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Frequently Asked Questions About U.S. Passports

1. What is a US Passport?

    A United States passport is an internationally recognized travel document attesting to the identity and nationality of the bearer. Basically, it is a request on the part of the issuing government that officials of foreign governments permit the bearer to travel to and in their territories and to afford them all lawful aid and protection.

2. What is a PASSPORT CARD? (Click Here)
 

3. Who can issue a US Passport?

    Only Passport Services, Passport Agents of the Department of State, and Foreign Service posts designated by the U.S. Secretary of State have authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.

4. Why do I need my US Passport expedited?

    Depending on the time of year, the seasonal nature of travel and/or during peak travel periods, the normal processing time can range up to six or eight weeks and sometimes much longer. If you need a Guarantee that your passport arrives on time you are a perfect candidate for the services we offer. The government also offers expedited service which can take two to three weeks but there is no guarantee of arrival date.

5. Do I need a US Passport to travel to Mexico or Canada?

    As of January 23, 2007 all AIR travel to and from Mexico and Canada requires a US Passport.   Land or sea travel does not require a US Passport yet, but it is highly recommended for security and other reasons.  If traveling by land or sea without a US passport you must have a birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship and proper ID and be prepared for a potentially longer stay at the Customs Desk.

6. Does my child need a US  Passport?

    Yes. Each traveling individual requires a valid US passport. Even newborns.

7. What is an Acceptance Agent or Acceptance Facility?

    Acceptance agents are authorized by the government to witness the signing of your DS-11 application and initiate its execution. They are generally located at Federal offices such as Post Offices, Court Houses and some Libraries.

8. What If I do not have a copy of my Birth Certificate?

    You may need one so Click here for a list of resources for obtaining a birth certificate. It will be returned by the agency with your new Passport.

9. What if I am a Naturalized Citizen?

    The original naturalization certificate must accompany the application for a passport. It will be returned by the agency with your new Passport.

10. Are both parents needed to obtain a Passport for a child?

11. Where can I get a US Passport application?

12. How long is a US Passport valid?

    If you were 16 or older when the passport was issued, then your passport is valid for 10 Years and can be renewed. If you were 15 or Younger when the passport was issued, then your passport is valid for 5 Years and cannot be renewed.

13. Do I get my old US Passport back when I renew?

    Yes, your old, canceled passport is returned to you. It should be kept in a safe place since it can be used as proof of your U.S. citizenship. If it is badly damaged or mutilated then it may not be returned.

14. How do I change my name for a Marriage or a Divorce?

    If your current passport is within one year of issue, you can submit a DS-5504 Reapplication Form, along with the passport to be replaced, the appropriate documentation supporting the change and two new photos. If it is more than one year since the date of issue, you must submit using the DS-82 Renewal form (or DS-11, if appropriate), and follow the appropriate procedures.

    NOTE: In both cases, original certified documentation of your name change will be required. (e.g., state marriage certificate, divorce decree with your new name, etc.) All original documents are returned with your new passport.

15. My child is very young. What happens if he/she cannot sign the application or Passport?

    In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child's name and sign their own name. Then, in parenthesis by the parent's name, write the word (mother) or (father) so we know who signed for the child.

16. What is the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program?

    Separate from the Two-Parent Consent requirement for U.S. passport issuance for minors under the age of 14, parents may also request that their children's names be entered in the U.S. passport name-check system. The Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program provides:

    • Notification to parents of passport applications made on behalf of minor children, and
    • Denial of passport issuance if appropriate court orders are on file with CPIAP.

    For more information, contact the Washington Passport Agency’s Office of Children's Issues at 202-736-7000, or, by fax at 202-312-9743.

17. What would prevent someone from attaining a Passport?

    If you are in arrears in child support payments by $2,500.00 or more and your case is registered with HHS your Passport application may be declined. Also, individuals wanted by federal authorities will also most likely be declined.

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