Passports & Visas
Bill’s staff is able to help you with any passport and visa challenges you may face. If you would like to start a passport or visa case, please fill out our Privacy Release Form and follow the instructions on how to return it to our office.
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid US passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the US State Department has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States passports.
How Do I Obtain a Passport?
Passports are obtained through the Passport Services Division of the State Department. Through your local passport acceptance agent (usually the Post Office or county courthouse), you can apply for a new passport, renew your old one, replace a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, or add new pages to your existing book.
For those who are applying for their US passport for the first time, you must apply in person at a local passport acceptance agent. You must also submit your application for a US passport in person if your expired passport is not in your possession, if your previous passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago, if your previous passport was issued when you were under 16, or your current passport has been lost or stolen.
How Do I Renew My Passport?
You can renew your passport by mail if you meet these following conditions:
Your most recent passport is available for submission with your application and it is not damaged;
Your passport was issued within the last 15 years;
You were at least 16 years of age when the passport was issued; and
You still have the same name or can legally document your name change.
Keep in mind:
If your most recent US passport has been altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail.
When mailing your application and personal documents, it is strongly encouraged that you use a secure, opaque envelope and a traceable delivery method.
Passports renewed by mail in the United States may only be mailed to United States and Canadian addresses.
US citizens residing abroad (except those living in Canada) should renew their passports at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport?
Currently, passports are being processed in approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application.
Can I Get My Passport Application Expedited?
For an additional application fee plus overnight delivery costs, you can get your passport expedited. Currently, expedited processing for passport takes approximately 3 weeks, door-to-door.
If you need your passport in less than 2 weeks for international travel or within 4 weeks to obtain a foreign visa, you should make an appointment to be seen at a Regional Passport Agency. Currently, expedited processing for a passport at the agency takes approximately 8 days. To locate your nearest passport agency, call 877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY 888-874-7793) or see below.
What Is a Passport Card?
The State Department began producing passport cards on July 14, 2008 to increase speed, efficiency, and security at US land and sea border crossings.
The passport card contains vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip, which points to a stored record in secure government databases. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip. The passport card also uses state-of-the-art security features to prevent against the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery.
The US Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. The passport card, however, cannot be used for international travel by air.
What Is the Closest Passport Agency for Residents of the 9th District?
Tip O'Neill Federal Building
10 Causeway Street, Room 247
Boston, Massachusetts 0222
Schedule an Appointment 24/7: 877-487-2778
Hours: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday
If your passport is lost or stolen while abroad, you should contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate immediately.
A visa is an official travel document indicating that the holder is allowed to enter a country and stay for a specified period of time. Citizens of foreign countries who seek to enter the US generally must first obtain a US visa, which is endorsed in the traveler’s passport.
There are two types of US visas. US Immigration law dictates which kind a foreigner must obtain before entering the country:
Nonimmigrant or Visitor Visas: for travel to the US on a temporary basis.
Immigrant Visas: to live permanently in the US.
US citizens don’t need a US visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad, you may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country you wish to visit.
Do All Foreign Travelers Need a Visa to Enter the US?
No. Certain international travelers may meet the requirements for visa-free travel. Most often, they are citizens from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
Travel Alerts: issued for short-term conditions that pose a risk to US citizens, such as natural disasters.
Travel Warnings: issued for long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable, and which US citizens should avoid.
Overseas Citizen Services: inn an emergency, these call the below numbers to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Within the US: 888-407-4747
Outside the US: 202-501-4444