The Difference Between an Official and Diplomatic Passport

By Shannon Johnson
The Difference Between an Official and Diplomatic Passport

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

All U.S. citizens are eligible to obtain passports for travel abroad. There are a few types of passports, but the most commonly issued are diplomatic, official regular and no-fee passports. Diplomatic and official passports are issued by the Special Issuance Agency in Washington D.C.


Diplomatic passports are no-fee passports issued to people who will be residing abroad representing the United States government. Diplomatic passports may only be used while conducting such business. Personal travel requires a regular tourist passport.


Official passports are issued to people representing the United States government traveling abroad, but residing in the United States. This passport is only used while traveling internationally to conduct business.

Official and Diplomatic Passports

Both official and diplomatic passports are issued by the agency employing the person receiving the passport. The primary difference is whether the individual resides in the United States or a host nation. Both are issued at no cost to the person and through the Special Issuance Agency.

About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article