Wondering why your new passport looks different? The United States is constantly evolving, and so are its travel documents. The Next Generation Passport (NGP) is the latest development in the world of travel documentation. 

If you applied for a passport renewal lately, you may have noticed that your new passport looks different than before. The NGP is being issued to all applicants.

What is the U.S. Next Generation Passport?

The U.S. Next Generation Passport is the future of American travel documentation. The NGPs were first introduced in 2021. These passports are equipped with cutting-edge features to enhance their functionality and safety. 

The biggest upgrade in the Next Generation Passport is the information page. This is the page with your name, photo, birthdate, and where you’re from. The passport photo is laser engraved in black and white, and the page is tougher and more durable.

New Passport Features

Can I Request a New Generation Passport?

The rollout of the NGP began in 2021. As of the beginning of 2023, all passport agencies are issuing the new passport books. The Next Generation Passport look is only extended to passport books. The passport card has not been upgraded yet. 

How to Apply for a Next Generation Passport

The application process for the Next Generation Passport is the same as other applications. You will need to gather the necessary documents, including proof of citizenship, a passport-sized photo, and a completed application form.

Currently, the U.S. Department of State’s standard processing time is 7-10 weeks. If you need your document sooner, you can expedite your passport.

I Don’t Have the Next Generation Passport. Do I Need to Upgrade my Current Passport?

No! The introduction of the Next Generation Passport does not mean that you have to upgrade your current passport. U.S. passport books and cards will remain valid until their expiration date. You can travel with your current passport without a problem. 

Before traveling, it’s important to check your expiration date. Many countries require that you have at least six months left on your passport before traveling. If your passport expires within six months, it may be time to apply for a passport renewal.

side by side comparison of old passport versus next generation passport

Why is there a QR Code on the Next Generation Passport?

The QR code stickers on the back of passport books are placed to make life easier for travelers. It leads to the Department of State’s informational passport page.

You can take off the sticker if you want, but it is suggested to keep it. The code will give you quick access to the informational webpage. The code is the same on all passports. It does not contain any personal info.

What Are the 5 Types of Passports?

There are various types of passports available to United States citizens, depending on their travel needs. These are the five types of U.S. passports:

  • Regular Passport (Blue Cover): This is the standard passport issued to US citizens for international travel. It’s suitable for most international trips.
  • Official Passport (Black Cover): Issued to government employees and officials traveling abroad on official business.
  • Diplomatic Passport (Black Cover): Reserved for US diplomats and high-ranking government officials. It provides diplomatic immunity and privileges.
  • Emergency Passport (Red Cover): Issued in cases of emergency travel, such as lost or stolen passports when immediate travel is necessary.
  • Next-Gen Passport (Purple Cover): The Next Generation Passport, with its violet cover, incorporates advanced security features to enhance protection and functionality.

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