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A U.S. Passport is Your Key to International Travel

The Department of State’s Passport Services Directorate issues U.S. passports to traveling Americans. Passports are a request to foreign governments to permit you to travel, and also allow you to re-enter the United States. They provide proof of U.S. citizenship at home and around the world.

What is a U.S. Passport Book and Passport Card?

A passport book or passport card is proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. The passport book can be used for all international travel: air, land, or sea. The passport card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It cannot be used for international air travel. The wallet-size passport card is convenient and less expensive than the passport book.

Whether you plan to apply for a passport book, passport card, or both, submitting your passport application is easy. The U.S. Postal Service® makes it convenient to apply for your passport. Visit http:⁄⁄ or contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 877-487-2778 or TDD⁄TTY 888-874-7793 for more information on how to apply for a passport. Visit http:⁄⁄⁄passport to locate a Post Office™ near you that offers passport services.

Passport and International Travel Tips:

n Apply as early as possible before a trip.

n Check the expiration date of your passport well in advance of your departure date. Some countries may not permit you to enter if your passport will expire in six months or less.

n Check the Department of State website, http:⁄⁄, for current processing times for Routine Service and Expedited Service. Processing times are subject to change due to volume.

n U.S. passports are issued to adults for 10 years and children under the age of 16 for five years.

n Passport forms can be filled out online and printed from http:⁄⁄ or obtained at your local Passport Application Acceptance Facility.

n Before traveling abroad, copy the identification page in case your passport is lost or stolen. If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, report the loss immediately to local police authorities and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

n Visit the Country Information pages on http:⁄⁄ to learn about the countries in which you are traveling.

n Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at http:⁄⁄ When you sign up, you will automatically receive the most current information we compile about the country where you will be traveling or living. You will also receive updates, including Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts (where appropriate).