Types of US Passports [Blue, Black, Maroon, and Gray]

Types of U.S. Passports

Like most of us, you probably have a blue passport.


While it’s not the most exciting shade in the world, it gets the job done.  But—did you know that there are other types of US passports?

Scroll on to learn what they are, why they exist, and who gets to carry them.

Passport photo in 3s!

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How many types of passports are there?

There are 5 (five) types of passports in the U.S. They are as follows:

  • Regular passports (blue)
  • Diplomatic passports (black)
  • Official passports (maroon)
  • Service passports (gray)
  • No-fee regular passports (blue)

Personal (tourist) U.S. passport

One of the most popular out of all the passport types is the personal US passport, also called “ordinary passport” or “regular passport”. It is a blue passport book that is issued to the majority of the citizens of the United States.

It is the US passport to get if you want to travel. It’s not suitable for governmental purposes, only for business, flight crew, education, employment and tourist travelling.

This type of US passport is valid for 10 years in case it was issued to a person over 16 years old. Otherwise, it’s valid for 5 years. The validity can be limited in case you lost the passport, it was stolen, there are debts to the US government, etc.

Do you want to learn more about passports? Check these out:

Diplomatic U.S. passport

This is one of the United States passport types that are issued to diplomatic employees only and Foreign Service Officers. The color of the passport book cover is black. It is issued for travel purposes that are financed by the government and isn’t valid for personal travel reasons. The maximum validity of a diplomatic US passport is 5 years.

Service American passport

Out of the existing passport types of the USA, the service passport, is the document issued to third party contractors that are travelling to the United States to support the government. They get the service passport if their trip can’t be done with a regular one. The validity term is 5 years.

Official United States passport

The official American passport is of a maroon color and is issued to employees and officials of the government of the United States who travel abroad for professional reasons regarding their duties. It is also issued to military personnel. Just as the other special issuance United States passport types, the official US passport is not valid for personal travel and expires in 5 years.

The official United States of America passports are issued by SIA, the Special Issuance Agency in Washington. The issuance of passports for the military is assisted by the Charleston Passport Center and Honolulu Passport Agency.

No-fee regular passport

These are blue colored American passport types issued to specific categories of employees of the American National Red Cross, Peace Corps volunteers or the Department of Defense. The issue is done without any fee and the term of validity of the passport is also 5 years.

Non Citizen US Documents

Travel documents for non-citizens

Out of the different passport types, the non-citizen travel documents include refugee travel documents, re-entry permits and advance parole travel documents.

These look similar to passport books and are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. They do not officially represent types of passport and visa but are different documents used for travel and identification in specific cases. They are issued to non-citizens residing legally on the territory of the US only and mainly in the case those people can’t get a new passport from the citizenship country.

The non-citizens travel documents, just like different passport types, are used for traveling and getting visas. They demonstrate the right of the person to re-enter the territory of the United States of America.

Now we hope you know what types of passport are there, the differences and which type is needed for your case.

Make the right decision and apply for a passport conveniently by preparing a professional, 100% accepted passport photo on the site of our passport photo editor. It will save you time and money, allowing you to look beautiful in your passport too.


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