After You Get Your New Passport


Learn about your new passport and prepare to travel to a foreign country:

Where are my documents?

Now that you have your passport, we will return your supporting documents in a separate mailing. Make sure to enroll in email updates so you know when we return your documents. 

You will get multiple mailings. The number of mailings depends on what document(s) you asked for.

Passport Book: You may wait 8 weeks to get a second mailing with your documents. 

Passport Card: You may wait 8 weeks to get a second mailing with your documents. We only send the passport card via First Class Mail. We do not send cards using 1-2 day delivery services.

Both a Passport Book and Card: You may get three separate mailings:

  1. New passport book
  2. New passport card
  3. Citizenship and supporting documents

When to Contact Us

If you have been waiting more than 8 weeks, call us at 1-877-487-2778 to report that you have not received your documents. 

If you want us to reimburse you for a lost supporting document, you must contact us within 90 days of the date which we mailed your passport. You will also need to provide a receipt to show the cost of replacing the document. 


Sign your passport

  • You must sign your full name in blue or black ink inside your passport.
  • On a passport for a child under 16, a parent should print the child's full name on the signature line. The parent should also:
    • Sign their name next to the printed name of their child, and 
    • Note their relation to the child (example: mother, father, or guardian)
Infographic showing how to sign your passport book as an adult
Example of how to sign an adult passport
Infographic showing how to sign your child's passport book
Example of how to sign a child's passport

Six-month validity rule for your passport

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not let you board if this requirement is not met.

If you were age 16 or older when we issued your passport, your passport is valid for 10 years.

If you were under 16 when we issued your passport, your passport is valid for 5 years.

Find the Issue Date of your passport on the data page of your passport book or on the front of your passport card. 

Check our Country Information to learn about requirements for the country in which you are traveling.  


What should I do if my old passport has a visa?

After you apply for your new passport, you cannot use your old passport for travel. If you have a visa in your old passport that you need for travel, check with the foreign embassy or consulate that issued the visa to see if you can still use it. 


Should I update my Trusted Traveler information (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI) when I receive my passport?


The Department of Homeland Security's Trusted Traveler programs speed up processing at U.S. airports and international borders. 

Update your Trusted Traveler account information with your new passport number, the date we issued it, and the date it will expire. If you are changing your name or gender, you must go to a Global Entry Enrollment Center. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will make the changes for you.


My new passport has a QR code. What is it for?

We are including Quick Response (QR) codes to give you easy access to this webpage.

The QR code is:

  • The same on all passport books
  • Does not have personally identifiable information, and
  • Does not change the way border officials, airlines, and others review your document.

We are not placing QR code stickers on passport cards. 

Stay Informed When You Travel Abroad

When you are in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), you will get:

  • Alerts from the U.S. embassy about safety and security 
  • Travel advisories
  • Messages about embassy events and services


Preventing International Parental Child Abduction

It is a crime for a parent to take a child outside of the United States without the other parent’s approval.

To prevent abduction, enroll in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. We will let you know if someone submits an application for your child. We will ask you to approve the passport issuance.

If you have questions, call us at 1-888-407-4747 if you are in the United States or at (+1) 202-501-4444 if you are in a foreign country.

Last Updated: July 1, 2024