How to Obtain a US Passport

Passport Application Process

passport-coverBefore my first International hunting trip I didn’t know where to start in the passport application process, how much it would cost or how long it would take. I bet there are a lot of you out there in the same boat, so here is what I found out.

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A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.

New Passport Application for a U.S. Passport

To obtain a passport for the first time, download an application form, fill it out to take with you to a designated passport acceptance facility. NOTE: Please do NOT sign the DS-11 passport application form until the Passport Acceptance Agent instructs you to do so.

You will also need to take:

  • Two photographs of yourself. *Passport photos need to be professionally taken by a business with a special passport camera. (I’m sure prices vary, but my photo was $20)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship such as abirth certificate
  • Valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license

Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 13 regional passport agencies, and 1 Gateway City Agency, which serve customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.

You’ll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time:

  • if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession;
  • if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago;
  • if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16;
  • or if your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen.

For more information:

  • If you are behind in child support payments, you may not be able to get a passport.
  • For All Minors Under Age 16:
  • For All Minors Ages 16 & 17:
    • Each minor child shall appear in person
    • For security reasons, parental consent may be requested.
    • If your child does not have identification of his/her own, you need to accompany your child and present identification.

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