Already got yours? then you’re probably good to go and you can skip this article. But if you don’t yet have a US passport, apply for one right away.
If you’re a US citizen looking to get a passport for the first time, you must apply in person, using Form DS-11.
How long does it take to get a new US passport?
Be prepared to pay the required fees, based on the speed you want your application processed (an expedited application costs more), and where you are applying.
After your appointment (see below), it generally takes 8-11 weeks. And that’s after you spend 2-3 weeks collecting the required documentation.
If you pay extra for an expedited passport, expect it to take 5-7 weeks.
Plan to apply six months before you intend to travel.
What are the fees for a passport?
The fee to the Department of State for a new, adult passport is $130 for a regular passport book. If you only want a passport card, the fee is $30, but it’s only valid if you’re traveling to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean. If you want both a passport book and card, the fee is $160.
There’s an additional $60 fee to expedite, and if you want one- or two-day delivery, add another $18.32. There may be additional fees, depending on your circumstances.
Generally, a check, cashier’s check, or money order is acceptable. Official Passport Agencies may also take credit cards.
How to set up a passport application appointment
All appointments must be scheduled in advance. To set up your appointment for your in-person application call 1-877-487-2778.
Here’s a listing of passport offices where you can apply in person, however, at these offices you’ll be required to pay an expedited fee. Many post offices and government offices will take in-person passport applications, so do an online search for “passport office” in your area.
Documents you’ll need for your passport application
- Download the PDF form, print it, and complete it.
- Get a proper passport photograph taken – your photo must be recent, taken within the previous six months. Here’s a list of places, including pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. FedEx and UPS stores will also take passport photos.
- Gather documentation. This must include:
- Proof of citizenship. If you were born in the US, a birth certificate, certified, is usually sufficient, but read the rules on Form DS-11 carefully. You may also have to provide a marriage certificate, for example.
- Identification which contains both a photograph of you and your signature. Acceptable ID includes drivers license, military ID, or government employee ID.
- Go to your appointment with all the required forms, photographs and documentation, as well as fees.
If you have children, pay special attention to the rules for obtaining a passport for a child under the age of 16!
Note: This information was accurate when it was written, but can change any time. Updated 1/24/2022.
This information is taken from my book, Getting Out of the USA: What You Need to Know Before Moving Abroad. You can purchase the book from Amazon.
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