A U.S. Passport is Your Key to International Travel
The Department of State’s Passport Services Directorate issues U.S. passports to traveling Americans. Passports are a request to foreign governments to permit you to travel, and also allow you to re-enter the United States. They provide proof of U.S. citizenship at home and around the world.
What is a U.S. Passport Book or Card?
A passport book or card is proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens can use the passport book for all international travel: air, land, or sea. U.S. citizens can use the passport card to enter the United States from Canada; Mexico; the Caribbean; and Bermuda; and at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. However, U.S. citizens cannot use the passport card for international air travel; the wallet-size passport card is convenient and less expensive than the passport book.
How do I Apply for a Passport Book or Card?
Whether you plan to apply for a first-time passport book, passport card, or both, submitting your passport application is easy. The U.S. Postal Service® makes it convenient to apply for your passport:
- Visit travel.state.gov or contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY 888-874-7793 for more information on how to apply for a passport.
- Visit usps.com/passport to locate a Post Office™ near you that offers passport services.
Passport and International Travel Tips:
- Apply as early as possible before a trip.
- Check the expiration date of your passport well in advance of your departure date. Some countries may not permit you to enter if your passport will expire in 6 months or less.
- Check the Department of State website, travel.state.gov, for current processing times for routine service and expedited service. Processing times are subject to change due to volume.
- U.S. passports are issued to adults for 10 years and children under the age of 16 for 5 years.
- You can fill out and print passport forms online from travel.state.gov or obtain them at your local Passport Application Acceptance Facility.
- Before traveling abroad, copy the identification page in case your passport is lost or stolen. If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, report the loss immediately to local police authorities and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Visit the Country Information pages on travel.state.gov to learn about the countries in which you are traveling.
- Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov. When you sign up, you will automatically receive the most current information we compile about the country where you will be traveling or living. You will also receive updates, including travel warnings and travel alerts (where appropriate).
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