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What Is an Adult Passport?

An adult passport is a government-issued document that certifies your identity and nationality, essential for international travel. It's valid for those 16 years and older, typically with a 10-year expiration. This key to global exploration unlocks countless cultures and experiences. Wondering how to navigate the application process or renew your passport? Let's explore the steps together to ensure your next adventure awaits.
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

An adult passport is a passport issued to adults by the passport authority in a particular country. The term adult passport is used to distinguish this type of passport from a children's passport. It should be noted that the definition of adult used by a passport authority may be based on a chronological age limit that may be different than what is officially understood to be the age of majority in a particular jurisdiction. For example, United States citizens more than the age of 16 must apply for an adult passport, even though 16-year-olds are generally considered to be legal minors in other areas of law. The difference between passports for adults and children varies by jurisdiction, but may include a different application process, different costs, and different validity periods.

Typically, when an individual applies for an adult passport, she is expected to verify her identity and citizenship through the use of various documents, including birth certificates or government-issued identification cards. As many adults already have government-issued identification in the form of driver's licenses or government or military employment identification cards, the process for obtaining an adult passport may be considerably easier, as the applicant may be able to send copies of these documents through the mail as part of the application process. In the United States, however, children generally do not have this type of photo identification and so are required to appear in person at a passport application agency along with their parent or guardian to complete the application process.

Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.
Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.

Holders of adult passports may need to renew their passports only every decade or so, depending on the laws in their area. This is in contrast to a child's passport, which may have a much shorter renewal period. The cost of the adult passport may also be more than that charged for a child's passport. In the United States, children, including very young infants, may not travel under their parent's passport, but must have passports of their own. Adults who are citizens of the United States may obtain different types of passport documents, including the passport card, which is valid for reentry to the United States after land and sea travel to the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico. The other alternative is the standard book-style passport, which can be used to reenter the United States after travel via any transportation medium and from any country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as an adult passport, and how does it differ from a child's passport?

A passport photo.
A passport photo.

An adult passport is issued to individuals who are 16 years of age or older. Unlike child passports, which are typically valid for 5 years, adult passports have a longer validity period of 10 years for U.S. citizens, according to the U.S. Department of State (travel.state.gov). Adult passports also require the holder to assume full responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided and the safekeeping of the document.

What documents are needed to apply for an adult passport for the first time?

In the United States, adult passports are issued to citizens who are at least 16-years old.
In the United States, adult passports are issued to citizens who are at least 16-years old.

To apply for an adult passport for the first time, you must provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, a government-issued photo ID, a passport photo that meets specific requirements, and the appropriate application form (DS-11). Additionally, you'll need to pay the applicable fees. Detailed information can be found on the U.S. Department of State's website (travel.state.gov).

Can I renew my adult passport online, and what are the requirements?

As of early 2023, U.S. citizens can renew their adult passports online if they meet certain criteria, such as having a passport that is undamaged, issued when they were 16 or older, and within the last 15 years. The U.S. Department of State provides an Online Passport Renewal Eligibility Tool on their website (travel.state.gov) to help determine if you can renew online.

How much does it cost to get or renew an adult passport, and are there any additional fees?

The cost to get or renew an adult passport is subject to change, but as of early 2023, the fee for a passport book is $130, and for a passport card, it's $30. If you require expedited service, there is an additional fee of $60. For the most current fee structure, it's best to consult the U.S. Department of State's website (travel.state.gov).

What should I do if my adult passport is lost or stolen?

If your adult passport is lost or stolen, you should report it immediately to the U.S. Department of State to prevent identity theft. You can report it online, by phone, or by mail. After reporting, you'll need to apply for a replacement by filling out form DS-11 and submitting it in person, along with the required documentation and fees. Detailed instructions are available at travel.state.gov.

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    • Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.
      By: Hugh O'Neill
      Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.
    • A passport photo.
      By: mangostock
      A passport photo.
    • In the United States, adult passports are issued to citizens who are at least 16-years old.
      By: charles taylor
      In the United States, adult passports are issued to citizens who are at least 16-years old.