U.S. Passports & Applications
How soon should I renew my passport before it expires?
You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires.
I let my passport expire. What should I do now?
Please see our instructions for renewal. Always check your passport expiration date well before you plan to travel in order to prevent delaying your travel plans.
My passport has already expired. I do not wish to apply for a new one. Can my passport be extended?
No. Passports are not extendable.
If I don't plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should I renew my passport now?
- The passport is proof of American citizenship. Every American abroad should have valid proof of his/her citizenship at all times.
- Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly to the United States. The last thing you need to do in an emergency is worry about getting to the Embassy to get your or your child's passport renewed. It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
- A valid passport is required for many British administrative purposes and you do not want to get caught with an expired passport if you need to process an application for some benefit.
- If you wait too long, adults cannot renew an expired passport by mail. You will have to apply in person and pay an extra fee.
Will I get my passport back when I renew it?
Yes. In nearly all cases, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with the new one. If we are not able to return your old passport for any reason, we will discuss this with you at the time of application.
I have visa stamps in my current passport. What happens to them when this passport is cancelled?
The U.S. Embassy does not have the authority to transfer visas or stamps issued by other countries. When you renew your passport, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with your new one; you should then contact the appropriate authority of the issuing country for further instruction. For information regarding the transfer of your status in the UK to your new passport, you should contact the UK Home Office at:
UK Border Agency
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon, CR9 2BY
Phone : 0870-606-7766
Can I submit my passport application directly to the United States?
No. You must apply in the country in which you are physically present. If you are in England or Wales, you must submit your application to this Embassy. If you are in Scotland, you may apply at the U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh or at the Embassy in London.
Do I have to submit my passport application in person, or can I submit it by mail/courier?
It depends on what kind of application you are submitting. Some applications require personal appearance, while others are best submitted by mail or courier. Please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.
I want to come to the Embassy to submit my application, but the instructions tell me to do it by mail or courier. Why can't I come to the Embassy?
In March 2004, regulatory changes resulted in nearly everyone being required to attend the Embassy in person for passport services. Our facilities and staff could not absorb these extra in-person applicants without changing procedures, and therefore we now strongly encourage all applicants who are eligible to apply by mail to do so. Our waiting room is crowded every day with Americans in distress who have lost their passports and need to fly immediately, any and every American child under 18 years old (most accompanied by both of their parents), and a variety of other applicants who are required by law to appear in person. We hope you can understand why this has limited our ability to accommodate all Americans in person.
Additionally, all full-validity U.S. passports are now printed in the U.S. due to technology changes. Therefore, only a very small handful of individuals--those with travel emergencies--receive temporary passports the day they visit the Embassy. All other applications take four weeks to process--the same time it takes to process applications received by mail.
I live in Scotland and I'm required to submit my application in person. Do I have to come to London?
No. You can submit your application at the U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh. For more information, please visit their website.
Is there anywhere else in England or Wales I can submit my application?
No. All residents of England and Wales must submit their applications at the Embassy in London.
I have downloaded the passport forms and note that the instructions on the forms are different from those on this website. Which should I follow?
You should disregard the instructions on the passport forms as they refer specifically to passport applications processed in the United States. You should follow the instructions on this website.
How much does it cost to apply for a passport and how can I pay the fee?
The fees vary depending on the service you are applying for, and accepted payment methods will depend on whether you are applying in person or by mail. Please refer to the individual instructions for your specific passport service.
Can I pay by personal check?
No. The Embassy is not authorized to accept personal checks.
Can I pay for my passport in British pounds? How much is it?
If you are submitting your application in person in London or Belfast, you may pay in British currency. The conversion rate changes from day to day, however, so we are unable to tell you exactly how much it will be.
If you are submitting your application by mail/courier, you should use our credit card payment form [PDF - 188kb] (your card will be charged in U.S. dollars) or pay by banker's draft or international money order in U.S. dollars only. We are unable to accept cash by mail or courier.
If I am applying for more than one passport renewal by courier, do I send you individual money orders or credit card slips for each application?
No. If you are enclosing more than one application fee, you should send only one money order or credit card slip for the total amount.
Can I submit copies of the supporting documents?
No. You are required to furnish the originals or copies certified by the issuing authorities bearing the official's seal and signature. Photocopies certified by a Clerk of Court, Justice of the Peace, solicitor, or notary public are not acceptable.
My most recent passport has an amendment that changes my name because I got married. When I apply to renew it, do I have to submit my marriage certificate again?
No. We have already documented your name change, so you should simply fill out the application form for your new passport in your new name.
My birth certificate/marriage certificate/divorce decree is not in English. Do you require a translation?
Written translations by an accredited translator are required for any documents not in English.
I do not have my birth certificate/Consular Report of Birth Abroad; how can I obtain a copy?
You may obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate from the state in which you were born. The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states' contact information for this purpose.
