How to Apply for a US Passport

On this page, you’ll learn How to Apply for a US Passport.

How to Apply for a US Passport

How to Apply for a US Passport

So, you’ve finally decided to join the elite ranks of the 39% of Americans who have a passport. Awesome! In fact, getting a passport is one of the best assets you can own, and fairly easy once you understand what you need.

But now here is the hard part: actually getting the passport. Although it is absolutely a worthwhile endeavor, it is quite a lengthy and thorough experience. Don’t let that intimidate you.

See how to apply for a US passport as a first-time applicant below.

Passport Eligibility for First-Time Applicants

The following applies to you if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport.

  • You are under 16 years old.

This process also applies to those who fit any of the following:

  • The U.S. Department of State issued your previous U.S. passport when you were under 16 years old.

  • Your last U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged.

  • The U.S. Department of State issued your U.S. passport over 15 years ago.

Continue reading for specific instructions on how to apply for a US passport.

The 7-Item Checklist for a U.S. Passport Application

  1. Complete Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport
  2. Submit your Form DS-11 in person
  3. Submit evidence of U.S. citizenship
  4. Present identification document(s)
  5. Submit a photocopy of your identification document(s)
  6. Pay the applicable passport fees
  7. Provide one (1)passport photo

In the event you need your U.S. passport quickly, or if you’re having trouble understanding the process or need help with the forms, Fastport Passport is a professional passport and visa expediting company with more than a decade of experience. In addition, you can visit Expedited Passport Services to learn more about how to apply for a US passport fast.

Read below for a further explanation of the required forms and steps to get your new passport.

1. Complete Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport

Fill out an Application for a U.S. Passport (Form DS-11) either online or by hand. Remember to include your Social Security Number. But do not sign the passport application until the acceptance agent instructs you to do so.

2. Submit your Form DS-11 in person

You must submit Form DS-11 in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility or Regional Passport Agency.

There are special submission requirements for all minors under 16 years old.

3. Submit evidence of U.S. citizenship

When applying for a U.S. passport in person, you must also submit evidence of U.S. citizenship. The U.S. Department of State will return all of the documentation you submit as proof of citizenship, along with your new U.S. passport (but sometimes in a separate mailing).

So, you’ll need to bring one of the following as evidence of U.S. citizenship:

Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state
Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
Naturalization Certificate
Certificate of Citizenship

NOTE: If you do not have primary evidence of U.S. citizenship or your U.S. birth certificate does not meet the requirements, see Secondary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship. In addition, you may order an Express Birth Certificate here.

*A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. Please note, some short (abstract) versions of birth certificates may not be acceptable for passport purposes.

Notably, beginning April 1, 2011, all birth certificates must also include the full names of the applicant’s parent(s).

4. Present identification document(s)

When applying for a U.S. passport in person, you must present acceptable form of identification at the time of application.

Next, you’ll need to bring one of the following for proof of primary identification:

Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
Naturalization Certificate
Valid Driver’s License
Current Government ID (city, state or federal)
Current Military ID (military and dependents)

NOTES:

5. Submit a photocopy of the identification document(s)

Bring a photocopy of the front and back of each ID document that you will present when you apply for your passport.

  • Your photocopy must be on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11″ standard paper stock, and show the front and the back of your ID

  • Your photocopy must contain images on only one side of each page.

    • If you cannot make copies on the same side of one page, you may present two separate pages; one displaying the front of the ID and the second displaying the back of the ID.

  • The paper should be free of other images and/or markings.

  • The 8 1/2 x 11″ paper size cannot be substituted with a larger or smaller size paper, even if the alternative folds down to the 8 1/2 x 11″ size.

  • You may enlarge the image of your ID on the 8 1/2 x 11″ page, but you may not decrease the size of the image.

Other Passport Photo Situations

Other situations that require a photocopy of identification, but are less common, include:

  • Important to realize, if you are presenting Secondary Identification, you must provide a photocopy of the front and back of each document being presented with your passport application. A photocopy of your credit card will not be necessary if you present it with Secondary Identification.

  • If you submit out-of-state primary identification, you must provide a photocopy of your primary identification document and the second ID along with your application. Be sure to photocopy both sides of all identification documents, according to the photocopy requirements above.

  • Moreover, an assistant to a disabled passport applicant who witnesses the signature or signs on the disabled applicant’s behalf must present a photocopy of his or her ID.

  • Lastly, a person acting as an Identifying Witness must present a photocopy of his or her ID as well.

6. Pay the applicable passport fees

Importantly, be sure to check the current passport fees and make sure you have an accepted payment method.

7. Provide one (1) passport photo

To avoid processing delays, be sure your photo meets all the requirements and submit it with your application as instructed. Also, be sure to disattach your photo from Form DS-11.


Finally, if you did not find the info you need about How to Apply for a US Passport, please see New Passport Processing.

Otherwise, contact us by email or submit an inquiry via our Passport Help Desk. We’ll guide you in the right direction.

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