US passport information guide

Passport Information

A US Passport is both a travel document and an identity document. It serves as proof of your identity and your US citizenship, and is needed for all travel outside of the United States. On this page, you’ll find general US passport information, information about passport agencies, frequently asked questions, and basic information and documentation for US passport applications. You’ll also find links to many more pages on with even more detailed information. Explore our site and learn all you need to know about US passports!

US Passport Eligibility

If you are a US citizen, you can be issued a passport. US passports are not available to non-US citizens, including US Permanent Residents (“green card” holders). If you are going to travel outside the United States, you need to have a valid US Passport.  It’s that simple!

Newborn Baby Passport Information

Contrary to popular belief, newborn babies and young children do need their own passports in order to travel outside the US. Babies and children under age 16 are issued minor passports that are valid for five years. They are valid for only five years, instead of ten, because their appearance changes so dramatically as they grow. Minor passports cannot be renewed. The same procedure must be followed to get a passport for a child age 15 or under, even if the child has been previously issued a passport. This is a safety measure to help prevent international child abduction. Please see our minor passport page to learn more about the special procedures to apply for a child passport.

Passports for Adults Age 16 and Older

US citizens age 16 and older are issued passports valid for 10 years. The first time you apply for a passport as an adult, you will need to prove your identity and US citizenship by appearing before a Passport Acceptance Agent. After that – so long as your passport is not lost, destroyed, or allowed to remain expired for more than five years – you will be eligible for a passport renewal, which is a streamlined process that does not require going to a Passport Acceptance Facility.

Information and Documentation for US Passport Applications

Although the specific requirements for US passports vary depending on service, the basic information and documentation required for all services includes:

Where Can I Apply for a Passport?

If you need a new US passport (first time applicant), minor passport, or a replacement for a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, you will need to start your processing at one of the following locations:

  • Passport Acceptance Facility – These are usually located in:
    • Major post offices
    • Courthouses
    • County clerk offices

    Once you have gone to the Passport Acceptance Facility and had your application sealed into an official envelope, you can have it processed by mail or by a passport expediting company.

  • Regional Passport Agency – You will need to have proof of urgent travel in order to make an appointment for service at a regional passport agency.

If you need service on a valid or recently expired passport, such as a passport renewal, additional passport pages, name change, passport correction, or a second passport, you can apply for passport service via:

Do I Need a Passport To Go To Canada or Mexico?

Yes, especially if you want to be able to come back to the US! If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico via land or sea, you can use either a passport book or a passport card, but if you travel by air, you must have a passport book.

Do I Need a Passport For a Caribbean Cruise?

Yes, you will need to have a valid US passport before you board your cruise. Although some cruise destinations, such as Bermuda, allow entry with a US passport card, cruise lines highly recommend that you travel with a passport book. This is important in case you have an emergency and need to be transported back to the US by air.

Do I Need a Passport To Go To Puerto Rico?

No. Puerto Rico is a US territory, and US citizens do not require passports to enter.


PASSPORTINFO.COM is not operated, maintained by, or affiliated with any passport offices or government agencies. It is a privately operated website portal for informational purposes only.