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International Programs Official Passports and Visas

Do I need an official passport?

Yes.When conducting official short-term U.S. Government business, you must have an official U.S. Government passport to depart or enter the U.S. and to enter or depart most foreign countries. This is a Departmental travel regulation.

Where and how do I obtain an official passport?

Official passports are issued by the Department of State (DOS) to employees of the U.S. Government who travel abroad to conduct official business. As appropriate, the IPD will contact you to secure a new official passport or to revalidate your existing official passport. The following web site provides additional information:

If you are a first-time applicant, you must appear in person at a passport agency, a federal or State courthouse, or a U.S. post office authorized to accept passport applications. You must submit (1) Form AD-121 (do not apply without form AD-121 “in hand), Passport Request, which will be sent to you by the IPD; (2) Form DS-11, completed but unsigned; (3) proof of U.S. citizenship such as certified birth certificate with raised seal and date of filing; and (4) two recent (within the past six months) passport-size photographs (2"x2", color or black and white) that have been taken within the past six months. The Passport Agent will accept and execute your application and forward it to a designated regional passport agency. You should not be charged for the execution of an official passport. The expense for passport photographs is reimbursable and should be claimed on your travel voucher.

If you wish to renew your expired official passport, submit the following information, by mail, to IPD by mail: (1) Form DS-82; (2) your expired passport; and (3) two passport-size photographs.

Forms DS-11 and DS-82 are available from IPD, your local Passport Agent, or either of the following web sites:

These forms require Acrobat Reader.
Form DS-11 (PDF)
Form DS-82 (PDF)

What is a diplomatic passport?

Diplomatic passports may be issued by the DOS for employees who serve on long-term (resident) international assignments in other countries, usually two years in duration.

May I keep my official or diplomatic passport after my business has been completed?

No.A U.S. passport is a document from the U.S. Government to the government of another country requesting travel privileges for the bearer into, through, and/or from that country. It remains at all times the property of the U.S. and must be returned to the IPD by the most expeditious and economical means, usually by certified mail.

May I use my personal passport when traveling on official business?

No.With the exception of travel to Taiwan, your personal passport must be used for official business in Taiwan. Also, your personal passport must be used if you plan to take annual leave in conjunction with your official duties.

What is a visa?

A visa is an endorsement or stamp placed on a passport by officials of a foreign country to grant entry into their country for a limited time period. Visas are required for travel to certain countries, and are furnished by embassies in Washington, D.C. and some consulates located throughout the U.S. The IPD keeps abreast of current visa regulations to comply with requirements of foreign governments and will provide instructions to you as appropriate. Depending on the specific requirements, you may be asked to complete a visa form or to submit additional photographs to  IPD. The IPD will ensure that all appropriate visas are issued before your passport is released to you.

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