Diplomatic Security (DS) has investigated passport and visa crime since 1916. Through a dedicated cadre of special agents, analysts, and other support staff, and continued coordination with Federal and international law enforcement agencies, DS helps protect the integrity of the U.S. passport and visa – undoubtedly the most valuable travel and identity documents in the world.
What is a U.S. passport? What is a U.S. passport card?
A passport book is a travel document issued by the U.S. Government to a U.S. citizen for travel to and from the United States. U.S. passports are recognized as legal proof of a person's identity and U.S. citizenship. In Fiscal Year 2010, 13.6 million passports were issued to U.S. citizens. More than one-third of the U.S. citizen population holds a valid passport.
A passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea. The State Department began issuing the passport card in July 2008. As of June 2011, the Department has issued more than 4.5 million passport cards.
How is passport fraud committed?
Offenders commit passport crime to:
The following statutes fall within DS’s investigative authority for passport fraud:
In Fiscal Year 2012, DS investigated over 3,900 new cases of passport and visa fraud, and made more than 440 arrests.
What is a visa?
The U.S. visa is a document, obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, granting a foreign traveler permission to apply for admission into the United States at a port of entry. It is not a guarantee of entry into the United States. Department of Homeland Security inspectors determine if, and for how long, an alien is admitted.
There are two types of visas:
What are typical types of visa fraud?
Criminals commit visa fraud to:
Visa fraud and related statutes include: