How Do I Get a United States Passport?

How Do I Get a United States Passport?
If you plan to travel outside of the United States, you will need to get a U.S. passport issued by the U.S. Department of State to leave and re-enter the country.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Preparing Your Passport Application

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport application form DS-11 Evidence of U.S. citizenship Identification Two 2-by-2-inch passport photographs Passport application fee Locate regional passport facility or post office
  • Passport application form DS-11
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • Identification
  • Two 2-by-2-inch passport photographs
  • Passport application fee
  • Locate regional passport facility or post office
Step 1
Obtain a passport application form on the State Department's website at travel.state.gov or at your local post office.
Step 2
Read the instructions. Print or fill out the application in black ink, but do not sign it until you are directed to do so at a passport processing facility.
Step 3
Acquire the necessary documentation to accompany your application. You will need to provide proof of citizenship and identification.

Evidence of citizenship is a birth certificate, report of birth, naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate.

Proof of identification is a driver's license, military ID or a previously issued passport. If you are applying outside of the state where you live, you must provide two forms of identification. Make a photocopy of your ID on 8 1/2-by-11-inch white paper and submit it with the application.
Step 4
Provide two identical color photographs of yourself. The regulation size for these photos is 2-by-2 inches. You can have them taken at your post office when you apply.

Locate Your Regional Passort Facility or Post Office to Submit Application

Step 1
Submit your completed passport application in person at a regional passport facility or post office. To find a passport facility near you, visit the State Department's website and enter your ZIP code or inquire at your local post office.
Step 2
Sign your application when directed and pay the passport application and execution fees. If you are an adult applying for the first time, the total fee as of Oct. 5, 2009, was $120. The first-time fee for minors (under age 16) was $95. Fees may be subject to change and can be confirmed on the State Department website.
Step 3
You should receive your passport by mail in 6 to 12 weeks. Sign your passport and write your name, address and phone number on the inside flap of the passport book.

Tips & Warnings

 
During peak travel times, passport processing can take up to six months. Apply for your passport early to avoid stress and travel interruptions.
 
Use special care to protect your passport from loss or theft, especially when traveling abroad.

Article Written By Krystal Wascher

Krystal Wascher has been writing online content since 2008. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Thiel College and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2009.

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