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Frequently asked passport questions and answers



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Frequently Asked Passport Questions and Answers

Q: What is a passport?

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


Q: Who can issue passports?

A: 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.


Q: Can I Renew My Passport?

If you answer yes to all of these questions you can renew your passport

Can I submit my most recent passport?
Was I at least 16 years old when my most recent passport was issued?
Was my most recent passport issued less than 15 years ago?
Do I use the same name as on my most recent passport, OR, did I have my name changed by marriage or court order and can submit proper documentation to reflect my name change?


Q: How long does it take to get a passport?

A: The normal processing time ranges from four to six weeks. During peak travel periods, it may take as long as ten weeks. If you cannot wait that long, click here
to take advantage of our expedited service.


Q: There is no official record of my birth. What can I do?

A: You will need to contact the proper agency (Bureau of Vital Statistics or Health Department) of your birth state. A letter will be issued to this fact, then we can use other items for proof.


Q: What if I am a naturalized citizen?

A: The original Certificate of Naturalization must accompany the application for a passport. It will be returned to you with your passport.


Q: Do I have to bring my child in with me for his/her passport?

A: Yes, all children under the age of 16 must accompany their parents or legal guardian.


Q: Do my parents have to be listed on my birth certificate?

Yes, as of April 1, 2011, all birth certificates are required to have the full names of the applicant's parent(s). The birth certificate should also include applicant's name, date of birth, and place of birth.


Q: When is a passport required?

A: As of June 1, 2009, a passport is required for travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Carribean by land, sea or air. For more information, see Western Hemishphere Travel Initiative.


Q: What is the difference between a passport and a visa?

A: A visa is permission granted by the government of a country to an alien to enter that country and to remain for a specific period of time. It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain necessary visas, if any, before proceeding abroad. Visas are obtained from the embassy or consulate of the countries to which the applicant wishes to travel.


Q: I am not a U.S. citizen, but I need a passport. What must I do?

A: You must contact the nearest consulate of your country to obtain a passport of that country.


Q: I dont have a birth certificate, but I have my military papers. Will that suffice?

A: No.


Q: My passport has been lost, stolen or mutilated. What must I do?

A: You must complete a new application, the DS-11, with a new picture, birth certificate, ID, and form DS-64. Click here for expedited options.


Q: I am a convicted felon. Can I get a passport?

A: That is entirely up to the discretion of the Passport Agency.


Q: Can my child be included on my passport?

A: No, they need to get their own.

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