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How to Get a Passport

Posted by on March 17, 2013
getting an passport in America

How to get a USA passport

If you’ve never traveled outside the country, you might not have ever bothered to get a passport. Though there are many adventures to be had locally, there is also a pretty good chance that you are going to be traveling abroad in search of your next exciting experience.

The procedure for getting a passport is different in every country. These are the basic instructions for those living the in the United States.

Getting an American Passport

If you are applying for your first passport, or your current one has expired, then you will need to make your application in person. You’ll need to present the following documentation:

Form DS-11.
You can get this application form from the State Department website or any passport office. Fill it out, but do not sign it until you are at the application office and are in the presence of a Passport Agent.

Proof of U.S Citizenship.
Documents for this can include one of the following: previous U.S passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship. If you do not have any of these, there are other documents you can use, such as a letter of no record (proving there is no birth certificate on record), baptismal certificate, census records, or early school records. If you are unsure of your documents, check with your passport office.

Proof of Identity.
Documents for this can include one of the following: previous U.S passport, naturalization certificate, driver’s license, government ID or military ID. If you do not have any of these, then you can provide other documents, such as Social Security card, credit cards, bank cards). If you are using these secondary documents, you’ll have to bring someone who can vouch for you (a person with valid ID).

Two Passport Photos.
These photos should be in colour, 2×2″ square, and showing a good likeness of you in frontal view. Both photos should be identical.

Application Fee.
Check with your local passport office to get the latest fee amount.

Social Security Number.
Though not used as a form of ID, you need to have your SS number with you when you apply.

Many post offices, public libraries and municipal offices are designated passport offices. You can search for the closest location near you on the State Department website. If you are just renewing an existing passport, you can send all your documentation through the mail with a 4 to 6 week turn-around time. All of the materials that you provide with your application will be returned to you with your new passport. You’ll need to send in your current passport along with your package.

These are just the basic steps for getting a passport to illustrate the process for you. If you are in a unique situation or require any special considerations, you can discuss it with your local passport agent for full details. You can also find all the current steps and requirements as well as the needed forms from the State Department website.

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