Types of Passports
The United States Government issues a few different types of passports
to American citizens. Each type has a specific purpose and requires
specific requirements be met in order to obtain it. The information
below provides details about the kinds of passports, who they are for
and how they can be obtained.
A regular passport is issued to
American citizens and nationals who may or may not be a U.S. citizen.
Nationals who are not granted citizenship are those who are born in
either American Samoa or Swains Island. The regular passport is often
referred to as a tourist passport although it is also used by those who
travel for business, study, work and other purposes.
A regular passport book has a blue cover and is issued with the
standard 28 pages or non-standard 52 pages. This type of passport has a
validity of 10 years when issued to an applicant age 16 or older and 5
years when issued to a minor age 15 or younger
The regular passport can be used for a variety of travel
purposes including but not limited to tourism, business, work,
participation in competitions and conferences, research and study.
for getting this kind of passport include evidence of
United States citizenship, proof of identity, a photocopy of
identification document and a passport photo. There are additional
requirements for minors. Evidence of name change
must be submitted if
the name requested is different from citizenship evidence.
Applicants can apply at local application acceptance facilities
for routine processing in up to 6 weeks or expedited service in up to 3
weeks. Faster processing can be obtained at a regional processing
center. Those who are unable to visit an agency can apply through a
registered expediting courier service get a passport expedited in one day to two weeks
An official passport is issued to an employee or official of the U.S.
Government traveling abroad to carry out official duties. This same
type of passport can be issued to spouses and family members of such
persons when authorized by the Department of State.
Applicants must submit the same application form and supporting documents required for a regular passport through the Special Passport Issuance Agency
. In addition, evidence of official status must be submitted. There is no fee
for this type of passport. The official passport is issued for a
validity of 5 years, cannot be used for leisure travel and must be
returned when official duty ends as part of the checkout process.
The diplomatic passport is issued to a Foreign Service officer
or to a person having diplomatic status because he or she is traveling
abroad to carry out diplomatic duties on behalf of the United States
Government. As with an official passport, the diplomatic passport
cannot be used for leisure travel. For this reason, diplomats are
encouraged to obtain a regular passport before departing the United
States for official duties.
Applicants must submit the appropriate application form,
supporting documents and a copy of the orders from assigned post. The
validity for this type of passport is 5 years. There is no fee for this
passport. It must be turned in when tour of duty is over.
The passport card is a variation of the regular passport. It has the
same requirements and can be used for the same purposes. However, there
are restrictions on the type of travel and destinations for which the
passport card can be used. This type of passport is limited to land and
sea travel to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean region, and Mexico.
The validity of the passport card is 10 years for an adult
applicant and 5 years for minors under age 16. The fee for this type of
passport is $30 for an adult and $15 for a minor. There is an execution
fee of $25 for first-time applicants. Note, passports issued to minors
must be renewed by applying for a new passport at an application
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