US Passport Types: All There Is to Know in 2024

January 5, 2024

3 min. read


types of us passport books

There are a few types of passports in the US. They are held due to occupation, status, business, etc. There are also types of passports that you can choose from, like a passport book or card.

Let’s learn all about it, so you can make an informed decision about what type of passport you need.

In Focus

How many US passport types are there?

There are quite a few kinds of passports in the US: tourist passport, Service American passport, Official United States passport, travel documents for non-citizens, and no-fee regular passport.

Getting a touristic regular passport implies taking passport photos according to the official rules, signing an application and paying execution fees, whereas the others are free of charge. We’ll come back to that in a minute. Now you need to know what a US passport is and what types of regular US passports there are.

What exactly is a passport?

A passport is an identification document that can be issued in the form of a book or card. It allows one to travel outside the place of residence. It’s usually obtained through application and fee payable to the US Department of State. Some passports are free of charge.

Tourists regular passport types in the US

passport types in us

The US ordinary or regular passport is of blue passport color that is issued to US citizens. It’s not suitable for governmental purposes, only for traveling, studies, work, business, conferences, and other civilian purposes.

Regular passports come with 28 visa pages and are issued with a validity of 10 years to applicants 16 years of age or older. A 5-year-validity passport is issued to minors under 16.

If a person loses a passport, it’s been stolen, or there are debts to the US government, the validity can be decreased.

Decide whether you need a regular passport book: average or with more pages in it if you travel a lot. Or you need a regular passport card. So what is the difference?

Passport card type

There is a difference between the two. First, it’s the price. The passport card is usually a few times cheaper than the passport book. Second, passport card has restrictions to land and sea travel, also to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean region, and Mexico.

Pro tip


In case you also need to know the US passport photo requirements, learn the right size, background, hair, and clothes on the PhotoBooth Online website. You can learn do’s and don’ts and take a passport photo online at once. With an expert final check, it’ll be compliant with the official rules, just right for the passport office.


Passport for diplomats in the US

us passport 2 types

This passport is a black passport book that is issued only to a Foreign Service Officer, a representative who has the status to carry out duties on behalf of the United States Government. This kind of passport can’t be used for personal tourism and is only valid for up to 5 years.

American passport for service

Third-party contractors that travel to the country to support the US government get the service American passport. Its validity is 5 years and it’s gray.

Official passport of the United States

The Special Issuance Agency in Washington (SIA) issues the official United States of America passports for official duties. The Charleston Passport Center and Honolulu Passport Agency assist with the issuance of passports for military personnel.

The official passport is of maroon, not valid for personal travel, and expires in 5 years. If approved, the Department of State issues this type of US passport to the official’s spouse or immediate family members.

No-fee regular issued passports

The employees of the American National Red Cross, Peace Corps volunteers, or the Department of Defense require a blue American passport type. The passport is issued for 5 years and is free of charge.

Travel documents for non-citizens

The non-citizen passports include refugee travel documents, re-entry permits, advance parole travel, and other documents. They are intended for those living legally in the United States, especially when non-citizen can’t get a new passport from their citizenship country.

However, non-citizen passports do not qualify as an official type of US passport, they are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for traveling abroad and identification in specific circumstances. The form is similar to passport books and is utilized for crossing the border and getting visas.

With all the information helpful, we hope you’ll make the right decision on what type of passport you need to apply for at a passport office.