United States passport is an official government document issued by the
United States Department of State. A United States passport certifies an
individual's identity and U.S. citizenship. A passport is an internationally
recognized travel document and it allows the passport holder to travel abroad
and return to the United States. A valid United States passport may be used to
enter most foreign countries. U.S. Citizens may also apply for the new Passport
Card and have both a U.S. Passport and Passport Card.
Some U.S. citizens hold dual citizenship, which means that an individual holds
another citizenship besides U.S. citizenship. There are advantages and
disadvantages of having dual citizenship and a second passport. However, in most
cases dual citizenship is not a problem when renewing your passport since the
U.S. government allows dual citizenship.
Why replace your United States passport? If your passport has been lost, stolen, altered, mutilated, damaged, or your
name has changed, you should request a new U.S. passport as soon as possible.
Note that individuals with altered or mutilated passport may risk prosecution
under the law: Section 1543 of Title 22 of the U.S. Code.
Why renew your United States Passport?
It is recommended to renew your passport several weeks in advance of your upcoming trip. The application process is comprised of several steps, and a small application mistake may delay the issuance of your new passport. The "United States Passport Application and Renewal Guide" describes in details the application, replacement and renewal process.
If your passport is expired or about to expire, it is highly recommended to renew it as soon as possible for several reasons:
- Most countries require a passport to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry in the country
- A passport expiring during a trip abroad is a serious problem because you will not be able to enter any other countries
- An expired passport might not be accepted as proof of citizenship or legal status in some countries
- You could have problems returning to the United States with an expired passport