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Whether you are obtaining a new passport or renewing an existing one that is about to, or has, expired, give yourself ample time to take care of this important task. We recommend a minimum of four weeks, even eight weeks if you are traveling during the holidays. Many local post offices will provide you with the application (also found here), take your photograph (it must be EXACTLY to government specifications and they know the rules), and mail it in for you for a small service charge on top of the application fee.
If you are securing your first passport, click here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html
Many countries require that your U.S. passport have as much as six (6) months validity remaining for entry. If your passport doesn't have the required validity, renew it today to avoid the cost and stress of waiting until the last minute.
If you are renewing your U.S. passport, click here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/renew.html
Here are the passport application, passport renewal, and passport corrections/name change forms (you will need Adobe Reader to open them - download here: http://download.cnet.com/Adobe-Acrobat-Reader-DC/3000-10743_4-10000062.html.)
DS-11 First-time application for U.S. Passport, click here.
DS-82 Passport Renewal Application (to be mailed in), click here.
DS-5504 Passport Application for Corrections, Name Change within One Year of Passport Issuance, click here.
If you lose your passport, or it is lost or stolen, report it immediately to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Once you have reported your passport as being lost or stolen, it becomes null and void and cannot be used for international travel. Here is some helpful information, click below:
United States Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions
We hope you never have to call upon the services of our offices abroad, but in case you do, here is a link to the websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions around the world:
Travel Alerts and Warnings
The United States Department of State/Bureau of Consular Affairs issues Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. There is a difference between the two; both are important:
Travel Warnings are issued to inform travelers that certain countries/areas have the potential to be unsafe and unsuitable for travel by U.S. citizens. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. You need to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years.
Travel Alerts are issued for short-term events that you should know about when planning to travel to a country. Reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health concern such as an outbreak of a contagious disease; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are deemed to be over, the U.S. Department of State will cancel the Travel Alert.
For more information on Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including a current watch list by location, click here.