Obtaining your passport feels like you obtained a one-way ticket to the rest of the world. After completing the application process, you are probably eager to fill your passport with foreign visa stamps. However, your work is not over once you have your passport in your hands. In order to have a valid passport and to be allowed to travel internationally, you must sign your passport book.
Did you know the most common error with passport signatures is only that the applicant did not sign the passport? While there is little to no direction on how to complete this action with no hassle from TSA security guards prior to flying, there are a few things to bear in mind to finalize the validity of your passport. Your valid U.S. passport is the single most important thing you can carry when traveling internationally as it is an official document that accurately identifies you via your photo, personal information, and signature.
Where to Sign Your Passport Book
Once the applicant receives his/her passport you must sign it to make it valid. The signature section in any given U.S. passport is on your page opposite your photo page. There is centered line at the bottom of the horizontal page saying “SIGNATURE OF BEARER”. It is on the line above that you sign your name.
You should sign with your clearest, typical signature that matches your other documents. Do not use a ball-point pen and above all ensure that the ink is all dried before closing your passport to avoid smearing or ink stains. Please note that your signature is not required on the passport card.
On the reverse page of where you signed your name, page 4 in your passport, is headed: “PERSONAL DATA AND EMERGENCY CONTACT”. It is best advised to write this information in pencil as it may change due to the fact an adult passport will be valid for the next 10 years, and a child’s passport will be valid for 5 years. It is here that the passport book asks for the “BEARER’S FOREIGN ADDRESS”. This should also be written in pencil in case your address changes in the course of the next 10 years.
How to Correct a Passport Signature Mistake
Even a slight mistake in your signature will not affect the validity of the signature. If it is a mistake you think you need to change then simply draw a single line through the original signature and sign the correct signature. In the event the signature is illegible then you may need to apply for a replacement passport.
Minor Passport Signature Requirements
Minors should always sign their own passports if they are old enough to sign their own name. In the event they are not able, the parent or legal guardian should sign the name of the minor, then sign the parent or legal guardians name, and finally next to that indicate the relationship to the child in parenthesis. It would not be too much to print your name next to your signature as well to eliminate confusion as signatures can be difficult to read at a first glance.