To travel internationally, you will need a passport to enter or return to another country. These documents are issued by the government to verify your identity and allow you to travel freely.
Did you know there are many types of passports available? The most popular type is Type P.
The standard passport used by Americans to travel internationally is the Type P passport. This government-issued ID can be used as proof of identity in the United States, as an alternative to a driver’s license.
Find out more about the Type P passport and how to obtain one.
5 types of U.S. passports
There are five types available in the United States of America. Each type of passport is designed for a specific type of traveler. Personal travel can only be done with the Regular “Fee” passport.
Regular “fee” passports. These are the most common passports. These passports are also called “tourist” and Type P passports, as they are personal.
Official. Official passports in maroon are issued to U.S. government employees and officials who travel for official purposes. When required by their country, military personnel also receive official passports.
Service. This gray passport is issued to contractors who support the U.S. government when a Type-P passport will not work.
No-Fee Regular. These passports can be used in the same way as Type P but do not require payment of standard fees. These passports are only issued to U.S. Department of Defense personnel, American Red Cross volunteers and Peace Corps volunteers who have been assigned overseas.
The benefits of a passport
Travelers have many benefits when traveling abroad or at home with a passport. These are just a few of the many benefits that a U.S. passport can bring. Type P passport:
International travel. To travel internationally, you will need a passport for entry into a foreign country as well as to return to the U.S.
Visas are required. Certain countries require visas to enter. To apply for a visa, travelers must have their passports.
Alternative to a real ID. Travelers must have a real ID in order to fly domestically starting May 7, 2025. Your passport will be accepted if your driver’s licence or ID card has not been updated by that date.
You may have lost or stolen your ID. Your passport can be used as an ID issued by the government if your other identification is lost or stolen.
You can find work or school in another country. In today’s global economy, you are not limited to your locality. You can travel to other countries for work or education with a passport.
How do I get a passport
For people who want to apply for a Type-P passport, the U.S. State Department offers a simple procedure. These are the steps to follow:
For a U.S. passport, complete the application form (DS-11). The form can be downloaded or filled out online.
You will need proof of U.S. citizen. Along with your passport application, you will need proof of citizenship. Original or certified copy of U.S. citizenship, birth certificate, passport valid in the United States, certificate of birth abroad, certificate of naturalization, or citizenship must be submitted with your passport application.
Current identification is required. An official will verify that your identity is correct when you submit your passport application. An acceptable form of ID is a driver’s licence, a passport or other document that can be used as proof of identity, such as a certificate of naturalization, citizenship, or employee identification from the federal, state, or local government.
Get passport photos. Attach a 2-inch by 2-inch color photo to your passport application. Your head should be facing the camera and the photo must have been taken in the past six months. You can wear everyday clothes, but not a uniform. Don’t smile, take off your eyeglasses or cover your head.
Pay the application fees. Pay the passport fees by cashier’s or personal check. Separate payment must be made for the execution fee. The application fee for those aged 16 or older is $130. If the applicant is under 16, it’s $100. No matter what age, execution fees cost $35
Receive passport. Your passport and proof may arrive in separate packages. You may also receive a passport card application in a separate package. Standard processing time is six to nine weeks. Expedited processing takes three to five days.
Both parents must attend the appointment if you are applying for a Type P passport. If the parents are unable to attend, they must sign a notarized consent to the issuance.
When does passport expire?
Your passport’s expiration date will depend on the type of passport you hold. Blue Type P passports for adults expire after ten years, while Type P passports for children below 16 years are valid for five years.
If you owe money or have a history of losing or being stolen from passports or are unable to provide required documentation, the U.S. Department of State could revoke your passport sooner.
Different types of special issuance passports have different expiration date. All special issuance passports are limited to five years.
Can I renew my passport?
Yes, you can renew a Type P passport for adults if it is still valid. Children under 16 years old cannot renew passports. They expire after five years.
Should I update Global Entry if I have a new passport?
Global Entry is a membership program which expedites your entry to the U.S. after returning from international travel. Your passport is the basis of your membership. Logging into Global Entry is required to update your passport information when you obtain a new passport.
Passport Type recapped
Now is the right time to apply for your passport, whether you are planning an international trip or not. Although it might sound scary, applying for a Type-P passport is a way to get a passport for international travel.
It is easy to apply and the fees are affordable considering that adult passports can be used for up to ten years. It takes approximately two months to receive your passport back so it is important to apply as soon as possible to avoid additional fees for expediting your passport.
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