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Who needs a passport?

Passport Services recommends that the following U.S. citizens maintain valid U.S. passports.

  • Those with family living or traveling abroad
  • Those thinking about a vacation abroad, or
  • Those with a job that could require international travel.

A parent or legal guardian may sign the passport if the child is too young to sign his or her own name. To do so, a parent or legal guardian must print the child’s name and sign his or her own name in the space provided for the signature. The parent or legal guardian must also write his or her relationship to the child in parenthesis next to the signature (e.g., parent or legal guardian) so we know who signed for the child.

Processing times can vary depending on the time of year, and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. During busier times, such as the summer travel season, we encourage customers to expedite their applications if traveling in less than 6 weeks. See Application Processing Times  for more information, it can take up to 8 business days. Same day passport service is available under certain circumstances.

The cost of your U.S. passport will depend on the type of passport you request and how quickly you need it. See Passport Fees   for more information on the cost of a U.S. passport book or a U.S. passport card and all associated services.

  1. If you were age 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.
  2. If you were under 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years.
  3. The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card.

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.  Consider the following scenario: A country requires that you have at least six months of validity on your passport. You currently have seven months of validity on your passport.  However, your trip is two months from now. At that point, you will only have five months of validity remaining on your passport which is not enough to satisfy that country’s entry requirements. In this situation, you would need to renew your passport before you can make your trip.

Check each Country’s Specific Information  for Entry/Exit Requirements to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling.  If your passport has already expired, you may still be able to renew your passport by mail. See How to Renew Your U.S. Passport.

The passport application process for minors, under age 16, is the same whether or not the minor has had a passport in the past or not.  The application must be submitted in person at a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility.  It cannot be renewed by mail.  For more information go to Children Under 16.

Since many countries require U.S. passports to have at least 6 months of validity and some require two blank pages for entry, it is recommended that you begin the application process to renew your passport approximately 7 or 8 months before it expires depending upon your travel plans. Review the country’s Entry/Exit Requirements  for your vacation or travel plans.

You can get fillable Passport Forms for all first-time applicants, children under 16 years of age/minors and Passport Renewal Applications for Eligible Individuals at Passport Forms.