Residents of Washington State are no different than citizens in the rest of the United States: They need a passport for international travel. All residents of the United States need a passport for international travel, including children of all ages. One advantage of being a Washington resident is the newly implemented Enhanced Driver’s License, which allows residents the ability to re-enter the United States at some border crossings without a passport.
Passport books are required for international travel for U.S. residents, including residents of Washington State. Passports are obtained by filling out a passport application form, otherwise known as a DS-11 and bringing it to any local passport facility in your area. Washington State has 171 passport acceptance facilities (See Resources). Washington State passport acceptance facilities are located in post offices, municipal courts and city offices.
Washington State residents who apply for a U.S. passport must provide certain documentation, such as proof of citizenship and proof of identity. Washington residents will need to present their birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship to prove their U.S. citizenship. To prove identity, Washington residents must bring their valid Washington State driver’s license, Naturalization Certificate or a current military or government identification card.
Washington State residents traveling internationally should keep in mind the time frame for applying for and receiving a U.S. passport or passport card. The time frame from when an application is submitted until it is returned to the applicant by mail is generally six to eight weeks, unless the applicant chose to expedite the process. Expediting the passport process enables applicants to receive their passport through the mail two to three weeks after submitting their application. Business travelers and others who must travel within a two-week time frame can schedule an appointment at a regional passport agency.
Enhanced Driver's License
Beginning in 2008, Washington residents were given the option of applying for an Enhanced Driver’s License, which is a driver’s license with all of the pertinent information required on a passport built into a computer chip embedded in the driver’s license. The EDL can be used at land and sea border entries for travel to Canada, Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean. The EDL works both as a driver’s license and a passport for Washington residents.
Passport cards are small, driver’s license size cards that residents of Washington State can use in place of a passport book for some international travel. The rule for a passport card is that it is only valid for use for U.S. residents traveling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and Mexico. The passport card is not valid for air travel to any of these countries and may only be used to enter the country by cruise port or land border crossings.