To verify a passport safely and legally requires contacting either the U.S. Department of State, which is responsible for issuing United States passports, or the Department of Homeland Security, explains the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Alternatively, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, a subdivision of the DHS, has an online program known as E-verify, which allows enrolled employers, employees and federal contractors to quickly verify legal documents such as passports against DHS records.
When dealing with passports issued to U.S. citizens, particularly in criminal or legal investigations, passport information and verification is obtainable by written request to the Department of State's Law Enforcement Liaison Division, notes the Bureau of Consular Affairs, on the Travel.State.gov website.
Verifying foreign and immigrant passports, often performed by employers to verify a person's legal right to work with in the United States, is carried out by contacting the Department of Homeland security directly, as noted on Travel.State.gov. By utilizing the E-verify website, an employer or other authorized person can submit an I-9 form to verify a valid passport almost immediately after submitting the information. Unfortunately, if a foreign passport has no record with the DHS, it may be impossible to verify it without contacting the government of the passport holder's country of origin.
While Web searches may provide the names of other private online verification services, these are not always reliable, primarily because giving passport information to non-government agencies can invite the risk of that information being used to perpetrate passport theft and fraud, explains PBS.