If you were born abroad, your parents should have registered your birth at a U.S. Embassy or consulate and received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240. This form is acceptable legal proof of birth and U.S. citizenship. Records are kept at the Passport Correspondence Office in Washington, DC.
How can I obtain copies of U.S. marriage, divorce, or death certificates?
You may obtain a certified copy of these certificates from the state in which the event occurred. The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states' contact information for this purpose.
What records does the Department of State keep and how can I request copies?
Please follow these links for information on obtaining copies of:
Do I need photographs if I am renewing a passport?
All applications, including passport renewals, must be accompanied by one photograph that meets the specified requirements. The instructions for your specific passport service will give you more information. The Embassy will reject any photograph that does not meet our requirements.
Does my child require photographs?
Yes, even babies require photographs if you are making an initial application for a passport, renewing their passport, or replacing a lost or stolen passport.
How do I photograph a baby?
Photo requirements are the same for all applicants. In the case of very young babies the head may be supported as long as the baby's face is clear. There is no requirement that the baby's eyes be open.
There are photo booths all over the UK that say they provide passport photos. Are these acceptable?
No. These booths provide photos for British and European passports. The U.S. has different requirements and we will not be able to accept photos from these booths.
Where can I get acceptable photos taken?
Provided the photographs meet the specified requirements for U.S. passports, any photographer may take them. We do maintain a list of photographers in England and a list of photographers in Northern Ireland [PDF - 76kb] who are familiar with our requirements and have produced acceptable photos in the past, but cannot recommend any specific photographer, or assume any responsibility for their efficiency, integrity, or reliability. You may wish to take our photo instruction sheet with you to the studio to ensure that your photographer is adhering to our requirements.
Am I required to use one of your recommended photographers?
Provided the photographs meet the specified requirements for U.S. passports, any photographer may take them. The website merely provides a list of photographers that are familiar with U.S. passport requirements and have produced acceptable photos in the past. The Embassy cannot recommend any specific photographer, or assume any responsibility for their efficiency, integrity, or reliability.
Are digital photographs acceptable?
If you choose to submit digitized photographs, they must meet the passport photograph requirements or they will be rejected. Some printers will produce an unacceptable photograph in which the dots are seen, or the image is grainy. Acceptable photographs are printed on high-quality photographic paper, have a continuous tone image that is very photo-like, and show the subject clearly in focus.
Will you accept vending machine photographs or photographs printed on a home computer?
No, we will not accept such photographs.
Am I required to validate the photographs?
No, this is not a requirement.
Can I hold more than one passport or nationality?
Yes. In the 1980's, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away from a citizen who does not intend to relinquish it. Therefore, such actions as naturalization in a foreign country, employment with a foreign government, and/or voting in a foreign election do not automatically jeopardize American citizenship.
I am an American citizen, but also have a foreign passport. Can I use my foreign passport to travel to the United States?
No. Under U.S. law, U.S. citizens must be in possession of a valid U.S. passport to enter or leave the United States. This is true even if you hold a passport from another country. If your U.S. passport has been lost or stolen, or if it has expired, you must apply to replace it before traveling to the United States.
How long is a passport valid for?
In general, children under the age of 16 are issued passports valid for five years; those 16 and over are issued passports valid for ten years.
How long will it take to process my passport application?
An application for a full-validity (ten years for adults; five years for children under age 16) or second passport will be sent to the United States for printing with a secure, photo-digitized image of the bearer. Therefore, whether you apply for the passport by mail, by courier, or in person, you should allow four weeks for your application to be processed.
I need a passport in an emergency; what can I do?
If you are traveling within 5 workdays, you may schedule an appointment to apply for a limited-validity passport.
How long is an emergency passport valid for?
Emergency passports can be issued for a maximum of one year.
My passport is still valid, but its pages are fully stamped. Can I have extra pages added to it, or should I apply for a new passport?
You may apply to have extra pages added to the passport. Alternatively if your passport will expire shortly you may apply to renew it. If you are a frequent traveler, you may request a 52-page passport in writing with your application. There is no additional fee for this service.
My passport was issued in my maiden name; can I change it to my married name?
Yes, although you will have to apply for a new passport in the new name.
If I use a different name than that which is on my birth certificate/most recent passport, can I change the name on my passport?
There are certain acceptable forms of name changes that may be entered into U.S. passports. For further information on acceptable name changes and application procedures to apply for a new passport in your new name, please follow this link.
My passport has been lost/stolen. I'm applying to have it cancelled and replaced, but should I be worried about identity theft?
The Federal Trade Commission provides guidelines for individuals whose personal information has been compromised
How can I find out if I need a visa to travel to a particular foreign country?
Please consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for the country to which you wish to travel. You should also check with the Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission of that country for definitive guidance. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office maintains a list of foreign missions in the UK at http://www.fco.gov.uk.
I just got my new passport back and there's a mistake in it. What do I do?
Contact us as soon as possible.