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Limited Validity Passport Issuance

Consulate General of the United States of America
Consulate General of the United States by bedobedo/DepositPhotos

A limited validity passport is a passport that was issued with less than the normal, full validity. If you were issued one outside of the United States, it was likely an emergency limited validity passport to replace a lost or stolen full-validity passport allowing you to continue your travels and get home. U.S. embassies around the world have the authority to issue these emergency passports to U.S. citizens in need.

If you received a limited validity passport while residing within the United States, chances are you were going through a process such as naturalization or gender reassignment, or you had some type of identity or citizenship documentation deficiency that prevented you from qualifying at the moment for a full-validity passport. Limited validity passports, no matter why they were issued, are always considered temporary in nature.

If you have been issued a limited validity passport, the expectation is that you will replace it with a full-validity passport although you are not required to; you can simply let it expire and apply when you want to travel abroad again. If you are ready to replace a limited-validity with a full-validity passport, the process depends on the circumstances of when and where it was issued.

If yours is an emergency passport issued outside the United States, you are encouraged to replace it with a full-validity passport as soon as possible. You cannot receive two emergency passports back to back, so if something happens to the one you currently have, you will not be issued another one. You will be required to apply for a full-validity passport. This can take up to 6 weeks from the United States and about 15 working days to process through an embassy or consulate.

To apply for a full-validity passport in these circumstances, where it has been less than a year that you were issued your emergency passport, you need to submit a completed Form DS-5504. Along with this form, you need to send in your limited validity passport and a color passport photo. On the last page of your emergency passport, if it says it was issued under 22 CFR 51.41, you also need to send proof of citizenship. If it says it was issued under 22 CFR 51.28, it means you must also submit proof of identity. There is no fee unless you choose to have your full-validity passport expedited.

If your limited validity passport was issued domestically, and you are applying for a full-validity passport, you will need Form DS-5504, one color passport photo, your limited validity passport, and evidence of name change, gender change, or U.S. citizenship, depending on the reason you have a limited validity passport. There is no fee for this service during the first year, or if it is due to citizenship or gender reassignment, then two years.

If you were issued an emergency passport outside the U.S. more than one year but fewer than 15 years ago, then you need to apply for renewal. Submit Form DS-82, your limited validity passport, a color photo, and the $110 renewal fee; no execution fee is required. If you let the limited validity passport expire, or if your domestically-issued limited validity passport is beyond the one-year limit for name change or two-year limit for gender reassignment or citizenship, then you will need to apply for a new passport with Form DS-11, all the supporting documents and fees, and your limited validity passport.

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