The U.S. passport book and passport card are alternatives to a state-issued REAL ID and can be used for domestic flights. 

According to the Department for Homeland Security, after October 2021, residents of all states must use a Real ID compliant ID for domestic air travel. Not sure if your state’s driver’s license and ID are Real ID compliant? Check your state’s status. For a complete list of acceptable forms of identification to fly domestically visit TSA

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My address has changed. Do I need to update my passport?

If you have a passport application that is currently in process, you should contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to notify them about the address change. You don't need to contact us if your address has changed after you received your passport.

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I got a letter in the mail or an email about my application. What should I do?

We sent you a letter or email because we need more information from you before we continue processing your passport. The letters and emails all have specialized instructions for your case that you should follow. If you’re having a hard time understanding what it means, Respond to a Letter or Email might be able to help you.

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I need my passport sooner than I thought. What can I do?

You can upgrade your application from routine processing to expedited processing for an additional $60. You may also choose to add a 1-2 delivery service of your completed passport book for an additional $17.13.  One to two day delivery is not available for passport cards. We only send cards via First Class Mail.

Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY) and ask to upgrade your application service type. You’ll need either your application number or your last name and date of birth, as well as your credit card to pay the $60 expedite fee.

Children (Under 16)

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What do I do if my child is too young to sign his or her passport book?

A parent or legal guardian may sign the passport if the child is too young to sign his or her own name. To do so, a parent or legal guardian must print the child’s name and sign his or her own name in the space provided for the signature. The parent or legal guardian must also write his or her relationship to the child in parenthesis next to the signature (e.g., parent or legal guardian) so we know who signed for the child.

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Does a minor under 16 need to have parental or legal guardian consent when applying for a passport?

Yes. For a complete explanation of Parental Consent for a Minor's passport application go to Children Under 16.

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What is the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP)?

Parents may enroll their U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP), one of the Department of State’s most important tools for preventing international parental child abduction.  If a passport application is submitted for a child who is enrolled in CPIAP, the Department attempts to alert the parent or parents to verify whether the parents approve passport issuance.

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How do I renew my child's passport?

You cannot renew your child's passport. If your child is under age 16, he or she must appear in person with you and the child's other parent or guardian to apply. A child's application must be submitted in person at a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility.  It cannot be renewed by mail.  For more information go to Children Under 16

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My child's address has changed. Do I need to update his or her passport?

If the mailing address you provided on your child's application has changed and you're waiting for his or her U.S. passport book, passport card, or return of citizenship evidence documents, please contact the National Passport Information Center. You do not need to contact us if your child's address changed after you received their passport. When completing your child's passport application, we recommend you add your name in the “In Care Of” part of the Mailing Address section on Form DS-11. 

Social Security Number Requirement

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Do I have to provide my Social Security number on my passport application?

Yes. 22 U.S.C. 2714a and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f) requires you to provide your Social Security number, if you have one, when you apply for a U.S. passport or renewal of a U.S. passport.

If you fail to provide the information, you will encounter a delay in processing and/or denial of your passport application.  You will also be subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS pursuant to Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6039E). All questions on this matter should be directed to the nearest IRS office.

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What if I don’t have a Social Security number?

If you would like to apply for a U.S. passport, and you don’t have a Social Security number, you will need to submit a statement, signed and dated, which includes the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct:  I have never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”

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What if I am applying for a passport for my child who does not have a Social Security number yet?

You will need to submit a statement, signed and dated, which includes the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct:  (Child's full name) has never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”

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What if I can’t remember my Social Security number?

If you submit an application for a U.S. passport and do not provide a Social Security number, you will encounter a delay with the processing and/or denial of your passport application. Contact the Social Security Administration for information about obtaining a new or replacement Social Security number and card.

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What if I have an emergency and need to travel but cannot locate my Social Security number?

If you are outside the United States, we may be able to issue you a limited passport for direct return to the United States only. If you are in the United States, we cannot issue you a passport unless you provide your Social Security number.

U.S. Passport Card

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What is the passport card?

The passport card is the wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

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Why can’t I use the passport card to fly to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda?

The passport card was designed for the specific needs of northern and southern U.S. border communities with residents that cross the border frequently by land. The passport book is the only document approved for international travel by air.

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How do I apply for a passport card?

You use the same form that you would use to apply for a passport book (DS-11 or DS-82). There is a checkbox on the form for you to indicate that you are applying for a passport card.

If you already have a passport book and you are eligible to use Form DS-82 (renewal by mail), you may apply for a passport card using DS-82 even if this is your first passport card. Otherwise you will need to use form DS-11 to apply for a passport card.

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Can I apply for the passport card and passport book at the same time using the same application?

Yes, simply check the appropriate box at the top of the form to indicate that you would like to apply for both products.

If you already have a passport book and are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for your new passport card by mail using Form DS-82. You may renew your passport book at the same time using the same form.

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How much does the passport card 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 details.

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How long will it take to receive a passport card?

See Processing Times. The processing time for the passport card is the same as for the passport book.  Please note: passport cards are sent to you via First Class Mail. We do not send cards using a 1-2 day delivery service.

Birth Documentation and Copies of Passport Records

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What do I do if there is no birth record for me on file anywhere?

If you were born in the U.S. and there is no birth record on file, you will need several different documents to substantiate your citizenship. You will need:

  • A letter of no record issued from the Vital Statistics office of the state of your birth with your name and what years were searched for your birth record.
  •  Early public records to prove your birth in the U.S. 

