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What is a limited validity passport?

US passports, figuratively speaking, come in varying sizes. Rather, it is a mistake to call these travel documents just a standardized ten-year book reserved for adults- when there is a variety of them depending on how you travel.

Passports for children under sixteen have passports that are only valid for 5 years. Meanwhile, diplomats have their own special passports. If for any particular reason you need a second passport, this type has the four years validity. There is, however, another category of passports of which the general public has little awareness of. These are known as the “limited validity passports”. ETS, The San Diego expedited passport services explain more.

Limited Validity Passport – Definition

Any passport which has less than 2 years of validity is defined as a limited validity passport. As a standard passport book and card issued to an adult has ten-year validity and 4 years for children, it is unlikely that most US travelers have had a limited validity passport before.

What are temporary passports?

Temporary passports or ‘emergency passports’ are one example of limited validity passport. These documents are generally issued outside of the US after a person’s standard passport has been lost or stolen.

In instances you have a travel trip which is immediate and no way of postponing- then you can go to the nearest US embassy or consulate where you are issued a temporary passport which is good for the remainder of your trip (or just long enough to repatriate yourself).

Such passports generally have a two days validity- however, exceptions can be made based on the person’s situation. Granted, the unanticipated damage to a US passport is not completely uncommon - issuing a temporary passport for US citizens is only done as required.

In case you are staying in a country for more than two weeks, then you can pay for the expedited processing of a replacement of the standard ten-year passport rather than just issuing a limited validity passport.

Limited validity passports - name changes

A situation in which a traveler may be issued for a limited validity passport is for legally changing his/her name. In this case, only temporary documents are issued which are valid for one year. After this time period is over, you can qualify for a renewal (supposing that your name change has been processed through the system).

Limited validity passports - gender transition

Those who are going through or are about to go through gender transition qualify for a limited validity passport. Although there is no time limit for the procedure- those who have completed their transition within two years and have a statement from their doctor for proof do not have to pay any fees for passport renewal.

You can use your passport as your ID during the transition or the limited validity passport may be renewed again if you plan on traveling, however, you should apply for a ten-year passport card/book once the transition is completed.

Limited validity passports - replacing naturalization certificates

American citizens not born in the country might need to replace their naturalization certificate before they can qualify for a ten-year passport card/book. During this time period, 2 years limited validity passports are issued by the US Department of State for international travel. Similar to how those going through gender transition, anyone replacing their naturalization certificate can get a passport renewal free of cost if they applied in advance, prior to the expiration of the two-year document.

Still confused? You can contact ETS – San Diego expedited US passport renewal and visa services for more information.

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