US Passport FAQ


How Long is a US Passport Valid?
A normal adult passport is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. Generally US passports validity can not be extended and must be renewed (replaced) upon expiration except by US Embassies in emergency situations. In some cases, applicants may receive reduced validly passports as a result of a history of loosing passports.

Children's passports (less the 16 years old) are valid for five years, except for infants who often receive passports valid for one or two years.

What is the 6 Month Validly Rule?
As a rule of thumb, US passports must be valid for a minimum of six months past the date of entry into a foreign country. This rule exists to protect the traveler should they encounter medical, legal or other issues resulting in an unforeseen extended stay in the country. Some countries are more relaxed on this regulation.

Some countries in Western Europe indicate three months of validity are required and countries such as China routinely allow people to enter with one month of validly remaining. But any of these counties can and do enforce a six month policy (or more) at the discretion of the immigration officer.

Can I Use an Expired Passport?
No. An expired passport is not valid for travel into a foreign country.

What is an "Electronic Passport" and how can I tell if I have one?
The U.S. Electronic Passport (e-passport) is the same as a regular passport with the addition of a small contact less integrated circuit (computer chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip securely stores the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and additionally includes a digital photograph. The inclusion of the digital photograph enables biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology, at international borders. The U.S. e-passport also has a new look, incorporating additional anti-fraud and security features. Since August 2007, the U.S. has been issuing only e-passports.

Can I Have Two Passports?
Persons making frequent international trips sometimes need a second passport. The most common reason a second passport is required is that travelers must submit their passport to an embassy to secure a visa for travel to that country, however the person using his/her passport to travel to another country while the visa application is being processed. In such circumstances, the passport agency will issue a duplicate or second limited validity passport for a period of time - usually two years.

What Do I Do If I Lost My Passport?
If you are unable to locate your passport it is recommended that you file a report with your local police and submit a government form (DS-64) to the US State Department to invalidate that passport. You may apply for a new passport (you can not renew a passport you do not have in your possession) and submit the DS-64 form with your application for a new passport. For detailed instructions visit: Replacing lost or stolen passports.

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Who Signs a Child's Passport?
If the child is under 16 a parent must sign the passport. In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child's name and then sign their own name with their signature and in parenthesis by the parent's signature, write the word (mother) or (father).

How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport
Replace US Passports Although many peoples first instinct is to assume a missing passport may have been stolen, often the passport has been misplaced and usually turns up, unfortunately not usually in time for that upcoming trip. Replacing a lost passport is similar to applying for a new passport with the addition of a form used to explain the circumstance behind the loss or theft of the passport. The form, called a DS-64, asks questions about the passport itself such as number and expiration date (which most people do not know and leave blank) and then follows up with questions about the last time the passport was seen and what the applicant has done to try to recover the passport. To view complete instructions, visit our Lost or Stolen US Passport Replacement Service page.

Hot to Get a New Passport
Every day we help travelers get new passports quickly for emergency travel situations that come up. In order to get new passports quickly you will need to review the new passport requirements on our new US passport or US passport renewals page. The detailed new passport requirements include gathering your birth certificate, a travel itinerary, US passport style photographs and a completed New US Passport Application form (DS-11) or a Passport Renewal Application form (DS-82). Our new passport instructions will walk you through the process and ensure that you submit the correct new passport documents in order to expedite your new us passport order.

How Do I Get More Visa Pages?
In the past you could apply for adding visa pages to a passport. The new set of pages would be glued or sewn into the passport. The US governmnet stopped this procedure in December of 2015. If you have run out of visa pages, you will need to renew your passport. Pro Tip: When renewing your passport, you can check off the box for a 52-page "Jumbo" book - this will double the passport pages in your new passport.





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