U.S. government employees on official international travel are
required to use their official (or diplomatic) U.S. Government
passports unless the Department of State advises
A visa is an
endorsement or stamp placed by an official of a foreign country
into the official U.S. passport that allows the bearer to enter
that foreign country. Application for a visa should be
submitted at least 3 to 4 weeks before departure date,
especially around the holiday season.
REQUIREMENTS AND APPLICATION FORMS
Why use an
According to the
Department of State, there are several reasons why an official
passport should be used when traveling on behalf on the U.S.
visas – A visa will not be granted for entry into a
foreign country when the reason for travel to that country
is stated as official business and the personal (tourist)
passport is presented. In addition, a diplomatic or official
visa cannot be stamped in a personal passport.
country entry and exit – Some countries will deny entry at
the border to someone seeking to enter on official
government business who presents a personal passport. Also,
problems may occur upon departure from a foreign country.
of sovereignty – Use of a personal passport when traveling
in an official capacity misrepresents the true purpose for
which the traveler has entered the country. This can have
serious and adverse affects on our reciprocal relations with
foreign countries. Employees of foreign governments must use
official passports when they come to the U.S. on behalf of
their governments. This is a traditional practice among
governments and an internationally recognized policy.
concerns – Should there be a problem while you are in the
host country, the official passport provides quicker access
to officials of the host country government and greater
How to apply
for an official passport
A traveler must meet
both of these requirements to apply for an official passport.
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Passports will No Longer be Issued Abroad/Overseas:
Effective April 8, 2002, U.S. passports will no longer
be issued abroad, except those required for urgent
All passports will be issued in the United Stated
using the new more secure photo-digitized imaging
system. Because this technology is not available at
the U.S. embassies and consulates, overseas passport
issuance is being transferred to the National Passport
Processing Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This
new procedure will increase the processing time at
U.S. embassies and consulates. U.S. embassies and
consulates will continue to issue passports that are
needed for urgent travel. However, such passports
will be limited in validity, and cannot be extended.