Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to your questions in one of these categories:

  1. General Questions
  2. Children (Under 16)
  3. Social Security Number Requirement
  4. U.S. Passport Card


General Questions


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

Yes. In most cases when you renew by mail, we will return the old passport to you. The old passport may not arrive for up to 8 weeks after you receive your new passport. 

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

The number on your new passport will be different from the number on your previous passport.

If you have Global Entry, update your Trusted Traveler account with your new passport information. 


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

Do not contact us if your address changed after you receive your passport.

Contact us only if your mailing address changed while you are waiting for your passport.

Call us at 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 if you are deaf or hard of hearing)


3. I already applied and need my passport sooner than I thought. What can I do?

Call us at 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 if you are deaf or hard of hearing). You’ll need either your application number or your last name and date of birth.

  • Get expedited service for $60. 
  • Get 1-2 day delivery of your completed passport book for $19.53. One-to-two day delivery is not available for passport cards. We only send cards via First Class Mail.



4. Do I need 6 months of validity on my passport to travel?

If you are age 16 or older, your passport is valid for 10 years. Your child's passport (age 0-15) is valid for 5 years.

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

Check our Country Information page to learn how long your passport needs to be valid.  

To learn about returning to the United States after your travel, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's website.


6. How will you send my passport and supporting documents?

You will get multiple mailings. The number of mailings depends on what document(s) you asked for.

Passport Book: You may get your new passport and citizenship documents in two mailings. You may wait 8 weeks after getting your passport before you get a second mailing with your citizenship documents. We will return the passport book using a trackable delivery service.

Passport Card: You may get your new passport card and your citizenship documents in two mailings. You may wait 8 weeks after getting your passport before you get a second mailing with your citizenship documents. We only send the passport card via First Class Mail. We do not send cards using 1-2 day delivery services.

Both a Passport Book and Card: You may get three separate mailings:

  1. New passport book
  2. New passport card
  3. Citizenship documents

Contacting Us: If you have been waiting more than 8 weeks for your documents, call us at 1-877-487-2778 to report that you have not received your documents. 

If you want us to reimburse you for a lost supporting document, you must contact us within 90 days of the date which we mailed your passport. You will also need to provide a receipt to show the cost of replacing the document. 


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

For more information, go to our Change or Correct a Passport page

If you are changing your name within one year of the date your passport was issued, complete Form DS-5504.   

If you are changing your name over a year after your passport was issued, complete Form DS-82



8. I am traveling very soon. How do I get a passport quickly?

Go to our Get My Passport Fast page for information on expediting your application, or making an appointment at a passport agency or center.

If you have a life-or-death emergency, go to our Life-or-Death Emergency page to see if you qualify for an appointment. 


9. How much does a U.S. passport cost?

The cost of your passport depends on how fast you need it, and if you want a passport book, passport card, or both documents.

Go to our Passport Fees page for more information on how much to pay, and what forms of payment we accept. 


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

Enroll in emails using the Online Passport Status System. Learn about what each update means on our Application Status webpage.



11. My passport has already been issued and mailed to me, but I have not received it. What do I do?

If you have waited over two weeks since we mailed your passport, call us at 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 if you are deaf or hard of hearing).

We will help you complete a special form (known as the DS-86 form) which is a signed statement that you didn't receive your U.S. passport.

You must complete the DS-86 form within 90 days of the date we issued your passport. After 90 days, you must reapply and pay all fees, by law.


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

If your passport is damaged, apply for a new passport. Replace your passport if there is:

  • Water damage
  • A significant tear
  • Unofficial markings on the data page
  • Missing visa pages (torn out)
  • A hole punch

Do not replace your passport if there is normal "wear and tear" which includes:

  • The bend of a passport after being carried in your back pocket
  • Fanning of the visa pages after lots of opening and closing

If you need to replace your damaged passport, submit:

  • The damaged passport;
  • A signed statement explaining the damaged or mutilated condition of your passport book and/or card; 
  • Form DS-11 (including supporting documents, photo, and fees)

13. How many blank visa pages do I need, and can I add pages to my passport book?

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

You cannot add visa pages to a current passport book. If you need more pages, you must renew your passport book.

On your passport form, select the option for a "large book" so you can get a passport book with extra visa pages. 


14. Can I use a passport to fly in the United States?

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, residents of all states will soon have to 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 in the United States, visit REAL ID


15. Can I get a second passport book?

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


16. 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 to continue processing your passport. Go to our Respond to a Letter or Email page for more information.


17. Who should have a valid U.S. passport?

You should have a U.S. passport if: 

  • You have family living or traveling abroad,
  • You are thinking about a vacation abroad, or
  • You have a job that could require international travel.

18. My new passport book has a QR code sticker on the back. What is it for?

These stickers give you easy access to important passport and travel information on our website.

  • If you scan the code using your mobile device, it will link you to our website. If you do not wish to scan the code, you can also access the information on our After I Get My Passport page.
  • The QR code:
    • Is the same on all passport books
    • Does not have personally identifiable information, and
    • Does not change the way border officials and airlines review your document.
  • We are not placing QR code stickers on passport cards. 
  • You may remove the sticker. We recommend keeping it on so you have quick and easy access to our website.
This is an image of the QR code sticker that is placed on new U.S. passport books.

19. What is the next generation passport book?

The next generation passport book has a polycarbonate, multi-layered plastic, data page. The passport number of the book includes both letters and numbers.

Passport books have a small integrated circuit (or “chip”) in the back cover.  

