Plan My Move Series: Passports and Visas Requirements for Overseas Moves
by Military Community and Family Policy
Obtaining Passports and Visas
If you and your dependents are going overseas, you should all obtain passports before departing the United States. Your dependents may also require a visa issued by your host country. It is extremely important to understand and follow your host nation's rules for entering, staying in, and leaving their country.
If you require an official U.S. Passport, your personnel office will assist you with the process.
New Application for a U.S. Passport
To obtain a tourist passport for the first time, you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States. If you are overseas, passport processing can be done at the post office. Bring with you two passport-sized photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate), and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver's license. Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state, and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 13 regional passport agencies, and 1 Gateway City Agency, which serve customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases. All the location information details can be found on the State Department's website for passports and visas.
You will need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time:
- if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession;
- if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago;
- if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16;
- or if your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen.
For more information on getting a new passport, go to How to get a passport.
Renewal of a U.S. Passport
You can renew your passport by mail if:
- Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged;
- You received the passport within the past 15 years;
- You were over age 16 when it was issued;
- You still have the same name, or can legally document your name change.
If your passport has been, altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.
For more information on how to renew a passport or to download a passport renewal application form, please go to How to renew a passport.
Do You Need to Obtain a Visa?
A visa is an official endorsement in a passport that allows the bearer to enter, travel through, or leave a country. Visas are issued by a foreign country. Members of the U.S. military traveling on official orders do not require visas while on official duty. Some countries require that dependents have visas in order to visit or reside in that country while their sponsor is assigned there. You can find general information on the U.S. Department of State website.
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