Types of U.S. Passport Book

In the United States, passport books verify citizenship and right to re-enter one’s home country such as the United States of America. Passports are non-transferable identification documents that are issued by The United States State Department for the purpose of travel and identification.

In the United States the State Department issue different passport books and re-entry documents for various circumstances. In all cases, individuals must use their regular passports for personal travel and special passports for specific application purposes.

Regular Passports:

These blue passport books permit personal international travel and are valid for 10 years for adults, and 5 for minors.  These passport books are issued to United States citizen who is in need of a passport for identification purposes or to travel to an international destination.

Official Government Passport:

Also called no-fee passport books, these red books allow international travel for military officers or government employees only while performing official duties. The individual’s governing office provides the forms.

Immediate family members honoring U.S. Military personnel deceased overseas can obtain red books with a letter from the American Battle Monuments Commission and can use it repeatedly only for visiting the same person’s overseas gravesite or memorial.

Diplomatic Passport:

These black no-fee books alert airport personnel to diplomatic immunity status, meaning they may not search, delay, detain or arrest these travelers. Diplomats may only use it when on active duties.

Emergency Passport:
Travelers losing their United States passports due to disaster, carelessness, or theft can obtain emergency regular passports at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in the country of travel.

Issuance requires a new passport application and proof of identity via personal information, in-country witnesses, stateside family and friends, and previously issued passport confirmation.

Stolen property reports are helpful when applicable, as the Consulate or Embassy may refuse to issue replacements if they suspect fraudulent claims. Consulate interviewers rely on impressions of the applicants’ veracity and can issue short-term emergency passports if they suspect but cannot prove fraud.

Regular fees apply unless, due to theft of all assets or during disasters, the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to pay.

In country, U.S. citizens can act on behalf of relatives traveling overseas through the Overseas Citizen Service at State Dept in Washington, D.C.

Re-entry permit:
This is not a passport. Lawful Permanent Resident aliens (LPRs) with Permanent Resident Cards (PRC) can return using PRCs within one year of leaving, or Re-entry Permits within two years. If the LPR resides abroad during that year, the U.S. government may regard that as residency abandonment in the U.S.

Applying for a Re-entry Permit before leaving establishes there was no intent to abandon U.S. residency. LPRs must initiate this application while in the U.S., although travel can commence before issuance. Forms are available at Passport Application Sections

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