The chip securely stores:

  • The same information displayed on the photo page of the passport,
  • A biometric identifier in the form of a digital image of the passport photograph, which is for facial recognition at ports-of-entry,
  • The unique chip identification number, and
  • A digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration.

If the chip fails, the passport remains a valid travel document until its expiration date. You will continue to be processed by the port-of-entry officer as if you had a passport without a chip.



20. What is the difference between an application fee and an execution fee?

When you apply for the first time or when you apply for your child, you pay both an application and execution fee. You always pay the application fee to the U.S. Department of State. You pay the execution (or acceptance) fee to the facility which takes your application.

These acceptance facilities include libraries, local government offices, and post offices. They need to collect the execution (or acceptance) fee to pay for the services they offer to customers.

When you renew your passport as an adult, you only pay an application fee to the U.S. Department of State. You do not pay an execution fee.


21. I received an email or text message that I did not ask for. How can I tell if this is from Passport Services?

We are sending emails and SMS text messages to some customers. The emails and text messages will include links that take you directly to our website. Use the information below to confirm the email or text message is from us. 


The emails may include a reminder to renew your passport from, or an invite to do a survey from  

If you get an email from, the subject line of the email may be:

  • Act Now - Renew Your U.S. Passport!
  • Act Now - Renew Your Child's Passport!
  • Act Now - Renew Your Passport Before Summer! 
  • Act Now - Renew Your Child's Passport Before Summer!

If you get an email from, the subject line of the email will be "Your Recent Passport Application - We want to hear from you."

Text messages

We are sending messages to some customers who have passports expiring in the next year, and customers who are applying for a passport. The message will appear in your phone's SMS text app from 1-888-904-6435 and will begin with "U.S. Department of State." 


22. How do I take a good passport photo?

Go to our Passport Photos page to learn requirements and see examples of photos. 

Children (Under 16)


1. What should I do if my child is too young to sign a passport book?

On a passport for a child under 16, a parent should print the child's full name on the signature line. The parent should also sign their name next to the printed name of their child, and note their relation to their child (example: mother, father, or guardian).

How to sign a child's passport
Example of how to sign a child's passport

2. What should I do if one parent or guardian cannot apply in person?

  • Both parents or guardians must approve that we can issue a passport to a child, and go with the child to apply in person.
  • If one or both parents or guardians cannot apply in person with their child, you will need to show more documents.
If... Then...
One parent can't go in person (but both of you have custody) Submit a Statement of Consent: Form DS-3053. The parent that cannot apply with the child must:
  • Sign and date Form DS-3053 in front of a certified notary public, and
  • Submit a photocopy of the photo ID provided to the notary public.
You have sole legal custody, or you are the only parent

Submit one of these documents:

  • A court order granting you sole custody, or giving you permission to apply for your child's passport
  • Certified copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption decree listing you as the only parent 
  • Certified copy of the death certificate of the parent that cannot appear in person
  • If the legal guardian of the child is an office or private institution, provide:
    • A certified copy of the court order which says the office or institution is the child's guardian.
    • Written approval from the office or institution that the individual applying for the child can apply. Include a complete Form DS-3053.
    • The employee ID of the individual applying to show they work for the office or institution.
  • Certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the parent that cannot appear in person
You cannot find the other parent (but both of you have custody)

Submit a Statement of Special Family Circumstances: DS-5525

  • We may ask you for more evidence such as a custody order, an incarceration order, or a restraining order to protect against international parental child abduction
  • If the non-applying parent is deployed by the military, that parent should provide a notarized Form DS-3053 in most cases. 
Neither parent able to appear

Submit a Statement of Consent: Form DS-3053 or a notarized statement from both parents or guardians giving that person (example: grandparent) permission to apply for the child.

  • Include a photocopy of the photo IDs for both parents or guardians.
  • If the statement is from only one parent or guardian, you must also show proof that that parent or guardian has sole custody of the child.

Important: Submit Form DS-3053 and other notarized statements within three months of signing them.


3. Can I renew my child's passport?

No. You cannot renew your child's passport using Form DS-82. If your child is under age 16, your child must appear in person with you and the child's other parent or guardian. You must submit your child's Form DS-11 at a passport acceptance facility, or a passport agency or center.

Social Security Number Requirement


1. Do I have to provide my social security number on my passport application?

Yes. Federal law requires that you provide your social security number, if you have one.

If you do not provide the information, your passport application will be delayed and your application may be denied. You will also be subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. (26 U.S.C. 6039E). 

Contact the Social Security Administration for information about getting a social security number and card.


2. What if I or my children don’t have a social security number?

Submit a signed and dated statement. You must include the statement with the application, and include this text:

“I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct:  I (or my child) have never been issued a social security number by the Social Security Administration.”

U.S. Passport Card


1. What is the passport card?

The U.S. passport card is a wallet-sized, plastic passport that has no visa pages. The card is proof of U.S. citizenship and identity, and has the same length of validity as the passport book.  

The card is for U.S. citizens who travel by land and sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries.

The card is not valid for international travel by air and is cheaper than the passport book.

You can apply for either the book or card, or both documents.  


2. How do I apply for a passport card?

You can apply for both a passport book and passport card at the same time using the same application. When completing your form, let us know if you would like to apply for one or both documents. 

If you're renewing both your passport book and passport card, you must provide both documents. If you can submit a passport book, but you lost your passport card, you cannot renew the passport card using Form DS-82.


3. Can I get a passport card if I already have a passport book?

Yes. If you already have a passport book and you are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for a passport card by mail as a "renewal" even if it is your first passport card.

You can do the same and apply for your first passport book by mail as a "renewal" if you already have a passport card.

Last Updated: April 29, 2024