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What do I need to travel abroad?

For information on what documents you will need in order to travel abroad, click here.

For more general information and international travel tips, review the Department of State's website for travelers.

How do I apply for a U.S. passport?

To apply for a passport for the first time, you must apply in person at an approved facility. For a list of where you can apply, click here.

To apply in person for a passport, you must:

  1. Fill out a Passport Application (form DS-11, available from the State Department website)
  2. Present proof of citizenship (such as a previous U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship,
  3. or a birth certificate)
  4. Present proof of identity (such as a government issued ID)
  5. Provide 2 passport photos
  6. Pay the passport application fee
  7. For more specific information, click here.

If you need to renew your U.S. passport, and were at least 16 years old when it was issued, you may be able to apply for renewal through the mail. For more information, and to see if you are eligible to apply by mail, click here.

I'm traveling soon, and haven't applied for a passport yet. What should I do?

Due to the high demand for passports, the processing time for passport applications has increased. Currently, regular processing takes 10-12 weeks. If you are traveling, or need your passport to obtain a visa within the next two weeks, contact the Department of State's National Passport Information Center. The Center's telephone number is 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). You may have to call several times before reaching a customer service representative.

If you have 3 or more weeks, you can choose to expedite your passport application. The expedited process currently takes 2-3 weeks and includes overnight service for sending in your application, and returning your passport to you. The fee for expedited service is $60, in addition to the regular passport processing fees.

For more information on applying for a passport, click here.

What should I do if my passport was lost or stolen?

If your passport was lost or stolen, it is important to report the loss immediately to protect yourself from identity theft.

If lost overseas, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate (http://usembassy.state.gov).

If your passport was lost or stolen in the United States, you must first report the passport as missing to the Department of State and then apply to replace the passport. For more detailed instructions and the necessary forms, click here.

What are the entry requirements for foreign countries?

Each country has different requirements for entry. Almost all countries limit the length of time you may legally stay without a visa, and some have entrance or exit fees. Countries may also limit what you may bring into the country, or take with you when you leave.

If you plan on traveling abroad, review the Department of State's list of foreign entry requirements.

Do I need a passport for traveling to Mexico, Canada, and other countries in the Western Hemisphere?

On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region or Bermuda are required to have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Before these new rules went into effect, U.S. citizens only needed to show proof of identity and U.S. citizenship.

As of January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region or Bermuda, by air, are required to present a passport to enter or re-enter the United States.

Now, as of June 1, 2009, the full requirements of the "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative" regarding land and sea travel are being implemented. U.S. citizens entering the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region or Bermuda will be required to present one of the following travel documents:

  • U.S. Passport
          This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person's identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.
  • U.S. Passport Card
          This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.
  • Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)
          Several states are issuing this driver's license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.
  • Trusted Traveler Program Cards
          NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used at airports with a NEXUS kiosk.

Document Rules for Special Groups:

  • Children
          U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization card or citizenship card.
  • Groups of Children
          Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship.
  • "Closed Loop" Cruises
          Travelers in cruises that depart from a U.S. port, sail only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same port do not have to comply with the new rules.
  • Other Special Groups
          Members of the military, members of the merchant marine, and Native Americans can also use special forms of identification.


The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to strengthen U.S. border security while facilitating entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors by providing standardized documentation that enables the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler. The initiative requires all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States. The countries covered by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative are Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region and Bermuda


As always, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.