Don’t leave home without it.
Thinking of traveling to United States?, Your Passport will be the most important document you will be taking with you, it confirms your citizenship, I like to call it your World Citizenship Paper's. It lets the world know that you are not from Alabama or California but you are a citizen of the United States, Germany or Brazil. A passport will be your best form of Identification when you are traveling. It is widely used when entering countries, checking into Hotels, you most likely will be asked to fill out a police card listing name, passport number, destination, reasons for traveling and a local address. The State Department's Passport Bureau will have the information on obtaining a new or renewal passport. Many countries will require that the passport is valid for least 6 months after departure date from said country.
Certain countries will require in addition to a Passport a Visa; some require a tourist visa while others will require a work visa. Every country has different requirements. When I was flying to France I had to have a work Visa since I was a pilot flying into France, while at the time, if you were vacationing in France you did not need a tourist visa. Some countries will require a Visa for certain citizens; Brazil is an example that requires Visas for citizens of the United States only because the United States requires Visas from Brazilian citizens. Visas are available from the Embassy or Consulate of the country that you will be traveling to.
Valid passport required by all nationals referred to in the chart; validity varies - for most countries the passport must be valid for at least six months from the date on which the holder enters the USA. If not, the holder will be admitted until the expiration date on the passport; check with the embassy..
Additional Passport Information
(a) For nationals included in the Visa Waiver Program (see Visas), passports must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry.
(b) All travelers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on a parent's passport also now require their own machine-readable passport. Travelers not in possession of machine-readable passports will require a valid USA entry visa.
(c) As of 12 January 2009, all travelers visiting the US under the Visa Waiver Program are to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel. For more information, please see below.
(d) Passports issued on or after 26 October 2005 will need to have a biometric identifier in order for the holder to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Machine-readable passports issued between 26 October 2005 and 25 October 2006 require a digital photograph printed on the data page or an integrated chip with information from the data page. Machine-readable passports issued on or after 26 October 2006 will require an integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport).
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI): All persons, including US citizens, travelling by air between the USA and Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda are required to present a valid passport, or other approved document, when entering or re-entering the USA. Similar requirements for those travelling by land or sea were introduced on 1 June 2009.
As of October 30, 2010 the United States Department of State does not accept Puerto Rican birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010 as primary proof of citizenship for a U.S. passport.
The Puerto Rican government passed a law that went into effect on October 30, 2010, invalidating all Puerto Rican birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010. The law does not affect Puerto Rican born citizens who already have a U.S. passport. As of October 30, 2010 the Department of State only accepts Puerto Rican birth certificates issued on or after July 1, 2010 as primary evidence of U.S. citizenship.
To order a new birth certificate and for information on the Puerto Rican birth certificate law, please visit the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration website at:
(a) Landed Immigrants of Canada and British residents of Bermuda who are citizens of, and have valid passports from, Commonwealth countries or Ireland are not eligible to enter the USA without a visa.
(b) All passengers using US airports for transit purposes are required to obtain a transit visa. This does not affect qualified travelers travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
(c) To qualify for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program, nationals must travel on a valid passport, for holiday, transit or business purposes only and for a stay not exceeding 90 days. (ESTA). See below for more information.
(d) 2. Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. A passport which states holder has right of abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not qualify for visa free travel.
(e) A visa does not expire with the expiry of the holder's passport. An unexpired, endorsed visa in an expired passport may be presented for entry into the USA, as long as the visa itself has not been cancelled, is undamaged, is less than 10 years old and is presented with a valid non-expired passport, provided that both passports are for the same nationality.
(f) Nationals of countries not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Important Addresses).
ESTA: The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) came into force on 12 January 2009. It is a fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA applications must be submitted at least 72 hours before travel to the USA. Airlines must now deny check-in to passengers without valid ESTA. Some websites may charge you for the service but you can apply online for free at ESTA (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).
When applying for ESTA-authorization and entering the passport number, the number 0 must not be replaced by letter O as this can lead to problems upon entering the US.
Embassy of the United States of America in the UK
24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE, UK
Tel: (020) 7499 9000 or 0904 245 0100 (recorded information).
Visa Branch: 55/56 Upper Brook Street, London W1A 2LQ, UK
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1730 (Only applicants with visa appointments admitted).
Consulates in: Belfast and Edinburgh.
International Trade Administration (ITA), Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)
US Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230, USA
Tel: (202) 482 2000.
Travel Industry Association of America
1100 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Tel: (202) 408 8422.