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How to Get a U.S Passport

By Edited Mar 9, 2016 0 0

United States of America Passports are passports issued to citizens and non citizens in the United States of America. These passports are issued by the United States Department of State and can be issued in the form of books or cards. The standard book can be used to travel all over the world.  However, the card may only be used to travel Mexico, Bermuda and some countries through land and sea. The card is not a substitute for the frequent traveler of the world.   A person might hold both a U.S. passport book and a card, however, you do not need the card if you do have the book.  Some people who travel back and forth through just Mexico or Canada may find the card handier than the passport book because the card can fit easily in  a wallet or small purse.  

You can recieve a U.S. Passport book or card being a non U.S. Citizen as well.  The Department of State follows the definition of non-citizen national according to Section 341 (b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 USC 1452(b)(2).  This section says the person is a U.S. national but not a U.S. citizen.  This person will usually is born and has ties to a U.S. possession territory such as the American Samoa and Swains Islands.  There are still people who are alive that were born before the Northern Mariana Islands were acquired by the U.S. who were given the option of become U.S. citizens and did not accept.  They are still counted U.S. nationals.  

The following are the steps to get a passport for adult applicant:

Step 1- Fill out DS-11 form.

DS-11 is actually an application for a passport. You can complete this form online or you can do it by hand.
When you do fill out the form at home, remember do not sign it.  You must sign the form in front of a person authorized to accept the application.  A notary public will not do. 

passport application

You must provide your Social Security Number. Failure to give information including your Social Security Number will result in rejection of the application.  This is a way to track your travel.  The United States Government does a pretty good job of protecting its citizens and this is a way to help if you find yourself in a predicament overseas.  

Step 2-Submit DS-11 Form

You must submit form DS-11 at an Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency.  They may be very busy and an appointment may be necessary.  Again make sure you wait to sign it in front of them.  The submission online will still have to be processed by the State Department and does not mean your application will be processed faster.  It does save the mail in time.  

Step-3-Submit Evidence of United States Citizenship

You will need to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States along with the form DS-11.  In order to get a Passport you need to submit a few of the following items to prove U.S Citizenship:
  1. Certified birth record
  2. Recently issued, unchanged U.S. passport
  3. Abroad birth Certificate to parents of U.S. Citizenship
  4. Native Certificate

Step-4-Present Identification

When looking to get Passport book, acceptable identification should be submitted during application time. Submit any of the following primary identification:


  1. Recently issued, Unchanged U.S. Passport
  2. Any Government IDCurrent
  3. Military ID

Step-5-Submit Photocopy of the Identification Documents 

Bring a photocopy of the back and front of each and every document that you will provide while you apply. You should also bring the original. The Photocopy should be on plain white, 8 1/2 inch  by 11 inch standard showing back and front of the ID. You can enlarge the image of the ID on the standard plain sheet.  However, you should not decrease the dimensions of the image.

Step-6- Pay the applicable fees

Pay the actual applicable fees. The present passport fees is mentioned below:

  • Application fee for Adult Passport book and card is $140 and execution fee $25.
  • Application fee for Adult Passport book is $110 and Execution fee is $25.
  • Application fee for Adult Passport Card is $30 and Execution fee is $25.

Step-7 - Provide two Passport Photo

Need to provide two 2 inch by 2 inch color photo, Where one will be affixed on your passport as well as the other will probably be kept on file at the agency. To avoid processing delays ensure that your photo meets all of the requirements and properly submitted along with your application. Your photo should be:


  • In color printed on photo quality paper.
  • 2 inch by 2 inch(51 mm by 51 mm) in dimensions.
  • Taken in the last six months to reflect your present appearance.
  • Taken in front of an ordinary white or off-white background.
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera.
  • When submitting Form DS-11, your photo really should not be attached to the form.

How to apply for passport cards in United States :

All U.S. citizens may apply for a passport card. If you have a passport book and you are permitted to use the form DS-82 you could possibly make application for a card by mail. If you have never had passport book or are not permitted

passport card
use form DS-82, you should apply using DS-11 form in person.

Apply Minor Passport book age under 16

The steps for getting minor passport book age under 16:

Step 1- Complete and submit DS-11 Application form.

Step 2- Submit Child's Evidence of Citizenship.

Step 3- Submit Proof of Relationship.  Parents or guardian must submit proof of the relationship to the minor applicant. Submit any of the following to prove relationship: Birth record of Child with both Parents’ name provided by the US government; Court Order Regarding Custody and Guardianship.

Step 4- Present identification of parents or guardians.

Step 5- Submit a photocopy of each parent or guardian ID.

Step 6- Provide Parental Consent; Both parents should give agreement of passport issuance for minor under age 16. Both parents must sign form DS-11 while in front of an Acceptance Agent. One parent must submit the other parents notarized statement of Agreement.

Step 7- Pay the applicable fees.

Step 8 - Submit passport photo with all requirements listed above.

Where to apply in U.S.?

You can submit the application at Passport Application Acceptance Facility using routine service or expedite service. The expedited services cost quite a bit more.  Additionally some regional passport agencies are available to apply.

If you may have international travel within fourteen days, you are able to schedule an appointment at one of the regional passport agencies in the United States. This is based on a screening process.  You might be required to provide evidence of your travel at certain regional agency.

If you might be applying Passport outside of The United States of America, contact the U.S. Embassy for submitting an application for a passport overseas.

Renew the passport

Renew the passport by mail when you have following issues:

  • Your passport was issued when you were aged under 16.
  • Your passport was issued in the last 10 years.

U.S. Passport

You need to submit DS-82 form by mail. In case your passport is altered or damaged you are unable to apply by mail. You should apply personally. For lost or Stolen U.S passport you should report and replace a passport in the passport agency and in person. For overseas help with a lost or stolen passport, contact United States Embassy or Consulate.

Correct or change information
You can modify your name, correct a mistake, and add visa pages in the passport at any time with legal documents.  You will be more apt to make progress with this if you do it in person.  Legal name changes can hold you up going out of country, so take care of this as soon as possible. 

Processing Times
Processing time for routine applications are approximately four to six weeks from the applied time.  Remember to give yourself plenty of time to make corrections as needed for the issuance of your passport.  

Application Status
The status of application will probably be available online after five to seven days of applying. To check on the application status you need submit your Last name, Birth date and Last four of SSN. You may also contact the National Passport Information Center when you have doubts about your passport application.

Support Center
Phone number for Information Center is 1-877-487-2778.
e-mail Address is npic@state.gov
Most email inquiries have been answered within one day. There are exceptions to this for holidays.


Good luck with obtaining a passport.  Remember to give yourself plenty of time before you travel to obtain the passport.  You do not want to wait until the last minute and have to cancel your plans just because you do not have it.  Also, you can save money if you do not have to expedite it. 

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