How Do I Get A Passport? A Quick Overview…

How to Get a Passport

how to get a passport
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The first thing to know and remember is that processing a passport takes between

ten and twelve weeks; even expedited service takes two to three weeks (and the latter will add $60 to your regular application fees and overnight delivery costs). So plan ahead and give yourself as much time as possible between application and receiving your passport and your actual trip.

Over 9,000 facilities accept passport applications, including post offices, municipal offices, courthouses, and libraries. You can check this website and search via your zip code for the locations closest to you. Make sure to call first; most Passport Agencies require an appointment to be made in advance.

You must apply in person, as must any minor children for whom you’re seeking a passport. Each of you will need

the following:

1. Download the form located here: and fill it out for each person applying for a passport. If you cannot download or print it out, be aware you’ll have to spend some time completing it at the passport agency. It’s important to note: Do NOT sign the form until you are in the presence of the Passport agent.

2. You must present a certified birth certificate, issued by the city, county, or state. A copy is not acceptable; the certificate must have a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed. If you cannot find your original birth certificate, you have to go to the location of your birth and the official registrar to obtain a new one.

If you are not an American citizen, you can present a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship.

3. You will need proof of your identity. You may use any of the following: a Naturalization Certificate, a current and valid Driver’s license, Government ID or Military ID. If you have none of these items, you bring a number of signature documents (i.e.: a bank card, a library card, Social Security card) and a witness who will fill out a form affirming you are who you say you are.

4. Two identical 2×2 inch passport photos. These must have been taken within the last six months and show your current appearance. They must be in color, full face front view with a plain white or off-white background. You can have these done at a photography studio; if you have any questions about where to have this done, ask the Passport Agency for recommendations when you call.

In the photo, you should be wearing your normal street clothes – you cannot be wearing a hat or anything else that obscures your features. If you regularly wear prescription eye glasses, you should wear them in the picture as well.

Vending machine photos are generally not accepted; it’s best to have them done by a person or business which specializes in this sort of photo so your submission is not delayed.

5. You will need to pay for the passports at the time you apply; fees may be paid with credit cards, debit/check cards (not ATM cards), personal checks, certified check, cashiers’ check and travelers’ checks, money orders and bank drafts. To make sure you are fully prepared, double check this at the time you call the Passport Agency to make an appointment.

As of September 2007, fees were $97 for adults over 16 and $82 for children under 16. This includes both the application and execution fee.

When in doubt about anything, check with the Passport Agency before your appointment. Being well-prepared will make the entire process go much smoother and remove the risk of your trip being delayed.