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Press Statement
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 2, 2002

U.S. Passports Will No Longer be Issued Abroad

Effective April 8, 2002, American citizens who require issuance of a U.S. passport while residing overseas will be issued the latest, state-of-the-art passport. It incorporates a digitized image with other enhanced security features. Because this technology is not available at U.S. embassies and consulates, overseas passport issuance is being transferred to the National Passport Processing Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The security of travel documents in the post-September 11 world has become even more important. The new passport has many features that make it one of the most secure travel documents produced anywhere in the world. Getting these more secure passports into circulation will help minimize the misuse of American passports by criminals, terrorists, and others.

This new procedure will increase processing time at U.S. embassies and consulates, but the Department is committed to ensuring that American citizens receive secure documents in a timely manner. American citizens overseas are encouraged to apply early for renewal of expiring passports.

U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to issue passports that are needed for urgent travel. However, such passports will be limited in validity, and cannot be extended. Bearers will be required to exchange, at no additional cost, their limited validity passports for a full-validity digitized passports upon completion of their urgent travel.