Passport Requirements for US Citizens
Here are the passport requirements for US Citizens traveling outside the United States. The source of these rules is the US Department of State. (Refer to US Department of State Travel Documentation Requirements below.)
A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship and permits a citizen to travel abroad.
Only the U.S. Department of State and its U.S. Consulates abroad have the authority to issue a passport.
Apply for a US Passport as soon as possible (at least two months in advance, more time if Visas are required.) For details, click on the U.S. Department of State's Passport Application.
Many countries mandate strict passport requirements: it must be valid at least six months past any trip dates. Contact the closest consulate of the host countries for any other passport requirements.
Check to see if visas are required by the host countries. For a detailed list of foreign embassies and consulates, click on the U.S. Department of State's Web Sites of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.
If your passport is lost or stolen, report it immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Consulate.
A consulate can issue a replacement, often within 24 hours. Be sure to have photos of your passport with you. For details click on the U.S. Department of State's Passport - Lost or Stolen.
Better yet scan your passport, credit cards, plane tickets, rail pass, driver's license and other important documents into a Word file. Give it a password that you can't forget and email them to yourself.
That way you can get a copy of your documents anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.
For more information - Passport Application page for US Citizens
For more information - Visa Requirements page
The following information is found on the U.S. Department of State's Website concerning Travel Document and Passport Requirements.
The easiest way to meet the following Documentation and Passport Requirements is to apply for and receive a valid US Passport as soon as possible. Also remember, it is necessary to have a valid US Passport BEFORE you can apply for any visas that might be required by a foreign country. - Uncle Dan
US Department of State Travel Documentation and Passport Requirements:
Source: U.S. Department of State
Please Note: The WHTI-compliant documents described below are acceptable for entry or re-entry into the United States. You may be required to present additional or different travel documents when entering foreign countries, including countries in the Western Hemisphere. Before you travel, make sure you know the entry requirements of the country you plan to visit.
ALL PERSONS traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport book or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.
LAND AND SEA TRAVEL
ALL PERSONS traveling by land and sea outside of the United States are required to present a passport book/card, or other valid travel documents to enter or re-enter the United States.
The following summarizes information available on the Department of Homeland Security’s website:
- Effective June 1, 2009, all U.S. citizens are now required to present a passport book, passport card, or WHTI-compliant document when entering the United States.
Please Note: Children under age 16 will be able to continue crossing land and sea borders using only a U.S. birth certificate (or other form of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate.). The original birth certificate or a copy may be used. See the Department of Homeland Security's Know Before You Go! for more information on the changing travel requirements.
The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory.
U.S.PASSPORT AND WHTI COMPLIANT DOCUMENTS:
- U.S. Passport: U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport when traveling via air, land or sea.
- The Passport Card: The passport card is only valid for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda.
- WHTI-Compliant Travel Documents for U.S. citizen travel via land and sea, as of January 31, 2008:
- Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
- State Issued Enhanced Driver’s License (when available)
- Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)
- U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business
- Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
- Form I-872 American Indian Card
For further information see U.S. Customs and Border protection.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), requiring all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States.
Please Note: The WHTI-compliant documents described above are acceptable for entry or re-entry into the United States. You may be required to present additional or different travel documents when entering foreign countries, including some countries in the Western Hemisphere. Before you travel, make sure you know the entry requirements of the country you plan to visit.
The goal of WHTI is 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.
Here are some important planning tips:
Go to the Page on Get Organized
Choose a Good Guidebook
Go to the Library Travel Section.
What to Pack for Your Next Trip
Choose a Travel Companion
Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip
Last Minute Travel Bargains