United States Passport Office Locations
Anybody who needs to apply for a new passport would need to go to available passport offices in order to apply for one. Individuals who need to request for a replacement passport which has been damaged, stolen, or lost would also need to go to a passport acceptance office location in order to obtain their replacement passport.
If you are one of those people who need to apply for a new passport or a replacement passport, you would be relieved to know that there are several ways of obtaining your passport. The good news is that the Department of State provides several methods that you can use to find out the nearest passport office.
Passport locations are government offices that accept passport applications. These offices are also responsible for processing passport applications. While the process of obtaining a passport may be slightly different, depending on the country where the applicant resides in, the rules and regulations applied are generally the same.
In applying for a passport at a passport office, whether a new one or a replacement, the passport office will require and accept the application, identification documents, as well as the payment for application. The information and the documents will then be verified at a later date. After about six weeks of processing time, the passport will then be mailed to the address of the applicant.
Passport Locations: Types of Passport Offices
The main purpose of passport offices is to accept passport applications, the documents required in applying for passports, and the payment for the application. The procedures that passport offices follow may differ depending on the country, but may also be different between offices located in the same country.
In the United States, passport offices are divided into two types. The two types of passport offices in the United States are the regional passport offices and the passport acceptance offices. Both types of offices accept applications, documentations, and payments, but they also differ in several ways.
Passport Location: Regional Passport Office Locations
Regional passport offices are large passport centers that are located within major metropolitan areas scattered throughout the United States. These passport locations are specifically designed to provide all services concerning passport applications.
These passport services include the actual processing of the passport and all the documentations required in applying for a passport. Application through a regional passport office is recommended for individuals who need to obtain a passport within 14 days or applicants who have irregularities on their documentation. The staff in regional passport offices is trained and they also have the resources needed to deal with complicated or special situations.
Passport Location: Passport Acceptance Offices
The second type of passport location is the passport acceptance office. Passport acceptance offices are more widely available than the regional passport locations throughout the United States. Passport acceptance centers work together with other government facilities such as post offices, courts, and libraries to process the passport application.
In these shared facilities, the procedure that is followed starts with an applicant submitting all of the required paperwork and documentation to an office employee who is highly trained in receiving and processing a passport application. Aside from accepting documents and paperwork, passport acceptance offices also check the submitted documents from a list of all the required paperwork and will also issue a receipt for the payment made, followed by processing.
Documents Required when Applying for your PassportIf you will be applying for your first passport, you should apply and submit all the documentation required to any of the passport offices in person. For minors who are under the age of 14, both the mother and the father should also appear in person to accompany their child and should also provide both of their consent.
Another thing to remember is that if your child applying for the passport is under the age of 14, you and your spouse will need to present yourself during the application to signify that you are fully authorizing the passport application procedure that your child will need to undergo.
The required documents in applying for a passport include the DS-11 Application Form, proof of US citizenship (may be through US birth certificate or through a Naturalization Certificate), and proof of identity (passport, certificate of citizenship, valid driver’s license, Naturalization Certificate). You will also be required to submit two passport photos.
Your social security number would also be required, so make sure that you have this ready before you go to any of the passport offices. The application fee will depend on your age. For applicants who are more than 15 years of age, the passport application fee totals to $97. For 15 years and below, the total passport application fee is $82.
Photograph Requirements when Applying for a Passport
In submitting your passport photos to any of the passport offices, make sure that you follow the photograph requirements.
The passport photos must have a size of 2x2 inches, should be identical, should have been taken within the last 6 months, should include the full length of your face, may either be colored or black and white, and should have a plain white background or an off-white background. The photos should also present you wearing normal street clothing. Your face in the photograph should also be between an inch to 1 3/8 inches starting from the top of your head to your chin. Photographs that show you wearing head accessories such as hats are not allowed.
What is an Electronic Passport?
Travel is something that is regulated by the governments of all nations, and it’s easy to see why that is. No country wants to let criminals and other questionable individuals cross into their borders. The only way for somebody to be admitted is to show proper identification with a passport. Passports are official documents that provide the name, nationality, date of birth, and other personal details of the owner, and as of August 2007, all issued passports are of the electronic variety.
Electronic Passports: The New Standard
As a measure for increased international security, Congress has required all nations involved in the Visa Waiver Program to give out passports with microchips in them. Being identical to the traditional paper passports that we all know and love, the Electronic Passport just includes a small microchip in the outer covering that contains identifying information. The integrated circuit contains the following data: everything shown on the passport’s “data” page, a digital image of the passport photo used as a biometric identifier, the unique identification number of the microchip, and a digital signature that prevents unauthorized individuals to modify the content on the microchip.
Greater Security with Biometrics
As mentioned above, current-issue Electronic Passports store a biometric identifier in the embedded chip. Biometric identifiers are measurable attributes of a person that can be used to verify the person’s identity when required. These human characteristics may be physical or behavioral. The most common biometric identifiers include: fingerprints, facial features scanned using a face recognition technology, and eye features detected using iris scans. US Electronic Passports usually use the individual’s digital photograph as the biometric identifier, and all countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program must also issue Electronic Passports that contain digital images of the owners.
