How to Get a Passport? The Complete Guide
There are several steps every U.S. Citizen needs to follow when they want to apply for a passport. There are many options and requirements you need to consider prior to your international travel. In our comprehensive guide, we will tell you how to get a passport as quickly and easily as possible with all the proper links to application forms and FAQ pages.
Complete the Passport Application
The first step when you apply for a passport is completing the correct passport application. There are a few options for passport application forms but it al depends if you are applying for a new passport for an adult or child. There is also another for a passport renewal or a name change. Select the option below to take you to the correct application form to get started.
- DS-11 New passport application form for (adults/children)
- DS-82 Passport renewal application form
- DS-5504 Name change application and correct descriptive data
Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
Once you have completed your passport application form the next step is to gather your evidence of U.S. citizenship. This is submitted in the form of a long form birth certificate when born inside the United States. The birth certificate must be original or a certified copy and contain both parents name on the record. If you do not have a long form birth certificate visit our page on birth certificates to learn how to apply for a certified copy with a raised seal and both parents names.
If you were born overseas the applicant should have a certificate of birth abroad. This form can also be obtained through vital records and must be original or a certified copy.
If you are now a naturalized citizen you must submit your original certificate of naturalization and this will count as evidence of U.S. citizenship as well as primary identification. If you have lost this certificate you must contact immigration and naturalization in order to apply for a duplicate copy.
The good news is once the passport is processed you will receive all original documents back.
When you appear at the acceptance agency you must present your identification to them. They will want to see a valid drivers license valid for more than 6 moths if you are an adult applying for a new passport. If you do not have this piece of primary identification they may ask for supplemental documentation or additional identification. If you are applying on behalf of your child the parents must present both drivers licenses or primary id. If one parent cannot appear at the acceptance agency to present identification they must complete the DS-3053 parental consent form for a non-applying parent.
Supplemental Identification Options:
- Social security card
- Health insurance card
- Workers identification
- Voters registration card
- Marriage license
- Lease or rental agreement
- High school yearbook
- Newspaper publication
- Baptismal certificate
Pay the Applicable Government Fee
Each passport application has a required government fee. The fees change from a child passport, adult passports, and passport renewals. The fees are also broken out into routine processing and expedited processing. Routine processing takes around 4-8 weeks and expedited processing takes about 2-3 weeks and cost an additional $60
Provide One Passport Photo
Every passport application now requires one compliant passport photo. Passport photos are the number one reason applications are delayed or rejected because they don’t meet passport agency standards. We have a passport photo guide and options for you to take a photo at a drug store retailer or even with a passport photo compliance application called Passport Photo Creator.
Shipping Out Your Passport Application
Once you have completed all the required steps about on how to get a passport you are now ready to ship in your application for passport processing. If you are doing a new passport application and you are at the acceptance agency for verification there will be two options. The first option is they will ship out your application to the national processing center for either routine or expedited service. If you are using a registered passport expeditor to secure your passport faster they will return the hand carry envelope to you and it’s the applicant’s responsibility to overnight ship the envelope to the registered passport courier.
If you are just doing a passport renewal mail in you can follow instructions on the last page of the DS-82 application form for shipping instructions. If you are using a passport expeditor they will have instructions to follow for shipping.
Appearing at a Regional Passport Agency
If you are traveling within the next two weeks internationally and require a passport or a foreign visa there is an option to appear at a regional passport agency to expedite your passport as quickly as the same day. These agencies all require passport appointments and a personal appearance. The good news is after reading our guide how to get a passport you will be 100% prepared when you arrive.
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