Requirements for International Travel
All US citizens, including children,
are required to obtain passports in their own names
for identification while traveling abroad and for re-entry
into the United States. Unless specifically authorized
by a passport issuing office, no person may have more
than one valid, or potentially valid, US passport of
the same type at any one time.
Following is a summary of the
passport application process that was compiled from
information provided by the US State Department, which
maintains a web site at http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.
You can download PDF versions of all applications at
If you are applying for your first US Passport, you
must apply in person at one of over 3500 Clerks of Court
or Post Offices which accept passport applications or
at one of the regional Passport Agencies listed below.
Call your county courthouse or the largest regional
post office in your area or look under the blue pages
of your phone book. You will need to provide the following
1. Proof of United States citizenship
or nationality such as: a certified copy of a birth
certificate (one issued from a government office, not
a hospital) for all applicants born in the US, a Certificate
of Naturalization or Citizenship, or an expired US passport.
2. Proof of identity (photo ID
with signature) such as a previous US passport, a Certificate
of Naturalization or Citizenship, a valid driver's license,
or a valid government or military identification card.
3. Two identical passport photographs
taken within the last six months. The photographs must
be 2x2 inches with an image size between 1 and 1 3/8
inches. Photographs must be a front view, full face,
taken in normal street attire without a hat or dark
glasses, with a plain white background.
4. A completed passport application
form DS-11 which contains all the requested information
except your signature. This form must be signed in the
presence of an authorized executing official.
Applicants who have had a previous US passport issued
within the past 12 years, and who were 16 or older when
the passport was issued, may be eligible to apply for
a new passport by mail providing they can submit their
passport and their name has not changed. They may also
apply in person. Documents required for passport renewals
1. US Passport
2. Two passport photos
3. A completed passport application
form DS-82 which contains all the requested information
and is signed and dated. You can order an application
form by calling the passport agency nearest you. Mail
the completed application and attachments to:
P.O. Box 371971
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7971
If you are sending your renewal
by overnight delivery other than the US Postal Service,
send it to:
Attn: Passport Supervisor, 371971
3 Mellon Bank Center, Rm 153-2723
Pittsburgh, PA 15259-0001
Your previous passport will be
returned to you with your new passport.
Passport fees for an initial ten-year passport are now
$85 if you are 16 years of age or over, and $70 for
a five-year passport if under 16. Note that the fee
for a passport is written out as a check or money order
to Passport Services and to the county clerk's office,
so you may need to bring two checks. Passport renewal
fees are now $55. Some local governments are now charging
additional processing fees as well.
Passport application processing time varies with passport
agencies workloads. It is best to apply in the fall
when workload volume is at its lowest. Processing time
is normally about 3-4 weeks, but you should apply at
least 4-6 weeks prior to any scheduled international
travel. The spring and summer months are the busiest
so the application process may take longer during these
If you are leaving on an emergency trip within five
working days, apply in person at the nearest passport
agency and present your tickets or travel itinerary
from an airline, as well as the other required items.
Or, mail your application overnight express mail and
enclose a include a self-addressed, prepaid envelope
for the overnight return of the passport, with a check
made out to Passport Services and request for its return
by overnight express mail. Be sure to include your dates
of departure and travel plans on your application. Applications
are processed according to the departure date indicated
on the application form. If you give no departure date,
the passport agency will assume you have no immediate
travel plans. If you are leaving the country in less
than 15 work days, enclose a $35 expediting fee (in
addition to the overnight mail fee, and the $60 passport
or $40 renewal fee) and clearly mark the envelope "EXPEDITE."
When traveling abroad, carry your passport with you
at all times in a safe place. It is a good idea to take
a photo copy of your passport with you and keep it in
a separate safe place along with copies of your credit
cards, traveler's checks and plane tickets. If your
passport is lost or stolen, US embassies will usually
accept this as proof that you're a US citizen and can
quickly issue you a temporary passport. It's also a
good idea to leave a copy of your passport with someone
at home in case of emergency.
Additional Visa Pages
If you require additional visa pages before your passport
expires, submit your passport with a signed request
for extra pages to one of the passport agencies listed
below. If you travel abroad frequently, you may request
a 48-page passport at the time of application.
If your name has been changed, you may have your current,
valid passport amended with this new name. To do so,
mail your passport with your Court Order, Adoption Decree
or Marriage Certificate showing your name change, and
a completed passport application form DS-19 to the Passport
Agency nearest you. You must complete the application
and sign it in your new name.
Check with the embassy or consulate for the countries
you are visiting before departure; it is possible the
US Passport will not be valid for entry into these countries.
