Passports: What you need to know

Emily Jennings/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Summer is peak travel season, so people planning vacations should factor in more time for processing a tourist passport during this time.

Military Personnel Division Supervisor Gary Beatty answers some frequently-asked questions about tourist and official passports.

How long does it take to get a tourist passport?
It could take anywhere from three to six weeks depending on the time of year. Peak travel season is the summer time, so more people apply for passports in that time. Being overseas is also a factor when PCS season is at its highest.

How long does it take to get an official passport?

This one takes a bit longer. It can take between four and 10 weeks.

Which passport should people carry when traveling outside of Germany on leisure?

The traveler must always have two things in their possession when traveling outside of Germany for leisure purposes; their tourist passport and proof of their SOFA status. In some cases, the SOFA is stamped inside of the official passport, which means the traveler will have to have both the tourist and official, but the tourist passport should be used exclusively while on leisure travel.

Is it ok to use your tourist passport when you’re on orders? Or vice versa?

There are many different answers to that question depending on what country the traveler is visiting. We encourage anyone planning travel who has these questions to check the Electronic Foreign Clearance Guide ( This website lists every country in the world and what is needed to travel there; whether for leisure travel or official travel. Please note, this website can only be accessed from a U.S. government computer.

Do babies need a passport?

Absolutely. Anyone traveling to another nation requires a passport, regardless of age.

Do I need a passport to cross over into another EU country, such as Strasbourg, France?

Yes. EU citizens have specific IDs that they may use to cross into any EU country, but non-EU citizens must have a valid passport before crossing any border. While the EU does have open borders, there are check points at each border crossing point, and the authorities from that nation can perform random checks.