A US passport serves two significant purposes, a travel document and a strong proof of a person’s identity and citizenship; it is needed to be able to enter another country’s territory. Read on and find out about basic things you need to know about US passports such as application, requirements and answers to frequently asked questions.
Eligibility to Obtain US Passport
ONLY US citizens are eligible to apply and receive a US passport, “Green Card “ holders or US Permanent Residents are not qualified to get a US passport, they need to request a passport from their country of origin.
Not all people know that newborn babies still need to have a valid passport when traveling outside the country. Children under the age of 16 including newborn babies are issued minor passports that are only valid for 5 year (10 years for ages 16 and above), this is because their physical appearance changes drastically as they age. Minor passports cannot be renewed, therefore every time a minor passport expires, the same process must be followed unlike regular passports that just needs renewal. This is done to prevent child abduction especially when the child is overseas.
Adults Age 16 and above
As mentioned earlier, adults aged 16 and above can now be issued with a regular passport with 10 years validity. First time applicants are required to prove their identity and citizenship before a Passport Acceptance Agent who plays a major role in a person’s passport application. If the current passport is near expiry or has expired (as long as it is not damaged, lost or remained expired for more than 5 years), the applicant is eligible for a passport renewal wherein there is no need to go to a Passport Acceptance Facility.
US Passport Application: Information and Requirements
The requirements for passport application depend on the circumstances of the application, however, there are still similarities in the process and some of the documents needed.
- US citizenship proof – previous passport or birth certificate
- Social Security Number
- Identity proof – driver’s license
- Passport photo
- Duly accomplished, printed and signed application form
- Government fees
Where to Apply for a Passport?
**For first time applicants, minor passport and replacement for lost, stolen or damaged passport.
Passport Acceptance Facility – can be found in:
- Major post offices
- County clerk offices
Once the Passport Acceptance Agent seals your application into to the official envelope, you can choose to have it processed via mail or passport expediting company.
- Regional Passport Agency – for an appointment at a regional passport agency, you need to present a proof that you are travelling soon
**For passport renewal, name change, additional pages, correction or second passport application, you can apply for your passport via:
Traveling to Canada or Mexico: Is passport a requirement?
Traveling to Puerto Rico: Is passport a requirement?
No because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.
Caribbean Cruise: Is Passport a requirement?
Yes, they require a passport to board even if you are traveling via sea. Although some countries like Bermuda accept passport cards, it is still recommended to have a passport book for emergency purposes such as traveling back to the US via air.