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How to Obtain or Renew a US Passport

 Even if you've been a US citizen for your entire life, obtaining or renewing a US passport is not the most straightforward affair. Luckily for you, we've created this easy-to-understand guide to help make the process so much simpler for you. We'd recommend bookmarking this guide for future reference. Happy travels!

 

 

US Passport

How to Apply For a US Passport

1. Choosing the right type of passport.

Any US citizen is eligible to receive a US passport, but depending on where you want to travel to, you'll need to work out whether you need to apply for a passport book or a passport card.

A passport card is a lot more convenient and is cheaper than a passport book, but it cannot be used for international air travel. However, it can be used to enter the USA through sea ports-of-entry or land border crossings from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean.

A passport book can also be used for all of the above purposes, as well as for all international travel by air. Most people opt for this type of passport since it allows you to travel a lot farther.

2. How to apply.

Regardless of which type of passport you want to apply for, the application process is practically identical, and you will need to go in person to present your application.

From Inside the US:

If you will be traveling in 3 or more weeks' time, then you simply need to follow the usual application process and visit your nearest passport acceptance facility.

However, if you urgently need your passport (2 weeks or less), then you will need to apply for an expedited process. Click here to learn how this works.

From Outside the US:

US citizens living outside of the USA will need to visit the closest US embassy or consulate in order to obtain all of the necessary paperwork and information.

US Passport
3. What you need to apply for a US passport.
There are a number of things that all US citizens need in order to apply for a passport. These are:
• An acceptable photo ID document
• An original proof of citizenship document
• A photocopy of the front and back of both of the above documents
• A suitable passport photo (guidelines can be found here)
• Money to pay the fee (calculate your fees here)
• An application form

Regarding the application form, you can either fill one out online to print and take with you to the passport acceptance facility. Otherwise, you can download passport application form (DS-11) and instructions and fill it out by hand.
Those people who do not have access to the internet may even go to a local passport acceptance facility to get a copy to fill out.

Important: Whatever you choose to do, do not sign the form until an official asks you to do so when you go there in person.
US Passport

How to Get an Urgent Passport

As mentioned above, if you left it too late, you are able to apply for expedited service for an additional fee. However, some conditions need to be met. If you are traveling within 2 weeks, you will need to provide proof of immediate international travel, such as a copy of your cruise or flight tickets.

You can also apply for expedited service if you need to travel within 24 to 48 hours due to an emergency, such as a death in your immediate family, serious illness or injury.

If you are eligible, then you will need to ask for expedited service in person. First, you'll need to schedule an appointment. You can either do this online by making use of the Passport Services online appointment system or else you can use the 24/7 automated appointment system by calling 1-877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.

Once you have an appointment, you will need to submit your request in person at your closest regional passport agency. Expedited service usually costs around $60 more than regular service, excluding applicable delivery fees.

US Passport
How to Renew a US Passport
1. Check whether your passport is eligible for renewal.
Any US citizen can renew their current or expired passport unless any of the following conditions are met:
• Your passport was lost, stolen or damaged.
• Your passport was issued 15 or more years ago.
• Your passport was issued before you turned 16.
• Your passport was issued under a different name, and you have no documentation to prove such a name change took place.
If any of the above conditions are met, then you will not be able to renew your passport and will have to apply for a new one instead.
2. The renewal process.
From Within the USA:
All US citizens living within the USA can simply apply for one through the mail. Click here to learn how this simple process works.
From Outside the USA:
Simply visit your closest US embassy or consulate to pick up all of the required paperwork and information.
3. What you need to renew your passport.
There are a number of things that all US citizens need in order to renew their passport. These are:
• A suitable passport photo (guidelines can be found here)
• Money to pay the fee (calculate your fees here)
• An application form
• Your most recent passport
• Documents proving your name change (if applicable)
Regarding the application form, you can either fill one out online to print and take with you to a passport acceptance facility. Otherwise, you can download passport renewal form (DS-82) and instructions and fill it out by hand.
Those people who do not have access to the internet can go to a local passport acceptance facility to get a copy to fill out.
US Passport

How to Apply For a Child's Passport

Children aged 16 or 17 can apply for a US passport provided that they have all of the required identification documents, as well as a signed statement from a parent/guardian stating that they are aware of this application. Otherwise, they will need to attend the appointment with them.

For children under 16, simply follow the steps below:

1. Print and fill out form DS-11 online, but DO NOT sign it.

2. Find evidence of your child's US citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

3. Find proof of your parental relationships, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree.

4. Collect your ID and that of the other parent/guardian.

5. Photocopy both sides of the child’s citizenship evidence and both of your photo IDs.

6. Visit your closest acceptance facility with your child and the other parent/guardian.

7. Hand over all official documents and photocopies.

8. Bring the completed, unsigned DS-11 form and pay for all the required fees.

 

Other Useful Links:

Passport Application Status Check

Passport Fee Calculator

Passport Application Processing Times

National Passport Information Center

 

Source: USA.GOV
Images: depositphotos

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