To learn more, visit Citizenship Evidence.

If you were born outside the U.S. and your U.S. parent(s) did not register your birth at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you may apply for a U.S. passport. You will need:

  • Your foreign birth certificate showing both of your parents' names
  • Evidence of your parent(s) U.S. citizenship and
  • Your parents' marriage certificate

To learn more, visit Citizenship Evidence.

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I was born abroad. How do I get one or more copies of my birth record?

Request a Certification of Report of Birth or learn more about birth records for U.S. citizens and nationals born abroad.

As of December 2010, the Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) is no longer issued. Instead, you may request multiple copies of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240). All previously issued DS-1350s are still valid as proof of identity, citizenship and for other legal purposes.

If you were born in the Panama Canal Zone, learn how to request multiple copies of your PCZ Birth Certificate.

 

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How do I replace my lost or damaged Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)?

If your Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) is lost or damaged, learn how to Request a Replacement.

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How do I amend my Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)?

To change a name or update your Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240), learn how to Request an Amendment.

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Why did the Department of State create a new Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)?

The Department introduced a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) in January 2011. The new design has state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft. The FS-240 is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship.

You may now request multiple copies of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240).

As of December 2010, the Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) is no longer issued. All previously issued FS-240 or DS-1350 documents are still valid as proof of identity, citizenship and for other legal purposes.

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How do I obtain copies of a previous passport application?

For information on how to obtain copies of your passport records see Obtain Copies of Passport Records.

Service Partners and Professionals

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I am a professional photographer. Where can I obtain information on taking passport photos?

Technological advances have changed the way passport photos may be taken and the way that the U.S. Department of State processes the photos. See Passport Photos for more information.

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I am a travel agent. Where can I obtain passport information for my customers?

To ensure your customers have the most up-to-date information regarding passports, direct them to travel.state.gov.  There they will find information about passport requirements, where to apply, how to download an application, and more.  

You should also add a link to travel.state.gov on your website.  See our Travel Agents Homepage for more information.

Photo Requirements

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How many photos must I submit with my passport application?

You must submit one photo with your passport application.

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What type of paper should I print my photos on?

Photos must be printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper.

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Does my photo have to be in color?

Yes, your photo must be in color. A black and white photo will not be accepted.

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How recent must my photo have been taken?

Your photo must have been taken within 6 months of submitting your application and reflect your current appearance.

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What size must my photo be?

The photo must be exactly 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).

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What pose should I be in for my photo?

You must directly face the camera.  Profile shots will not be accepted. Your expression should be neutral with both eyes open and directly facing the camera. Photos with exaggerated expressions and squinting will not be accepted.

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How large should my head be in the photo?

Your head should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of your chin to the top of your hair. If you are submitting a digital image, then your head should be between 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin.

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Can I wear glasses in the photo?

No, you may not. Just take them off for your passport photo.

If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you'll need to obtain and submit a signed statement from your doctor with your passport application.

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Can I wear sunglasses or tinted glasses in my photo?

No, you may not. Just take them off for your passport photo.

If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you'll need to obtain and submit a signed statement from your doctor with your passport application.

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Can I wear a hat or head covering for the photo?

You may wear a hat or head covering, but you must submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering is part of recognized, traditional religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously in public or a signed doctor's statement verifying the item is used daily for medical purposes.

Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot obscure your hairline or cast shadows on your face.

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Can a parent or guardian appear in the photo of a child?

No, the child must be the only person in the photo. Nothing used to support the child should be in the camera's frame, including the arms or hands of a parent holding the child.

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Can I wear a uniform in my photo?

Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire cannot be worn in the photo except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. 

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Is it acceptable for my child's eyes to be closed in his/her photo?

It is acceptable if an infant's eyes, particularly a newborn's, are not, or are not entirely, open.  All other children must have their eyes open and looking straight ahead towards the camera. 

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What is the best way to take a photo of a baby or toddler?

When taking a photo of your baby or toddler, no other person should be in the photo, and your child should be looking at the camera with his or her eyes open. 

Tip 1:

Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure your baby's head is supported and provide a plain background for the photo. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby's face, especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down.

Tip 2:

Cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat. This will also ensure your baby’s head is supported.

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Can I use a digital camera to take my passport photo?

Yes, you can use a digital camera.  However, most webcams and mobile phones cannot provide images of sufficient quality. 

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Can I remove the red-eye from my photo?

No, you can not digitally alter a photo to remove red eye. You will have to submit a new photo without red eye. 

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Are photos that are copied from recent driver licenses or other official documents acceptable?

Copied or digitally scanned photos of official documents will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way.

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Are snapshots, magazine photos, mobile device photos, or photos from vending machines acceptable?

No. Snapshots, magazine photos, low-resolution vending machine photos, mobile device photos, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.

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Do I need to take a new photo if my appearance has changed?

New photos are only required if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your photo.  Growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change.  If you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport, you do not need to apply for a new passport.  

You may have to apply for a new passport if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Made a gender transition

If the appearance of your child under the age of 16 has changed due to the normal aging process, you do not need to apply for a new passport for him or her.

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Can I wear jewelry and piercings and show my tattoos in my passport photo?

Yes, you can wear jewelry and piercings and show your tattoos. Jewelry and piercings should not block large portions of your face. Permanent tattoos are fine for your photo as well and don't need to be covered.