Travel & Passports
Travel & Passports
U.S. Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassies and Consulates are located throughout the world and provide a variety of services to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are traveling outside of the United States. Embassies and consulates are also responsible for issuing visas and notifying U.S. citizens of travel warnings. When traveling outside of the United States, you may want to contact a nearby U.S. Embassy or Consulate to let them know where you are staying and how long you will be in the area.
Travel.State.Gov, the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department, provides comprehensive information for the international traveler including:
- International Travel – Administered by the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS), this site offers tips for traveling and living abroad, travel alerts and warnings.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – STEP is a free service for U.S. citizens traveling to or living in a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency.
- Emergencies and Crises – The ACS assists embassies and consulates in providing emergency services to Americans traveling or living abroad. U.S. citizens can call Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444) for assistance.
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative »
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda by land or sea to show one of the following travel documents:
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Passport Card
- Enhanced Driver’s License
- Trusted Traveler Program Card
- Special Groups
The WHTI requires U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda by air to present a U.S. passport. This applies to everyone including newborns, infants and children with only a very few exceptions.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), one of the components of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for securing our borders. As part of their mission, CBP operates several programs:
Trusted Traveler Programs provide expedited travel for pre-approved, low risk travelers.
- Global Entry Program – The Global Entry Program allows an expedited clearance for pre-approved, low- risk travelers returning to the United States from abroad. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.
- FAST Driver Program – The FAST (Free and Secure Trade) Driver cards are Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant documents for entry into the United States by land or sea. FAST Driver includes the U.S./Canada FAST Driver Program and the U.S./Mexico FAST Driver Program.
- NEXUS Program – The NEXUS card can be used as an alternative to a passport for air, land, and sea travel into the United States for U.S. and Canadian citizens.
- SENTRI Program – SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) participants undergo a thorough background check and are issued a Radio Frequency Identification Document (RFID) that will identify their status upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. A sticker decal issued for their vehicle or motorcycle allows SENTRI users access to dedicated primary lanes into the
Obtaining a Passport for the First Time
To obtain a passport for the first time, you will need to fill out an application. You can do so online and print it out and send it to your nearest passport acceptance facility. Click here to begin filling out a passport application.
Renewing Your Passport
You can renew your passport by mail if your most recent U.S. passport:
- Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application;
- Was issued when you were age 16 or older;
- Was issued within the last 15 years; and
- Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change.
If any of the above statements do not apply to you, you must apply in person. Click here for more information on how to renew your passport and to download the application.
Expedite Your Passport Request
For an additional fee, you can request expedite processing which normally takes two to three weeks. If the two to three week time period is too long, my office can assist you in getting a passport expedited, please contact my District Office at (757) 380-1000. You will also need to fill out a Constituent Consent and Information Form in order for my office to assist you with expediting your passport.
Visas for U.S. Citizens
In addition to a valid passport, some countries require a Visa in order to enter that specific country. A Visa is an endorsement or stamp placed by officials of a foreign country on a U.S. passport that allows the bearer to visit that foreign country. Please click here for information on Foreign Entry Requirements on any given country and how to obtain a Visa.