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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Media Credentials in Washington D.C.

Washington Foreign Press Center Credentials (New or Renewal):

The Washington Foreign Press Center issues its own press credential, which is valid for three years and renewable at the end of that period for members on continuing assignment.  It is recognized by several organizations in Washington and allows access to the facilities at the Center. To receive one of these or renew an existing one, follow these procedures:

Along with a completed application form, submit to the media relations officer assigned to your geographic area:

(1) An original, recently dated letter from the director of your news organization, written in English on the organization's letterhead, confirming your assignment;

(2) An original letter from the press attaché of your embassy in Washington, on embassy stationery, confirming the company you work for is a news organization;

(3) Copies of the photo page of your passport plus journalist "I" visa or residency "green" card;

(4) ONE recent passport-size color photo or jpg file - no older than 6 months.

After you fill out the application form and submit the letters, copies of passport/visa information, and photograph, your media relations officer will see that you receive the Foreign Press Center credential.

Submit the materials and pick up the credential at:
Washington Foreign Press Center
National Press Building
529 14th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20045
Phone: (202) 504-6300 | Fax: (202) 504-6334


State Department Credentials:

To receive a press pass for the Department of State, go to the Press Relations Office. Use the diplomatic entrance, located on 23rd Street NW) and ask a receptionist to call the Press Office at extension 2492. Explain you want to receive a press pass.

Be sure to have two letters:
(1) A letter, written in English on company letterhead, from the director of your news organization addressed to the State Department Press Relations Office. The letter should indicate you are a correspondent and say how long you want to attend the briefings and the extent you will cover the department.

(2) A letter, in English, from the press attaché of your Washington embassy to confirm your affiliation with the organization you represent.


PLEASE NOTE: The Press Office will recommend that Diplomatic Security issue a long-term building pass to journalists and media technicians who demonstrate frequent (three times per week) need to be in the State Department.

In addition, the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security now requires proof of citizenship for all individuals, including members of the press, applying for a Department of State Building pass.   Details on this requirement can be found at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/12750.htm

You will be asked to complete an application and submit a passport-sized photograph.

If you do not have a press pass but wish to attend a meeting open to media or interview an official, go to the reception desk and present the press pass you use in your country along with your passport. Tell the receptionist where you want to go and give the name and telephone number of the person you are there to see. If you wish to attend a single State Department daily briefing, follow the same steps but call the Press Relations Office to confirm the time of the briefing and if there is room for you to attend. The office can be reached at (202) 647-2492. For a recording on activities, call (202) 647-2497.

* Members of the press who currently hold building passes should apply for the New Smart Card  immediately.  The old identification card reader system is being replaced by the new Smart Card system.  A Smart Card will be needed to retain access to and within the Harry S. Truman Building.


Congressional Credentials:

Detailed information on the Press Galleries can be found at: http://www.senate.gov/galleries/ (for the Senate) and http://www.house.gov/house/mediagallery.shtml (for the House of Representatives). In general, however, to cover the U.S. Congress on a permanent basis you need Press Gallery credentials. You need to fill out a form and provide two letters:

(1) A recent letter from the director of the news organization written, in English, stating you are a correspondent residing in the Washington area and telling the extent to which you will cover Congress.

(2) A letter from the press attaché of your embassy in Washington confirming your affiliation with the news organization.

If approved, pick up the pass at the gallery. Capitol security will complete your clearance and take your photograph for the pass. Gallery membership entails a small fee. Begin the accreditation with the Senate. Once the Senate approves your pass, House of Representative accreditation is usually assured.

Where you go to obtain a pass differs depending on the type of work you do.