The Department of Homeland Security provides information on the passport application process, obtaining a visa, border crossing documents, and general travel tips.
What You Need to Know
U.S. passports are issued by the U.S. Department of State. U.S. Citizens must get a passport for overseas travel.
Apply for a US Passport - All information on requirements for U.S. passport applications is found at the U.S. Department of State website, including requirements for first time applicants, how to renew your passport and what the current fees and procedures are.
Find Out If You Need a Visa - United States citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. If you have a visa, we recommend you make a copy and put it in a separate place. Carry your visa with you—do not pack it in your checked luggage.
Border Crossing Document Requirements for Western Hemispheric Travel - If you are planning travel in the Western Hemisphere you should know there are six types of acceptable documents for crossing US borders. The types of identification required for travel in the Western Hemisphere -- Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America – is described by the Western Hemispheric Travel Initiative.
Safeguard your Passport. You must present your passport to the Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival in the United States. Carry your passport—do not pack it in your checked luggage. We recommend you make a copy of your passport and put it in a separate place as a safeguard in case it is lost or stolen.
Traveling with Children. All children, including infants, must have their own passport or Trusted Traveler Program for U.S. entry. Carry documents for traveling with minor children.
- If you are escorting a minor child without the parents, have a letter from both parents indicating that you have permission to travel with the minor.
- If the child is accompanied by only one parent, the parent should have a note from the child's other parent. For example, "I acknowledge that my wife/ husband is traveling out of the country with my son/ daughter. He/She/ has my permission to do so."
- If a single parent has sole custody, a copy of the court custody document can replace a letter from the other parent.