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Know the Steps to Take

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

The Passport Services Office provides information and services to American citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a passport. To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with:

  • Two photographs of you taken within the last six months
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • A valid form of photo identification (such as a driver's license)

Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 20 regional passport agencies, and one Gateway City Agency, which serve customers who are traveling within two weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.

All American citizens must now have a valid U.S. passport to re-enter the country, regardless of what nations they have been visiting while traveling.