U.S. passports are required for all U.S. citizens that travel across country borders by air. These passports provide proof of citizenship, along with information that can help international officials identify you. Passports are for leisurely traveling purposes only. If you plan to work while visiting a foreign country, you will require a U.S. work visa.
Adult passports are issued to all persons that are age 16 and older. Applicants who are 16 and 17 are required to apply in person, along with their parent or guardian. Parental consent is required, and written consent may be requested.
Passport applications take approximately four to six weeks for processing. Generally, an application will be available for online tracking within seven business days. Expedited passport service is available with an additional fee. Expedited passports are usually processed within two to three weeks.
Passports can be obtained at designated U.S. post offices, clerk of courts, public libraries and various government offices. The offices are designated by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Passport Services.
If you lose your passport while on foreign land, contact the local U.S. Embassy, Consulates or Diplomatic Missions immediately for assistance. The authorities will help you report the lost or stolen passport and obtain a replacement.
Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months after your departure date. This ensures your passport's validity in case of a delayed return.
Article Written By Charmayne Smith
Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.