How to Get a US Passport

How to Get a US Passport
There are many outdoor activities for you to enjoy beyond the borders of the United States. Now that more stringent requirements are imposed even on travelers returning from Mexico and Canada, it is more important than ever for international adventurers to hold a passport. Even if you are not planning to travel outside the US for a while, your passport is valid for 10 years, and can be retained in anticipation of a spontaneous journey.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Form DS-11: "Application For A U.S. Passport" Evidence of citizenship Identification Photocopy of identification 2, 2x2" photographs
  • Form DS-11: "Application For A U.S. Passport"
  • Evidence of citizenship
  • Identification
  • Photocopy of identification
  • 2, 2x2" photographs
Step 1
Fill out form DS-11: "Application For A U.S. Passport" (see resources) and submit it either online or in person at your closest processing center. Do not sign the form; you will be directed to do so when you turn it in.
Step 2
Turn in an original copy of your proof of citizenship. A birth certificate, previous passport, certificate of citizenship or a naturalization certificate are all appropriate. You will receive this documentation back via postal mail a few weeks after you submit it.
Step 3
Supply identification, such as a driver's license, government or military ID, or previous passport. You will be able to retain your identification.
Step 4
Give the agent the photocopy of the identification you used in Step 3. This will not be returned to you.
Step 5
Submit two identical passport photos taken within the last six months of your face while wearing normal street attire. Both will be returned to you with your passport, and you should retain these in the event you lose your passport while abroad and need a new one.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you need your passport within two weeks, you may request expedited service for an additional fee of $60 as of 2009, and the costs of shipping overnight. Many application processing facilities also take passport photographs for a small fee. This is an easy way to ensure that you have photographs that comply with the requirements. Make photocopies of all your documentation, including your passport, and retain a few passport photos to bring on your trip. This will greatly assist you in the event you need to replace your passport abroad.
 
If you need your passport within two weeks, you may request expedited service for an additional fee of $60 as of 2009, and the costs of shipping overnight.
 
Many application processing facilities also take passport photographs for a small fee. This is an easy way to ensure that you have photographs that comply with the requirements.
 
Make photocopies of all your documentation, including your passport, and retain a few passport photos to bring on your trip. This will greatly assist you in the event you need to replace your passport abroad.
 
The US Department of State anticipates that your application will take between four and six weeks to be processed, but you may face longer delays. It is a good idea to start the application process well in advance of your trip, even if you are not yet anticipating foreign travel.

Article Written By Carl Brannon

Carl Brannon is a legal and political commentator whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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