Have plans to leave the country? Well then… you are going to need a passport.
Already have a passport? Make sure it's current. Don’t wait… check now!
There are an estimated 49 million passports that will expire in the next two years.
This is going to cause a HUGE backlog of passport renewal requests – resulting in potential big delays.
Guess what? Forgetting to check the expiration date of your passport prior to a trip, is a big mistake that happens more than you would think.
It happened to my boss a couple of years ago. He had an important meeting in Germany with our CEO. He booked his tickets and really didn't think about the logistics until a couple of days in advance. The night before the flight was scheduled to leave, he grabbed his passport and took a quick look at it… His jaw dropped when he noticed that it had expired and there was no time to get a renewal. Needless to say, this did not go over well….
Don’t get yourself in this position!
If your passport is going to expire within 12-18 months, get it renewed. The general rule is 6 months from expiration, but why take a chance. Get it renewed when it is 12-18 months from expiring.
Here is everything you are going to need to know to get a passport and get it in a timely manner.
How to apply for a passport?
You must apply in person if any of the following are true:
- You are applying for your first U.S. passport
- You are under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
If none of the above apply, you can renew by mail. The requirements to renew by mail are:
- You have an existing passport and it is submitted with your application
- The submitted passport is undamaged (other than normal “wear and tear”)
- The passport was issued when you were age 16 or older and was issued within the last 15 years
- The passport was issued in your current name (or you can document your name change with an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)
What Documents are Required to get a Passport?
Evidence of US Citizenship
You must submit one of the following. Photocopies and notarized copies are not acceptable.
- Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)
- U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
- Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
- Lists your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
- Lists your parent(s)' full names
- Has the date filed with registrar's office (must be within one year of birth)
- Has the registrar's signature
- Has the seal of the issuing authority
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
You must present one of the following identification documents (IDs) to the acceptance agent. The ID must readily identify you.
- In-state, fully-valid driver's license
- In-state, fully-valid non-driver ID
- Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)
- Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
- Government employee ID (city, county, state or federal)
- S. military ID or military dependent ID
- Valid foreign passport
- Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular Identification, commonly used by the parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant)
Photocopy of the Identification
Submit a photocopy of the front and back of each ID that you present when you apply.
Special Circumstances – Do they apply to you?
If any of the below categories apply to you, you may have additional requirements for your passport application. Please see the relevant page for more information.
- Children under 16
- Children 16-17
- Previous passport was lost or stolen
- Owe child support
- In process of or completed gender transition
- Official, diplomatic, or other special issuance passport
Provide a Passport Photo
You must provide one photograph with your application. Please note the special requirements for the photo
Prepare your payment
First time, adult passport book will typically cost around $135. A passport card will run $55 and if you get them both it will cost you $165.
Child passport books will cost $105, a child passport card will cost $40 and both together will cost $120.
Complete the Passport Application
Passport Application Form DS-11 – This is the official government application form.
Submit your completed application to a Passport Acceptance Facility
What is the difference between a passport book and a passport card?
The passport card cannot be used for international air travel. For the most part it is for people that cross the Canadian and Mexican border by car. It can also be used for sea port in the Caribbean and Bermuda. For the reason, it really does not make sense to get just a passport card. Either get a passport book or both, but not just the card.
Where do I submit Passport Documents?
Now that you have all of the required passport information compiled, it’s time to turn it in for processing. You will have to submit your completed application, including citizenship evidence, photocopy of ID, passport photo, and fees, in person at a passport acceptance facility. This is typically a post office, city or county office.
How long will my passport take to arrive?
The standard processing time for most first-time applicants is 6-8 weeks after submitting all the paperwork. The passport will arrive via the mail.
As far as expedited passports go, you can either expedite via the US Passport agency or there are third part providers, such as, rushmypassport.com that will expedite the passport process anywhere from 1-12 days, depending on how quickly you need it and how much you want to pay to get it fast.