Proper Use of Passports
The following information was provided by the Department of State (DOS) Passport Services office regarding the Department of State's policy on the use of "Official and Diplomatic" passports and is supplemented by USDA Regulations.
Required Use Policy
A USDA employee SHALL NOT use their personal passport to travel overseas to conduct official U.S. Government business. In compliance with DOS and USDA Departmental regulation, Departmental Manual-2300-1 Appendix A., International Travel Procedures USDA employees traveling to a foreign country conducting official business for his/her Agency SHALL travel using either an "Official or Diplomatic" passport. In recent discussions with the DOS's Passport Services office we were advised that based on the type and use of passports as governed by Code of Federal Regulations - Title 22: Foreign Relations the law requires the use of an "Official or Diplomatic" passport for travel to foreign countries to conduct official U.S. Government business. There are no exceptions other than those stated below.
Excemptions to the Required Use Policy
U.S. Government employees traveling to Taiwan in any official capacity must use a personal passport. If the employee requests that the Government provide the "Personal" passport at the Government's expense, then the employee must return the passport to the Government (International Travel Section) within 5 days after returning from the trip.
U.S. Government employees traveling abroad on personal travel shall not use an "Official or Diplomatic" passport in any capacity.
U.S. Government employees detailed to a private or international organization shall not use an "Official or Diplomatic" passport. The fact that the Government employee's salary is still being paid by the employee's agency does not constitute a reason to use an "Official or Diplomatic" passport.
U.S. Government employees assigned overseas in an official capacity as approved by the Department of State may use their "Official or Diplomatic" passport for personal travel during their tour.
U.S. Government employees traveling abroad on official business may use the "Official or Diplomatic" passport for Agency approved personal stops incident to the official trip.