Frequently Asked Questions What is a Passport Book?A Passport Book is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies the identity and nationality of its bearer for the purpose of international travel. It is valid for all modes of international travel and is the primary form of identification valid for international air travel. What is a Passport Card?The U.S. Passport Card can be used for travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. The passport card is not valid for international travel by air. The U.S. Passport Card may also be used as an official form of identification within the United States and is particularly useful for adults who do not drive and for children under the age of 16. How long is a U.S. passport valid?If your U.S. passport was issued when you were 16 years old or older, your passport is valid for 10 years. If your U.S. passport was issued when you were 15 years old or younger, your passport is valid for 5 years. Second valid passports (a passport issued in addition to the traveler's primary passport) are valid for 4 years. What is a Passport Acceptance Facility?A Passport Acceptance Facility is typically located at a main branch post office or clerk of court. An authorized agent at the facility will review the passport applicant's state-issued photo ID, proof of citizenship, and passport application; will issue an official oath to the applicant; and will witness the applicant's signature on the government form DS-11. To find a facility closest to your location, please visit http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/ What should I do if I can't find my birth certificate?Certified copies of birth certificates can be ordered by contacting the Department of Vital Statistics in the state in which you were born. Certified copies of birth certificates, under most circumstances, can also be ordered online at VitalChek.com. When can I renew my passport?Passports are typically eligible for renewal within one year to expiration. It is best to renew a passport at least six months prior to expiry. Passports may be renewed early if the passport is low on blank visa pages, shows signs of wear, or if the bearer has legally changed his or her name or had a radical change in appearance. Does my child need a passport to travel internationally?All U.S. nationals, regardless of age, require their own passport for international travel. Will the passport agency return my passport when I apply for a renewal?Yes, as long as the passport is deemed to be in good condition, the passport agency will cancel the existing passport and return it along with the newly issued passport. Can I fax or email you my signed documents?No, the U.S. Department of State requires documents with original, ink to paper, signatures for processing. Can you assist with processing passports for non-U.S. nationals?We provide passport services for U.S. citizens only. Most non-U.S. citizens are required to apply directly with the consulate of their country of origin. With your service, how do I get my photos to you?If you are using our service, your application and photos are sent to us via overnight shipping. We will provide a pre-paid airbill for you to use to send your documents to our office. Do I need a passport to go on a cruise?Most major cruise lines strongly recommend that all guests travel with a passport. Passports make it possible for you to fly back to the U.S. from a foreign port should there be an emergency. A passport also allows you to fly from the U.S. to and between foreign ports should you miss your scheduled port of embarkation. I was adopted and don't have a birth certificate, what do I do?You must submit the adoption paperwork or, if you are a parent applying for an adopted child's passport, you must submit identification that you are the adoptive parent listed on the adoption papers. Can I use a copy of my valid passport?No, you will need to submit your passport book when you apply for a new passport. Copies of passports also can not be used for international travel or identification purposes. If my passport is damaged, can I still renew it?Unfortunately, severely damaged passports cannot be renewed. You must select the damaged passport service, which requests a statement explaining how the passport was mutilated or damaged. Examples of severe damage to a passport include heavy water damage, torn or ripped pages, loose or detached cover, unapproved holes or staples, separated pages, or any other suspicious markings. Passports with minor damage from wear and tear, such as curling edges of pages or faded lettering on the blue cover, are generally eligible for renewal. If you are not sure, it is best to apply for a new passport using the mutilated passport procedure. What if my name has changed since I received my current passport?If you need to change the name in your passport and your passport is less than one year old, use Form DS-5504. If your current passport is more than one year old and you wish to change the name, you will need to apply for a Passport Renewal. You will need to submit the original court document indicating the name change or original marriage certificate, along with your current passport and other supporting documents. Can I renew my child's passport?Minor Passports [child was under 16 when issued a passport] are only valid for 5 years. They cannot be renewed the same way as an adult passport. You must apply for a new Minor Passport until the age of 16. It will be the same process as you followed when you got their previous passport.Note: To expedite your child's passport with our service, please select the "Minor Passport" service for all minors under 18. There are special requirements for age 16 and 17.