All have limited 24-hour recordings which include basic
information about the passport agency location, hours
of operation and information regarding emergency passport
services during non-working hours. For additional information
try the U. S Department of State's Passport Information
Web site: http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html.
Most passport agencies now require appointments to service
passport applications, so be sure to call before visiting
your local office.
You can also listen to automated
recordings or talk to a live person by calling the new
privately run passport information service at 900-225-5674.
Callers will be charged 35 cents per minute for automated
service which will explain what's in this document and
$1.05 per minute to speak to a live person.
Thomas P. O'Neil Federal Building
10 Causeway Street, Suite 247
Boston, MA 02222-1094
Region: Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Upstate New York, &
Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 18th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604-1564
Region: Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan, & Wisconsin
50 Washington Street
Norwalk, CT 06854
Region: Connecticut and Westchester County (New
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., local time, M-F, excluding
Automated Appointment Number: (203) 299-5443
Prince Kuhio Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96850
Region: American Samoa, Federated
States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, & Northern
Mickey Leland Federal Building
1919 Smith Street
Houston, TX 77002-8049
Region: Kansas, Oklahoma,
New Mexico, & Texas
ANGELES Passport Agency
11000 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024-3615
Region: California (all counties
South of an including San Luis Obispo, Kern and
San Bernardino), and Nevada (Clark County only)
Claude Pepper Federal Office Building
51 SW First Avenue
Miami, FL 33120-1680
Region: Florida, Georgia,
Puerto Rico, South Carolina, & US Virgin Islands
ORLEANS Passport Agency
One Canal Place
365 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130-6508
Region: Alabama, Arkansas,
Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,
North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia (except
YORK Passport Agency
376 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
US Custom House
200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2970
Region: Delaware, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, & West Virginia
FRANCISCO Passport Agency
95 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-3901
Region: Arizona, California
(all counties North of and including Monterey, Kings,
Oulare, and Inyo), Nevada (except Clark Co.), &
Henry Jackson Federal Building
915 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98174-1091
Region: Alaska, Colorado,
Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota,
Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, & Wyoming
1111 19th Street, N.W.
Region: Maryland, Northern
Virginia (including Alexandria, Arlington County,
and Fairfax County), and the District of Columbia
1111 19th Street, N.W. Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036
Applications for Diplomatic,
Official, and No-Fee passport
To find the closest passport acceptance facility
to you, go to: http://visa.his.com/
& Visa Expeditors
Should I Use an Expeditor? If you are traveling to a
country which requires a visa for entry and you are
pressed for time, you may want to go through a visa
or passport expeditor. The expeditor will go through
the steps required to obtain the necessary documents
with you, and submit them to the Embassy or Passport
Office for you, sometimes even "walking" your
documents to the appropriate office. There is, of course,
a charge for these services.
Depending on your destination
and time schedule, using an expeditor can be a wise
decision. Despite the fact that you are paying for the
service, often times the expeditors have negotiated
a wholesale price, passing a discount along to you.
Other times, particularly if you are not in a hurry,
you'll be better off going through the process yourself.
are the Fees?
Passports - A reasonable expeditor will charge a fee
of roughly $85-$100 for passports processed within 9
days, and about $150 for those turned around within
3-8 days. This is in addition to the government fees,
which are $85 for a new applicant, or $55 for a renewal.
To have a visa expedited within 24 hours, you should
expect to pay at least $200 to the expeditor. Shipping
fees are additional; and many sites will give you a
discount if you are processing a passport and a visa
application, or more than one of either.
Visas - Most visa expeditors
will charge a service fee of $30-$50 to process a tourist
visa, and slightly more, around $50-$60, to process
a business visa, for normal processing. If you want
it sooner, you can expect to pay double. These fees
come in addition to consulate and shipping fees. Consulate
fees vary greatly depending on your destination. The
most expensive visas are to Russia and the former Soviet
Union, China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
Keep in mind that for a fee of
$60 (in addition to the $85 cost for obtaining, or $55
for renewing) the US Passport Service will process expedited
passports within three working days.
Be sure to compare fees, to make sure you are getting
the best deal. Some companies specialize in providing
visas to certain countries, and will give you the best
deal to those places in particular, but will have higher
fees to other areas of the world.
Although many companies boast
24-hour service, be sure that it applies to you. Some
expeditors require you to live in New York or Washington,
Also, be careful to fill out
all forms correctly! If you fail to provide the necessary
information (for example travel to some areas of the
former Soviet Union still require an invitation), your
visa or passport will be denied and you will still have
to pay the expeditor.
Be aware of hidden fees. If you
are requesting 24-hour service, and your documents must
be walked to the agency, some companies will charge
as much as $30 an hour for "waiting fee" if
there is a delay at the office.