U.S. Passport Application FAQ
Get the answers to all of your Frequently Asked Questions about Passports below:
General Questions About Passports
What exactly is a passport?
Passports are official government documents that are issued by every country to its citizens to serve as proof of their citizenship and identity while traveling abroad. U.S. passports are issued by the United States Department of State through their Passport Agency Locations across the country.
Do I have to have a U.S. passport?
If you intend to exit the United States and enter the territory of another sovereign nation, then the answer is yes. Citizens of the United States require passports to enter into and exit from, not only the various countries around the world, but the United States as well.
If you are applying through the United States Postal Service, regular processing takes on average about 6 weeks and expedited processing about 2-3 weeks.
If you schedule an in-person appointment to apply at one of the 25 Regional Passport Agency Facilities located around the country, then same day service is possible with proof of travel.
If you choose to use a passport expediting service like US Visa Connection, this eliminates the need to make an appointment, make the trip to a passport agency facility, stand in long lines, or correspond directly with the U.S. Department of State. Our processing time options range from urgent same business day & 24-48 Hours to regular expedited 5-10 business days depending on speed of service you select.
How early can I apply for a U.S. passport renewal?
We recommend you submit the application for a passport renewal around 1 year before its expiration, however, you are free to renew a passport at any time. If you are requesting a passport renewal 2 years or more before its expiration and you are not out of visa pages nor need a name change, we advise to include a letter of explanation.
What is US Visa Connection and how can you obtain a U.S. passport for me?
US Visa Connection has been a trusted provider of expedited U.S. passport & travel visa services since 1989. For US citizens, after careful scrutiny, we submit your passport documents on your behalf to the United States Department of State and communicate with them through the entire process and your passport has been issued. Our passport services include:
- New & First Time Passports
- Passport Renewals
- Passports for Children
- Second Valid Passports
- Replacing Lost or Stolen Passports
- Replacing Damaged Passports
How long is a U.S. passport valid for?
If you are issued a U.S. passport and you are 16 years old or older, your passport will have a validity of 10 years.
If you are issued a U.S. passport and you are 15 years old or younger, your passport will have a validity of 5 years.
Do I need a passport if I am going on a cruise?
US Citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port) and travel to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda are able to re-enter the United States with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. You will need to present a valid state issued ID drivers license or ID and one of the following as proof of citizenship:
- Original or certified copy of a government issued birth certificate;
- Consular Report of Born Abroad Certificate;
- Certificate of Naturalization.
Most major cruise lines, however, highly recommend that all guests travel with a passport. Passports make it possible for you to fly back to the U.S. from a foreign port in the case of an emergency. A passport will also allow you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port in the event you miss your scheduled port of embarkation.
I am applying for a New U.S. passport through US Visa Connection and I need to find a Passport Acceptance Facility in my area? How can I find one?
To locate Passport Acceptance Facilities in your area, enter your zip code in the Passport Acceptance Facility Locator. Passport Acceptance facilities are normally US Post Offices, County Court Houses, and Public Libraries.
When I apply for the renewal of my U.S. passport, will my canceled passport be returned to me?
Yes, unless it is deemed to be damaged or tampered with by the United States Department of State, your canceled passport will be returned to you with your newly issued passport.
How much validity must my passport have to be valid for international travel?
Most countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your return to the United States from your trip. If your passport expires sooner than this you must apply for a passport renewal before you can travel. If you need to know how much validity your passport needs to have for a specific country, please visit the Visa Services section of our website for information or contact us at 877-VISADOC (847-2362) or at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
My passport pages are completely filled with visas and entry/exit stamps. Can US Visa Connection add additional passport pages to my U.S. passport?
As of January 1, 2016, the US Department of State phased out the option of adding additional visa pages to U.S. passports. If you have no available pages left in your passport it must be renewed. Please visit the Passport Renewal section of our website for information or contact us at 877-VISADOC (847-2362) or at email@example.com for assistance.
If I have been married or divorced recently and my name has changed, how do I change my name on my U.S. passport?
If your name has changed and you need to change your name in your U.S. passport, you must simply apply for a Passport Renewal and provide an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree.
Can US Visa Connection replace U.S. passports that have been lost, stolen or damaged?
Yes, we can replace your Lost/Stolen Passport or replace your Damaged Passport as quickly as 24-48 hours or even same business day.
Do I need to get a U.S. passport for my child to travel internationally?
Yes. Each individual citizen, even infants, must possess his/her own passport to travel outside of the United States. If you need to get a passport for your child who is a minor under the age of 16 (15 years old or younger), please visit the Child Passport Section of our website for requirements or contact us at 877-VISADOC (847-2362) or at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If my child is too young to sign his/her name in their own passport, what do I do?
In the space on the application provided for the signature, the mother or father should print the child’s name. They should then sign their own name and next to the signature write the word (mother) or (father) in parenthesis so the State Department will know who signed for the child.
What is the Passport Agency Letter of Authorization and why do I need it?
The Authorization Letter allows UVC to:
- submit the new passport application to the US Passport Agency;
- speak and interact with the US Passport Agency as an agent on the applicants behalf;
- pick up & ship the new passport when completed.
Can I fax or email you copies of the U.S. Department of State Passport Application Form, Authorization Form, or any other required document to be submitted?
No, all required government forms must be original with original signatures. You may, however, fax or email copies to be reviewed for accuracy prior to shipping.
I am currently in the military and have a military passport. Can I use my Military Passport to go on vacation?
Your brown no-fee military passport can only be used when traveling overseas in discharge of your official duties. For personal travel, you must use a blue regular-fee tourist passport.
What do I need to do if I give birth to a child while traveling abroad?
A citizen of the United States who gives birth to a child in another country should report their child’s birth as soon as possible to the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate to establish the child’s claim to U.S. citizenship. There your child will be registered and upon approval issued an original Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240).
I am an adult and was born abroad. How do I get a birth certificate to prove I am a citizen of the United States?
If one or both of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born abroad, your parent(s) should have registered your birth at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and, received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad , Form FS-240. This form is acceptable legal proof of birth and U.S. citizenship.
I need to apply for a passport and there is no birth record on file for me. What do I do?
If you were born in the United States and there is no birth record on file, you will need several different documents to substantiate your citizenship. You will need: A letter from the Vital Statistics office of the state of your birth with your name and what years were searched for your birth record. An official of the Vital Statistics office needs to issue a letter of no record found.
In addition, you will need early public records to prove your birth in the U.S.
If you were born outside the U.S. and your parent who are U.S. citizens did not register your birth at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you will need:
- Your foreign birth certificate that includes your parents’ names;
- Evidence of your parents U.S. citizenship;
- Your parents’ marriage certificate.
What forms of payment does US Visa Connection accept?
US Visa Connection accepts payment by Check, Money Order, Paypal and most major credit cards including American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover.
What mailing method do you recommend for sending in my passport documents?
US Visa Connection recommends using FedEx as a reliable and traceable method of delivery for shipping your passport documents.