Who issues your U.S. passport?
Have you ever applied for a passport? If so, you may have picked up and dropped off your application at a post office. But the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t process your request. All passport applications are received, reviewed, and granted (or not) through the U.S. Department of State.
Because the U.S. Department of State handles international relations for the United States, it is also responsible for granting passports to American citizens. Passports provide proof of American citizenship and allow Americans to reenter the United States once they have left its borders. Passports also ask for the assistance of foreign governments and others to U.S. travelers. Passports are not needed to travel between U.S. states, but as of 2009, you need a passport to travel to the Caribbean and Canada.
The design and personal information contained in passports has changed through the years. Today passports include a photo of the passport holder, date and place of birth, a passport number, and an electronic chip with all of this information. Passports remain valid for up to 10 years, after which you need to apply for a renewal.
In the U.S. Department of State, responsibility for issuing passports lies with Passport Services within the Bureau of Consular Affairs. There are roughly 9,000 Passport Agencies throughout the United States where you can submit an application, including United States courts, state courts, post offices, public libraries, county offices, and city offices.