Frequently Asked Questions About Passports

What is the difference between a “Passport Book” and a “Passport Card”?

There are two types of passports – a U.S. Passport Book and a U.S. Passport Card.  You may apply for both, if your situation requires it.  The Passport Book is the traditional 5” by 3 ½” book used for international travel by air, sea or land.  The Passport Card is a wallet-sized card for land and sea crossings between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean only – the Passport Card is NOT for travel by air.  Usually the Passport Card is issued for persons living in border towns who drive across the borders frequently for their jobs or recreation. 

Will I get my birth certificate back?

Yes, all legal documents will be returned to you.  They will either be included in the same envelope with your passport, or they will follow under a separate mailing.

How long is my passport valid?

Passports issued to persons 16 years of age and over are valid for 10 years.  Passports issued to anyone under age 16 are valid for five years.

What if I have an emergency and have to travel in less than two weeks?

The Denver-metro area is served by the Colorado Passport Agency in Aurora.  This office is to be used only by people traveling in two weeks or less with proof of travel (i.e. a copy of an airline ticket or itinerary).  You must call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment first.  The office is located at 3151 South Vaughn Way, Suite 600.  The passport office is open Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Again, you must call the appointment line to make an appointment prior to arriving at the office.  The appointment line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (hours subject to change); however, customers have access to the automated appointment system at anytime during the day or night.

Do I need to obtain a separate passport for my baby?

Yes.  All persons, including newborn infants, are required to obtain a passport in his/her own name.

Does my minor child have to appear in person?

Yes, everyone applying for a passport must appear in person.

What do I do if my name changes?

Form DS-5504, U.S. Passport Re-Application can be used within one year of passport issuance for name changes and any other descriptive information changes, as well as for the extension of validity for limited passports and correction of any printing errors.  The form must be submitted with the passport to be replaced, the documentation required for the change, and new photos.  There is no charge for routine processing of these changes.  After one year of passport issuance, Form DS-82, Renewal, or Form DS-11, new application, as appropriate, must be submitted along with all applicable fees.  Use the "Application Wizard" (see Related Links on the right) for all forms mentioned.

What should I do if my passport is lost or stolen?

The loss of a U.S. Passport is a serious matter.  Lost or stolen valid passports should always be reported immediately.  To make an initial report, you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and speak with a customer service representative, who will guide you through the reporting process.  The completed report will then be forwarded electronically to Passport Services’ headquarters.  In addition to the initial report, you are asked to submit Form DS-64 – Lost or Stolen Passport.  That form is available using the "Application Wizard" (see Related Links on the right).  It should be sent to:
U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section Attention: CLASP, 1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036

If you are abroad, the loss should be reported to the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.  If stolen, the theft should be reported to the police authorities where the theft occurred.

If you wish to obtain a replacement passport, you must begin the process as if applying for the first time and complete Form DS-11 – Application for U.S. Passport.  Along with the new application, you will need to submit the Form DS-64 – Lost or Stolen Passport, present acceptable proof of citizenship, acceptable identification, new photographs and fees.

If you recover your passport after you have reported it lost or stolen, submit it to the address listed above.

Is there a number I can call to ask questions or check on the status of my application?

Yes, contact the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.

Can I check the status of my passport online?

Yes.  Go to the National Passport Information website (see Related Links to the right).  You must read and agree to the terms of use, then enter your last name, date of birth and last four digits of your social security number.

Where do I get visa information?

Visa information is available on the U.S. Department of State Travel Information website (see Related Links to the right).