Passport requirements, both in the United States and around the world, are quite strict. The rules dictate who can
apply for a U.S. passport, what is required to obtain one, the proper way to use it and the procedure to renew it.
U.S. passports are issued by the United States government to its citizens. They verify identity and citizenship while
traveling abroad. A passport is now required to travel to all foreign countries.

Passport Application

All citizens of the United States are eligible for a U.S. passport. Citizens must submit a passport application at a U.S.
passport office or through an authorized agent at a post office, library or local government building. The application
must be accompanied by a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, valid photo identification, two passport-sized
photos and a passport processing fee. This fee is $100 for citizens 16 years and older. A passport application takes
about 1 month to process and is valid for 10 years.

Child Passport

Children 15 years and younger must apply for a child passport. This can only be done at a passport office in person
with a parent present. In addition to all the documents required for an adult passport, a child passport application
must also be accompanied by proof of the child's relationship to the parents. This can be a birth certificate with the
parent's names on it or an adoption decree. The parents must also sign a consent form allowing the passport to be
processed. If only one parent is present, then the other parent must fill out a notarized statement of consent form.
The fee is $85 for a child passport. The application takes about 1 month to process and is valid for 5 years.

Passport Renewal

U.S. passports should be renewed at least 6 months before they expire. Many countries forbid entry to those with
less than 6 months' validity left on their passports. U.S. passports can be renewed through the mail as long as the
old passport is not damaged, was issued no more than 15 years ago, was issued under the same name and was
issued to someone at least 16 years old at the time. If you do not qualify, then the passport renewal must be applied
for in person. You are required to submit a passport renewal form, two passport-sized photos, a fee of $75 and the
old passport. The old passport will be invalidated and returned to you as a souvenir. Passport renewals take about
1 month to process and are valid for 10 years.

Passport Use

All U.S. citizens are required to present their valid U.S. passport to immigration officials upon departure from and
entry into a country. This includes departure from and entry into the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean
countries. In the past, movement between these areas did not require a passport in some instances. That has
changed. Airlines also require you to show them your valid passport before they put you on a flight. Immigration
officials sometimes stamp the pages of a passport to indicate the place and date of an entry into or exit from a


U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same port in the U.S.) will be able to enter or
depart the country with proof of citizenship, such as a government-issued birth certificate and laminated government
issued picture ID, denoting photo, name and date of birth. A U.S. citizen under the age of 16 will be able to present
either an original, notarized or certified copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad issues
by DOS, or Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Note: Baptismal papers and hospital certificates of birth are not acceptable. Voter registration cards or Social
Security cards are not considered proof of citizenship.


Visas are required by certain countries for citizens of certain other countries to visit. You must apply for a visa at an
embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit. If a visa is granted, a stamp is placed on a page of your
passport. When you arrive in that country, the visa in your passport is stamped along with the passport itself to
signify that you entered the country and used the visa. The issuing country will only grant a visa if the passport is
valid. Some countries will only issue visas if the passport will be valid for 6 months past the planned date of
departure from their country
Passports - U.S. Department of State
Passport Announcements. New Requirement for ALL U.S. Birth Certificates;

Passport requirements - proof of US citizenship

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