The number of passports in circulation has increased every year since 1989. In 2010, the number of issued passports had reached to 13,883,129. In the United States, there are four types of passports that can be issued, and they are regular passports, official passports, diplomatic passports and passport cards.
The United States Government will issue a passport to a U.S. citizen based on their intended use of that passport and if they meet certain criteria in order to obtain a specific passport type. Mentioned below are details that provide some basic information about the types of passports, who can apply for a particular type of passport and how to obtain one.
Regular Passport: Regular passports are issued to the American citizens and is also referred to as a tourist passport. It can be issued to those who travel for study, work, business and other civilian purposes.
- This is a Blue Cover Passport, which comes standard with 28 visa pages and issued with a validity of 10 years to applicants 16 years of age or older and 5 years when issued to a minor under the age of 16.
- Meant for Many Travel Purposes, not limited to tourism, business, work, research, study, conference or seminar etc.
- Requirements for Getting this Passport include original or certified proof of U.S. Citizenship (birth certificate/naturalization certificate) and valid proof of identification along with a recent passport size photograph.
Applications can be submitted to the Passport office or simply contact the passport agents to avail expedite passport service.
Official Passport: Official passport is issued to employees or officials of the U.S. government traveling abroad for any official purpose. The same type of passport may be issued to the official’s immediate family members or spouse when approved by the Department of State.
Submit the Same Application Form and documents as required for a Regular Passport. It will be issued for no cost and will be limited to 5 years’ validity and cannot be used for leisure travel. When duty ends, as part of the checkout procedure the passport must be surrendered.
Diplomatic Passport: Diplomatic passport is issued only if an applicant is a Foreign Service Officer or this person is traveling abroad on behalf of the U.S. Government to carry out diplomatic duties. Same as Official passport, it cannot be used for leisure travel.
The appropriate application form must be submitted by an applicant with supporting documents and a copy of the orders from a particular designation. It will be issued with no fee and must be surrendered when the duty is over.
Passport Card: This is a Variation of the Regular Passport that can be used same as regular passport, but with certain restrictions. It may only be used for land and sea travel to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
The passport card comes with 10 years validity for adults and 5 years for minors. A small fee of $30 for adults and $15 for minors is required to be paid as well as an additional $25 execution fee for first time applicants.