If you are planning to travel abroad, one of the most important documents you need to have is a passport. It is a governmental document that verifies your identity and nationality, and it allows you to travel internationally. Applying for a passport can be a daunting process, but don’t worry! This complete guide will take you through the step-by-step process of how to apply for a passport with ease.
Step 1: Gather Required Documents
- Proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.
- Government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license.
- Two recent passport photos that meet the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State.
- Passport application form DS-11, which can be filled out online or printed and completed by hand.
- Payment for the application fee which is $145 for adults (16 years and older) and $115 for children (15 years and younger).
Make sure you have all the required documents before you start the application process to avoid any delays.
Step 2: Fill Out the Application Form
You can fill out the passport application form online and print it, or you can print it and complete it by hand. Make sure to fill out all the required fields accurately and completely. If you make a mistake, use the correction fluid to make the correction, and if it is a major mistake, then you will have to fill out a new form. Do not sign the application form until you are asked to do so by the passport acceptance agent.
Step 3: Get a Passport Photo
Passport photos are not like regular photos; they need to meet certain requirements. They should be 2 inches x 2 inches, taken within the last 6 months, and on a plain white or off-white background. You can get your passport photo taken at many retail stores, drugstores, or post offices. Be sure to bring the required photo identification when getting your photo taken.
Step 4: Pay the Application Fee
The application fee for a new adult passport is $145, and for children under 16 years old, it is $115. There is also an extra fee if you want expedited processing, which is an additional $60. You can pay with a personal check or money order made out to “U.S. Department of State” or by credit card.
Step 5: Submit Your Application
After completing the application form, getting your passport photo taken, and paying the application fee, you need to submit your application. You can do this in person at a U.S. Department of State Passport Agency, Passport Acceptance Facility, or U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can also apply through a regional passport agency if you need your passport urgently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How long does it take to get a passport?
Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks to process a new passport. However, if you need your passport quickly, you can pay an extra fee for expedited processing which takes 2-3 weeks.
Q: Can I apply for a passport renewal online?
Yes. If your previous passport was issued when you were 16 years or older and was issued within the last 15 years, you can renew your passport online using form DS-82.
Q: Can I travel with my passport as soon as I receive it?
No. Your passport will come with a cover letter indicating that it is not valid until signed. You must sign your passport before it can be used for travel.
Q: What should I do if I lose my passport?
If you lose your passport, you should report it to the U.S. Department of State immediately by calling 1-877-487-2778. You will also need to fill out Form DS-64, which is a lost or stolen passport form.
Congratulations! You have completed the process of applying for a passport. Now, you can travel internationally and explore the world. Always remember to keep your passport safe and secure while traveling. If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the U.S. Department of State, and they will be more than happy to help you out. Good luck, and we hope you have a great travel experience!