U.S. Passport Requirements for Traveling Abroad

To enter or exit the United States and the majority of foreign countries, a citizen of the United States must have a U.S. passport. Short-term travel between the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and certain Caribbean regions is an exception. Where a U.S. birth certificate or other document proving U.S. citizenship may be recognized.

If a passport is required for the country you intend to visit, your travel agent or airline should be able to advise you of this. You can also get information about the entry requirements of the country you intend to visit from its embassy or consulate.

U.S. Passport Things to Remember

To reenter the United States, U.S. Immigration requires you to provide proof of your identity and citizenship, even if you do not have a U.S. passport to visit a foreign country. Make sure you bring the necessary paperwork with you so that, upon your return, you can clear US immigration. The most reliable proof of US citizenship is a U.S. passport.

A certified copy of your birth certificate, a Certificate of Naturalization. A Certificate of Citizenship, an expired U.S. passport, or a Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States are other documents that can be used to demonstrate your citizenship. A legitimate driver’s license or a government identity card with a picture or physical description will suffice as proof of identity. It’s always a good idea to verify the most recent requirements.

Many foreign countries will require a Passport Apostille when entering so it’s a good idea to verify this when traveling outside of the U.S. Foreign countries that require apostilled documents are members of the Hague Apostille Convention. If you’re planning to visit a country that’s not a part of the Hague Apostille Convention. Then your passport will have to go through the Embassy / Consulate Legalization process.

Child’s Passport Requirements

A number of countries have implemented passport requirements in an attempt to deter child abductions due to the surge in international child custody proceedings. For instance, a child travels in the company of another person, alone. Just one parent must have the absent parent(s)’ signed and notarized consent, according to Mexican law. If the child travels alone and has a valid U.S. passport, no permission is required.

Written, notarized consent from both parents is required for a child carrying a birth certificate when they travel alone.

Be Mindful of Expiring Passports

It’s very important to keep track of your passport’s expiration date. If you have less than six months left on your passport, several nations won’t let you enter and will not place a visa in your passport.

Every American Citizen Is Required to Have Their Own Passport

Years ago family members were allowed to travel on another family member’s passport; however, this has since changed.  Family members have not been allowed to appear on each other’s passports since January 1981. To travel, even newborns require their own passports.

When to Apply for a U.S. Passport

Every year, in January there is a spike in demand for passports, which then subsides in August. By submitting your application between September and December, you can help the US government save money and avoid delays. Nonetheless, there may be times even in those months when there is a significant demand for passports.

Passport renewals can sometimes take a while, and the last thing to want is to have your trip delayed or canceled. Whenever possible, apply several months before the date of your intended departure. Give yourself extra time if you require visas; they take about two weeks each.

U.S. Passport
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