FAQ

1. What is the difference between a regular passport and an Official or Diplomatic passport?  Aren’t they all the same?

A regular (Tourist) passport is used by US citizens who are traveling on a non-governmental purpose, such as Touristic/Leisure, business meetings, study abroad, or medical treatment.  An Official (Brown) or Diplomatic (Black) passports are used by US citizens who are traveling on the behalf of the US government to conduct business.  The two different types of passport books are issued to US government employees depending on their job title, job grade and Agency that they are working for.

 

2. How long is an Official passport valid for?

An Official passport is valid depending on the expiration of the contract

 

3. How long is a Diplomatic passport valid for?

A Diplomatic passport is valid for 5 years for Direct-Hires.

 

4. How long does it take to get a regular tourist passport?

Routine processing of a tourist passport is 4-6 weeks.  Expedited processing is available as well for an additional fee.

 

5. How long is a US passport valid for?

For ages 16 years and older, the US passport is valid for 10 years. For ages 15 years and younger, the US passport is valid for 5 years

 

6. How many blank visa pages do I need to travel?

Some countries require your passport have two (2) to four (4) blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement in not met. See Add Extra Pages for how to request more visa pages.

 

7. What type of photos can I use?  I have a personal camera and was thinking of taking them myself.

Both the foreign embassies and the Department of State have strict parameters regarding passport photos. In general, passports photos must be 2”x2” on a light/white colored background.  Please note that for specific countries, their passport photo requirements may require additional things, such as no glasses or head gear in the photo.  Please see CVPS link “VISAS” and click on your country under the type of passport you carry for more specifics.

 

8. I submitted my application, but I forgot to sign it! What can I do? Can I fax you a copy of the signed application?

Both the foreign embassies and State Department will NOT accept photo-copies or faxed copies of your visa/passport applications.  ALL applications must be originally signed by the applicant.  If your application was remitted without signature, we cannot process your application and this will also cause a further delay in meeting your departure date.  Please contact CVPS with any questions or concerns regarding the visa/passport process.

 

9. My child is too young to sign his/her own passport. How do I sign my child’s passport?

In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child’s name and sign their own name. Then, in parenthesis by the parent’s name, write the word (mother) or (father) so we know who signed for the child.

 

10. It is true that passport applications for minors under 16 require the consent of both parents and legal guardians?

Effective February 1, 2008, Public Law 106-113, Section 236 requires that U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents’ or legal guardians’ consent. Read additional information on the Two-Parent Consent Requirement.

 

11. I’ve lost my passport!! What do I do?

 You will need to declare your previous passport lost with the State Department using the DS-64 “Lost/Stolen passport form” and submitting that with the DS-11 “Application for a new passport”, along with 2 passports photos, certified copy of your birth certificate, or a previously expired passport that is 15 years or older from the date.

 

12. I found someone’s lost passport, what should I do with it?

Please mail found passport, using a sturdy envelope, to:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

 

 13. I just recently got married and I have an Official passport. How do I go about changing it to my married name?

You will need to complete and sign the passport form DS-5504 Name Change, Data Correction and Limited Passport book replacement.  You will need to provide the existing Official, 1 passport photo (2”x2” on a light/white colored background) and a certified copy OR original of your marriage certificate.  This copy will have the raised, embossed seal of the State you were married in.  You will receive this back with your new Official passport once the application process is complete.

**PLEASE NOTE – if you are requesting a name change due to a divorce, the process listed above is the same as well.  Instead of the Marriage certificate, you will be providing a certified copy of your divorce decree.  The divorce decree MUST state that you will be assuming your former name and give what the name will be.

 

14. I washed my passport in the washing machine!!!  Now the page that has my name and other info on it is all smeared.  Can I still use my passport, or do I have to get another one?

Normal wear and tear on a passport is considered acceptable by the State Department.  In cases where a passport has significant wear from frequent use, you will be asked to complete and sign the DS-82 application.  You will need to submit with the application 1 passport photo (2”x2” on a light/white colored background) and a signed statement letter explaining the condition of your passport as well as the request for a new book to be issued.

In the cases where SIGNIFICANT damage has occurred to the passport, you will need to complete the DS-11 application, along with 1 passport photo, as signed statement letter explaining the circumstances of the damage to your passport,  and a certified copy of your birth certificate/previously expired passport.  This application required execution by a USPS Post Office Acceptance Agent or a City/State Clerk of the court.  Once the Acceptance Agent/clerk has verified your identity and administer the oath, you will be asked to sign your application.  The Agent/Clerk will then place your materials into an envelope and seal it.  You will bring this sealed envelope to CVPS for processing.

 

15. What is a visa?

A visa is generated by a foreign government’s Embassy or consular section granting a traveler permission to enter into their country.  A visa issued to a passport does not guarantee final entry into a country, and can be revoked by that country’s immigration officers upon arrival without prior notice.  A visa can be either affixed, like a sticker, or as simple as a stamp.  A visa will designate the number of times a traveler can enter a country, as well as designate how long they may remain in country.

 

16. What is required to obtain a visa?

You will always have to submit your passport to apply for a visa, since the visa goes on your passport. The majority of visa requirements vary depending on the country and the type of visa you are applying for.  This is determined by the purpose of your visit to a country (Touristic, Business, Student, Employment etc).  In most cases, you will be required to submit a visa application, photos and travel itinerary. Please inquire with ClassifiedVPS regarding your country’s entry visa requirements and supporting documents.  In the event that your country’s consular section requires an in-person interview, ClassifiedVPS will notify you of this request, and advise you on what to expect next in the process for your visa.

 

17. What are the fees for a visa?

The fees for a visa vary from country to country.  In addition to the cost of the visa, CVPS also charges a service fee for the handling of your visa.  Please see CVPS fee schedule located under the link “FEES”.

 

18. How long will it take for the Embassy to issue my visa?

Processing time for any visa varies depending on the country.  Please contact CVPS for more country specific information.

 

19. Why do I need to provide you a flight itinerary?  I have not purchased my flight yet.

For some countries, proof of departure is one of the requirements to be met when applying for a visa.  The country needs to see evidence that you do not intend on overstaying beyond the travel dates specified in your visa request.  In order to expedite a US tourist passport, State Department requires a flight itinerary for proof of departure in order to validate the need to expedite your passport application.