Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Updates

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1. What is the current status of passport operations?

What to Expect:

  • Mail delays are impacting when we receive passport applications for processing. Our processing times begin the day we receive your application, not the day you mail it.
  • Routine service can take up to 18 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. The 18-week timeframe includes up to 12 weeks for processing and up to 6 weeks for mailing times on the front and back end.
  • Expedite service (for an additional $60) can take up to 12 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. The 12-week timeframe includes up to 6 weeks for processing and up to 6 weeks for mailing times on the front and back end.

Our processing times (up to 12 weeks for routine; up to 6 weeks for expedite) do not include mailing times. Mail times vary and delays have been significant. Plan ahead.

We suggest you:

  • Send your application to us via trackable mail, so you can track your application before it enters our system. This can be done whether applying at an acceptance facility or by mail.
  • Pay an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery for the return of your completed passport.

More about Status Updates: It may take up to 6 weeks from the day you submit your application until your status is “In Process.” During these 6 weeks, your application is delivered to a mail facility, your payment is processed, and your application is entered into our system. Even if your passport status update says, “Not Available,” your application and supporting documents are safely on their way to us. Check online for your passport status.

Use Self-Service Tools Online: Our call center is experiencing extremely high call volumes with longer-than-usual wait times. You can get your questions answered immediately by using one of the self-service tools available on our site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What you see online is the same information that call center representatives can share with you by phone.

Planning to Travel? Apply Early! Apply at least six months before planned travel. Due to limited availability for urgent travel appointments, we cannot guarantee you can receive in-person service at a  passport agency or center. We are prioritizing customers with life-or-death emergencies. Visit our Passport Agency and Center page to learn more.

Renew By Mail:  Adults with 10-year passports can renew them by mail instead of appearing in person.   

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3. What should I expect when applying at an acceptance facility?

If you need to apply in person, we recommend you apply at an acceptance facility. Children under age 16, all first-time applicants, and applicants who have lost their passport or had their passport stolen must apply in-person. These locations include post offices, clerks of court, libraries, and local government offices. Contact your local acceptance facility to confirm it is open before you apply. Some locations may require appointments to enable social distancing. If you want to apply at a post office, you will need to make an appointment on the USPS.com website.

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4. What should I expect when applying by mail?

We encourage you to apply by mail when possible because it is a safe, contactless option for certain services. There is no need to be physically present at an acceptance facility, passport agency, or passport center for any of the following services:

  • Renew your U.S. passport
  • Change your name in a U.S. passport
  • Correct an error in your U.S. passport
  • Apply for your first U.S. passport card if you already have a U.S. passport book
  • Apply for your first U.S. passport book if you already have a U.S. passport card
  • Replace a limited-validity (valid for less than 10 years) passport
  • Report a passport lost or stolen (Note: You cannot replace a lost or stolen passport by mail, but you can report it as lost or stolen.)

Learn if you are eligible to apply by mail. Get started.

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5. What should I expect if I need to apply at a passport agency or center?

Life-or-Death Emergency Service: To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our workforce and customers, in-person appointments at our agencies and centers are extremely limited. We are prioritizing customers who are traveling internationally in the next 72 hours (3 business days) due to a qualified life-or-death emergency. If you need this service, you must call us

Urgent Travel Service: Some agencies and centers are also offering extremely limited appointments for customers who have urgent international travel in the next 72 hours (3 business days) for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency. To try to make an appointment, visit our Online Appointment System first. The date of your appointment must be within 3 business days of your international travel. If you need a foreign visa, the date of your appointment must be within 10 business days of your international travel. Because appointments are extremely limited, you may not be able to make one on your first try.

Consider the following alternate options if you cannot make an appointment online for Urgent Travel Service:

  1. Continue to check our Online Appointment System several times during the day as other customers may cancel their appointments.
  2. Apply for expedited service which can take up to 12 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. The 12-week timeframe includes up to 6 weeks for processing and up to 6 weeks for mailing times on the front and back end.
  3. Call wait times are longer than usual. If you call us to try to make an appointment, understand that customer service representatives do not have access to an alternate reservation system. What you see online is what they will share with you by phone.  

Preparing for your Appointment: Collect all of your application materials before you arrive for your appointment. Use our online form filler to fill out your form and print it before you arrive for your appointment. You can also print a PDF of your form and complete it by hand in black ink before you arrive. Both of these options reduce the amount of time you spend in our lobby on the day of your appointment.

Arriving to your Appointment: In our waiting rooms, we have fewer chairs and more signage to enable social distancing. We require appointments, and we currently do not offer walk-in services.

*We ask that you come prepared and bring a mask or face covering to your appointment. While public health guidance has changed during the pandemic as more U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, some of our agencies and centers are located in buildings that have different policies for wearing masks and face coverings than our lobby and waiting areas. Follow the signs posted in the building and the lobby of our agency or center which will display the most up-to-date mask and face covering requirements.

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7. I have a pending application. Can I upgrade it for expedited service?

Yes. Expedited service costs an additional $60. If you applied and have not received your passport, you may call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and request to expedite your passport.

