Is It Legal to Photocopy Your Passport?

photocopypassportThere’s an urban legend about passports that just won’t die. The story goes that much like paper money, a passport is a federal document that you cannot photocopy without risking a federal felony.

Reality of passport copies
The U.S. Department of State recommends that travelers have a photocopy of their passport information before going to international destinations. It’s a very smart move to put your copy of your information in a completely different place in your luggage than your actual passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, it will expedite the process of getting another passport.

Don’t forget the passport photos
Another smart recommendation made by the State Department is to have two extra passport photos with you when traveling internationally. This will avoid having to get new photos retaken and get you back on schedule with your trip.

Tips for the best photocopies
Many photocopiers are set to dark and with the imaging on the passport pages, it can result in a dark, difficult-to-read photocopy. Lighten the settings until you get a clear copy of your passport’s information pages. An alternate method is the¬†usage of a flatbed scanner. Just scan the passport and print. Use the “fine” setting on your printer to ensure you get the best copy possible.
If you scan the passport, email it to yourself and save in a folder in your mail. That way you’ll have an electronic copy to print out if you don’t have your copies available.

source: U.S. State Department

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