Protecting the Integrated Circuit from Unauthorized Access
PROTECTING FROM “SKIMMING” AND “EAVESDROPPING”
Skimming is when an unauthorized party scans the chip to obtain the information contained inside the passport’s chip. Since a metallic layer is added inside all e-passport covers, they cannot be scanned when closed. This means that the passport is only vulnerable when open. Basic Access Control prevents both skimming and eavesdropping. The first time that the chip is scanned using an authorized scanner, cryptographic keys are stored in the chip so that any unauthorized scanners cannot gain access to its contents.
PROTECTING FROM “TRACKING”
Even when unauthorized scanners cannot access the chip, they are still provided with the unique identifier for the chip. As a result, the passport owner can be tracked. To prevent tracking, a random number generator will assign a new unique identifier to the chip after each time it is accessed.
PROTECTION FROM “CLONING”
Cloning refers to swapping out an original chip for another chip containing the personal information of another individual. Scanning the replaced chip with an authorized scanner will easily show the discrepancy between the info on it and the info on the data page. If they don’t match, the individual presenting the passport will be denied.
Electronic Passports Make Traveling Easier
With the use of Electronic Passports, traveling will become much more hassle-free for all. Border security checks will take far less time when border police are already equipped with computers that have everyone’s information on file. Verifying somebody’s identity should only takes seconds with face recognition software after the e-passport has been handed over to a guard and scanned, but it’s not just time that is saved with this biometric technology. E-passports make it nearly impossible to mistake the identity of an individual, and this will ensure that only the people who have been proven that they are who they say they are will be allowed to cross into another country. Con-artists and other criminals who use elaborately-made false passports will have an extremely difficult time sliding past inspection. With e-passports, inspections will become so much more efficient as there will be no more need for shuffling through stacks of paper documents or visually comparing passport owners with their photos for verification.
The Rules and Regulations: Passport Denial and Revocation
One of the many rights granted by U.S. citizenship is the right to hold a U.S. passport. The U.S. passport allows U.S. citizens and nationals to lawfully travel internationally from and to the United States, and is a valid travel document for Americans to almost anywhere in the world. There are, however, circumstances under which an individual may be denied a passport, or have his/her passport revoked. It is important to understand the regulations around possible passport restrictions and revocation. Let’s take a look at who has the authority to issue and revoke passports, the process for verifying and revoking passports and some reasons why one’s passport request (or renewal) may be denied, or currently issued passport revoked.
Who Has The Authority To Deny/Revoke My Passport?
The Department of State, via the U.S. Passport Passport Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, has the authority to issue, grant and verify passports (22 U.S. Code 211a) and has been also been authorized to establish rules concerning the issuance of passports (Executive Order No. 11295,31 Fed. Reg.10603). Any agency believing an individual’s passport to be obtained fraudulently or believing an individual is for any reason no longer legally eligible to possess his/her passport, such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), must issue a written request to the Department of State for passport verification (Code of Federal Regulations 51.65(a)). In the case of an inquiry by the USCIS, which would pertain more to U.S. nationals and other non-citizens, the written request must contain the following information:
- The bearer’s complete biographic data – including known aliases.
- The bearer’s last known address.
- All unexpired U.S. passport and alien registration numbers.
- A photocopy of the biographical page of the U.S. passport when available.
- An analysis that includes a factual basis and reasons for requesting passport revocation, and explains why the individual is not entitled to bear a U.S. passport.
- Copies of all documentary evidence in support of the request, including certified translations of any documents written or originally prepared in a foreign language.
In any case, only after a written request has been submitted will the Department of State investigate the validity of a passport, and only the Department of State can send a letter of revocation to the passport bearer.
Reasons Passport Issuance Can Be Denied
- Defaulting/Non-Payment on a repatriation loan or medical assistance loan
- Being committed to a mental institution or declared incompetent by the courts
- Having been subjected to a previous revocation or denial
- Currently the subject of foreign extradition requests
- Previously issued a temporary passport for certain reasons
Reasons A Passport May Be Revoked
The Department of State, in accordance with the Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations 51.60-62, and 51.65, will revoke passports for the following reasons:
- Passport was obtained illegally or fraudulently
- Non-Payment of child support
- Passport was misused or changed/altered
- Passport holder’s Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship is cancelled
- Certain drug trafficking convictions
- Those convicted of sex tourism
If your passport application is denied for any of the reasons listed above, the Passport Services office will hold your application for 90 days from the date on the denial letter. If your passport was denied due to a listed outstanding debt, the debt must be paid within the 90 day hold period in order to continue the processing of the current application; otherwise, the passport application will have to be resubmitted.
For more detailed information see “Passport Denials, Revocations and Restrictions” at Answers.USA.gov.