Check the status of your passport online.

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8. Are passport agencies and centers still reopening?

Yes. While we are no longer referring to the phases of reopening because changes in phases no longer impact the services you will receive, all agencies and centers are processing applications. Not all agencies and centers are offering the same level of in-person service.

Visit our Passport Agency and Center page to learn more about the type of in-person services available at each agency and center, and how to make an appointment if you have urgent travel. Please note the number of appointments available may vary from week to week. 

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9. When will you return to your normal service times?

We continue to work to reduce processing times for both routine and expedited service, while protecting the health and safety of our staff and customers. We will re-evaluate the processing times on a rolling basis and will adjust them downward as resources allow.

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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 missed your trip.

You can learn more about how to request a refund of the expedited passport fee on our Refunds page.

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11. 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.

General Questions

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1. How do I get the status of my application?

You can check your status online using our Online Passport Status System. It may take up to 6 weeks from the day you apply until your application status is “In Process.” During these 6 weeks, your application is delivered to a mail facility, your payment is processed, and your application is scanned and sent to us. If your passport status update says “Not Available,” your application and supporting documents are safely on their way to us.

Our call center is experiencing extremely high call volumes with longer-than-usual wait times.

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2. 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 $17.56.  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.

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

If you are flying internationally, you must provide a flight receipt or an itinerary. If you are traveling by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean, you can provide a hotel reservation, cruise tickets, or international car insurance. A print version of your proof of travel is required at most agencies.

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5. I have a life or death emergency in a foreign country and need a passport. What should I do?

Go to our Life-or-Death Emergency page to see if you are eligible for an appointment at one of our passport agencies and centers. 

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

After we print your passport, we will send it to you and return your supporting documents. How we send your passport and supporting documents depends if you applied for a book and/or a card and if you paid an additional fee for 1-2 day delivery.     

I applied for a passport book only: You may receive your newly-issued passport and your citizenship documents (such as your birth certificate, expired passport, naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate) in two separate mailings. 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 via a 1-2 day delivery service.

I applied for a passport card only: You may receive your newly-issued passport card and your citizenship documents (such as your birth certificate, expired passport, naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate in two separate mailings. 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 via 1-2 day delivery services.

I applied for both a passport book and passport card: You may receive three separate mailings; one with your citizenship documents (such as your birth certificate, expired passport, naturalization certificate or citizenship 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. How do I make an appointment at a passport agency or center?

You can only make an appointment at an agency or center by using the Online Passport Appointment System or by calling 1-877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY 1-888-874-7793. The Department of State does not charge a fee to make appointments. You must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be traveling internationally within 72 hours (3 business days). 
  • Be able to show printed proof of international travel (such as your flight itinerary, hotel reservation, cruise tickets, or international car insurance)
  • Pay the $60 expedite fee in addition to the regular application fees.
  • Note: you can schedule your appointment up to 2 weeks before your international travel but the date of your appointment must be within 3 business days of your international travel. If you need a foreign visa, the date of your appointment must be within 10 business days of your international travel.
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15. Is there a fee to make an appointment at a Passport Agency or Center?

No. There is no fee for making an appointment at a passport acceptance facility or a Department of State Passport Agency or Center.  

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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. 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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23. 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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24. 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/TO/LE
44132 Mercure Circle
PO Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

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25. 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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26. Can I pay online?

No, you cannot 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.

Some companies may charge a fee for you to fill out your passport form. Read the fine print and disclaimers on their websites. These companies are not affiliated with the Department of State.

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27. 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/TO/LE
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

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28. 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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29. 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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30. 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 May 2023, 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 REAL ID

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31. Can I list Jerusalem as my place of birth?

Yes. U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem will be able to request either “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth when applying for U.S. passports, and either “Jerusalem” or “Jerusalem, Israel” when applying for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) and Consular Reports of Death Abroad (CRDAs).

Please note you do not need to reapply for a new U.S. passport, CRBA, or CRDA because your document will remain valid after this change in our policy. If you choose to renew or reapply for a consular document with the new place of birth designation, you must pay all applicable fees. 

U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem who do not specify their place of birth on applications for consular services as “Israel” will continue to be issued documents that indicate their place of birth as “Jerusalem.” 

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33. I am preparing for official travel. How do I get a special issuance passport?

The Special Issuance Agency, located in Washington, D.C., issues passports to U.S. 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. You can access their site only if you are using a U.S. government-owned computer or device.

 

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34. Can I return to the United States on an expired passport?

If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.

You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if: 

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
  • Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

The Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any U.S. passport holder in accordance with 22 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b).

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35. What is an electronic passport?

Since August 2007, the U.S. has been issuing only e-passports. An electronic passport has a small integrated circuit (or “chip”) embedded in the back cover and has a new look with additional anti-fraud and security features. 

The chip securely stores:

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

Children (Under 16)

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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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1. 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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2. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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2. 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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3. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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10. 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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1. 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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2. 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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1. How many photos must I submit with my passport application?

You must submit one photo with your passport application.

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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. What size must my photo be?

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

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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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.