The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Passports

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For frequent travelers, there’s nothing more important than a passport. Not only does it help authorize entry into different countries, but it also serves as a source of identity for the visitor. Depending on your location, the privileges you may have while holding a passport can be complicated to understand. To help you out, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about passports.

Your Guide To Frequently Asked Questions About Passports

Many things go into traveling, whether you’re coming into the United States or leaving it, traveling for work, or pleasure. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about passports and visas, so you know what you need to do before making travel plans.

When Do I Need a Passport?

As a US citizen, if you plan to exit and/or return to the US by air, you need to possess a passport. For children aged 16 or younger returning from Mexico or Canada by land, a birth certificate should be a sufficient piece of evidence of US citizenship. When returning from a closed-loop cruise, however, a passport won’t be necessary for re-entry.

Where Can I Travel With a Passport?

Just because you have a passport doesn’t necessarily mean you will be granted entry into a country you want to visit. Though passports are necessary for international travel, you may also need to apply for a travel visa to enter your destination country. Do a little research before booking any trips to see which countries allow you to travel to them visa-free with just your passport and which ones require a few extra steps.

When Do I Need A Visa?

Though similar to passports, a visa is an official document that allows the bearer to enter a foreign country legally. There are several different types of visas that give you additional rights when traveling to other countries.

For example, travel visas allow you to visit another country for touristic and leisure purposes and give you a predetermined amount of time to visit. They do not allow you to work or engage in business activities in another country. You’ve probably also heard of work visas, student visas, or a transit visa. Visas are necessary if you want to visit a country that doesn’t have a visa policy in place with your country. Many countries have visa policies that allow their citizens to travel freely without a visa and only need valid travel documents.

Do I Need to Obtain a Passport for My Newborn?

Yes. Every individual, including children and infants, need to possess a passport for traveling purposes.

What to Do if My Passport Is Stolen or Lost?

If your valid US passport has been lost or stolen, report the problem by calling 202-955-0430 as well as the local police department. If you face this problem while you’re abroad, you will need to report to both the Consular Section of the nearest US Consulate and the local law enforcement authorities. When you apply for a new passport, you will be required to complete and submit Form DS-11 as well as DS-64, ‘Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport.’

What is an Electronic Passport?

An E-Passport is no different from the traditional passport and serves the same purpose, including a small chip in its back cover. This chip acts as a biometric identifier and uses your photo’s digital image in the passport to support face recognition technology at points of entry. It also includes a unique chip identification number, the information you see on your passport’s data page, and a digital signature to prevent alteration attempts.

How Do I Update My Passport If My Name Has Been Changed?

If your name has changed, you will need to complete and submit Form DS-5504. Along with the DS-5504 form, you will need to submit your current passport and the original court document verifying the name change.

Is It Necessary to Appear in-Person at the Passport Issuance Facility?

Yes, it’s important to appear before the concerned official because that’s where you pledge an oath that you have truthfully and faithfully completed the application for a US passport. After taking the oath, you’ll be asked to sign the application. To verify your signature and physical description, the official will check your state-issued ID.

How Long Should My Passport Be Valid Before I Travel?

Typically, passports need to be valid for at least six months from the start of your travel date. Some countries might not let you enter if your access will expire while you are traveling. However, each country has different requirements for how long your passport must be valid, so make sure you check with your destination country’s government website. These were some of the most frequently asked questions about passports. If you have more questions related to the topic, you can get in touch with us!