Are you in need of a passport for the first time? Do you plan on traveling soon? Then it’s about time to apply for a new passport especially if you are traveling via air. In fact, all U.S. citizens including newborns are required to have a U.S. passport if traveling by airplane. For sea or land travels, a person is required to have either one of a passport card or passport book. However, for emergency purposes, citizens are recommended to have a passport book at all times.
The process for applying for a passport can be confusing for first-time applicants, so here are the answers to frequently asked questions, a list of requirements and documents needed and a simple guideline in stages on how to get a new Adult passport.
Eligibility for New Passport
For U.S. Citizens 16 years old and above, passport validity is up to 10 years. A new passport will be issued if:
- You never had a passport issued and is a first-time applicant.
- You obtained your passport when you were aged 15 or younger.
- Your current passport has been issued already 15 years ago or more.
Guide To Use When Applying To Get Your First New Passport
- Complete all required documents
- Proof of US Citizenship
- New Passport Application Form (DS-11)
- Passport photo
- Front and back photocopy of driver’s license or any state-issued ID
- Proof of travel plans (for expedite new passport application)
- New U.S. Passport application fee – prepare two checks. The first will be to “US Department of State” – $110; or $170 to get an expedited new passport). The second for $35 will be to pay the Passport Acceptance Agent.
A Passport Acceptance Agent will seal your application in an official envelope, you can find one at the main branch of US Post Offices or at Clerk of the Court offices. They are also known as passport adjudicators. The main reason you have to visit a facility is to have your documents and identity verified.
- Your application for a passport should be processed through one of the following ways:
- Via mail – the Passport Acceptance Agent will already send your envelope to the National Passport Center for processing.
- Through a Regional Passport Agency – for expedite new passport, major US cities have passport agencies where new passport can be processed and done on-site.
- Through a Passport Expediting Company – another way to get a new passport expedited is to send the sealed envelope given to you to a passport expediting company that is trustworthy and they will personally bring your application documents to a Passport Agency for faster processing.
Special Requirements for New Passport Age 16 or 17 Applicants
Applicants who are under 18 are not legal adults yet should be with one of their parents when going to the Passport Acceptance Agent to prove “parental awareness” for their passport application. For applicants who cannot be accompanied by their parent need to present an approval letter for the passport application signed by a parent along with the parent’s photocopy of driver’s license or passport.
For young applicants who do not have a state-issued ID, a parent should accompany them to the Passport Acceptance Agent with their very own passport or driver’s license and prove the child’s identity.
Get Your New Passport Quickly
Application for any passport via mail can take up to eight weeks, 2-3 weeks if you go for expedited service via mail with a $60 additional government fee. A Passport Agency or a company for passport expediting can process a new passport for you as fast as 24 hours.
26 US cities have Passport Agencies but you have to call 877-487-2778 (the National Passport Information Center) for an appointment. A company for passport expediting company will make your passport application faster and easier.