Special Issuance Passport: No Fee Passport
To begin with, every U.S. citizen who travels in and out of the country must have a valid U.S. passport. In most cases, passport fees are standard for all passport applicants. However, there are some circumstances where an applicant qualifies for a no fee passport.
Eligibility for a No-Fee Passport
There are several restrictions if you want to apply for a free passport. First, you must review the qualifications below to see if you are eligible. Also, if you want to save money on passport photos, you can either take your own or use this passport photo creator.
You are eligible for a no-fee passport book if you are:
- An officer or employee of the United States (traveling on official business), and immediate family members.
- Provide evidence of the official purpose of the travel and authorization for your family members, if applicable.
- An American seaman who needs a passport for duties aboard a U.S. vessel.
- A widow, widower, child, parent, brother or sister of a deceased member of the United States Armed Forces who is traveling abroad to visit the grave or attend a memorial service for said service member.
- Present a letter from the American Battle Monuments Commission stating that you’re traveling abroad to honor a deceased family member in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Other individuals with compelling circumstances, as determined by the U.S. Department of State.
- Exempt by law from payment of the passport fee.
Of course, you can still get a new passport the old fashioned way if you do not qualify for a free passport.
Important to realize, routine processing takes 4-6 weeks when you visit your local passport acceptance facility. With this in mind, you may want to contact your local regional passport agency for an appointment or contact a trusted passport expeditor (no appointment necessary) if you need a passport in 2 weeks or less.
Applying for a No-Fee Passport Book
To be sure, applicants for the no fee passport book may contact their respective travel offices for further instructions:
- Military: Contact your Installation Travel Office.
- Federal Government Agency: Contact the headquarters’ travel office.
- Peace Corps: Contact your travel office.
- Department of State Personnel: Contact your Bureau Executive Office or Personnel Technician.
- Other Eligible No-Fee Passport Book Applicants: Contact your Congressional Representative or email CA-PPT-SIA-Communications@state.gov.
No Fee Passport for Officials
Additionally, official and diplomatic passport books are no fee passport books. Notably, no-fee passports are only issued in book form, as no-fee passport cards do not exist. You may use a no-fee passport book only when traveling overseas for official duties.
- If you’re traveling for personal reasons, you must use a regular fee passport book or card. You can have a valid regular passport book and a valid no-fee passport book. Dependents authorized to accompany you on official travel must have their own no-fee passport books as well.
- Generally, no-fee passport books are sent or picked up by the government agency or branch of service; not the individual. The sponsor of your official travel must appear in the “Mailing Address” block of the application.
- If you are applying for a no-fee passport book at a Passport Acceptance Facility, you must pay the $25.00 execution fee but do not have to pay the passport fee.
American Battle Monuments Commission
Importantly, the no fee passport (valid for 5 years) is available to relatives of a deceased member of the U.S. Armed Forces who is memorialized on a Tablet of the Missing at an overseas military cemetery by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
- Firstly, submit a letter from the Commission with your passport application.
- Secondly, be sure to name the deceased American service member with whom you claim a relationship.
- Lastly, include the place of burial or memorial in the foreign country.
Furthermore, you can use this passport with later trips if the purpose of travel remains the same.
NOTE: Importantly, if you plan to submit a letter from the American Battle Monuments Commission, be sure to include your personal mailing address on the passport application, as the U.S. Department of State will mail your US passport book directly to you.