How to Get a U.S. Passport

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How to Get a U.S. Passport

So you’ve finally decided to join the elite ranks of the 39% of Americans who have a passport. Congratulations! But now here is the hard part:   actually getting the passport. We will explain how to get a U.S Passport.

Well, it’s absolutely a worthwhile endeavor, but it is quite a lengthy and thorough experience. Don’t let that intimidate you. Obtaining a passport is one of the greatest assets a person can own, and fairly easy once you understand what you need. This post will explain the passport process for first-time applicants. This applies to you if you fall into one of the following categories:


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

  • You are under the age of 16

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

  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under the age of 16

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

  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago

The Seven Item Checklist to Submit a U.S. Passport Application

1. Fill Out Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport

2. Submit Completed Form DS-11 In Person

3. Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

4. Present Identification Document(s)

5. Submit a Photocopy of the Identification Document(s)

6. Pay the Applicable Fee

7. Provide One Passport Photo

Now in the event that you need your 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 over a decade of experience. The forms and steps that need to be completed in order to get your new passport are further explained below:


1.Fill Out Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport

Fill out Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport online or by hand.  Remember to include your Social Security Number and be that you do not sign the application until instructed to do so by the Acceptance Agent.

2.Submit Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport In Person

You must submit Form DS-11 in person at an Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. For more information on Obtaining a U.S. Passport in Chicago, please refer to the previous post.

NOTE: There are special submission requirements for All Minors Under Age 16

3.Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

When applying for a U.S. passport in person, you must submit evidence of U.S. citizenship with Form DS-11. All of the documentation submitted as citizenship evidence will be returned to you. These documents will be delivered with your newly issued U.S. passport or in a separate mailing.

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, please see Secondary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship. You may also 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.

Beginning April 1, 2011, all birth certificates must also include the full names of the applicant’s parent(s). For more information, please see New Requirement for all U.S. Birth Certificates.

4.Present Identification Document(s)

When applying for a U.S. passport in person, acceptable identification must be presented at the time of application.

Bring one of the following for evidence 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)



  • If you cannot submit primary identification, please see Secondary Identification.

  • If you apply at an Acceptance Facility and submit out-of-state primary identification, you must present an additional ID document, as well.

  • If you have undergone or are going through gender transition, please see these additional requirements.

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.

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

  • Photocopy must contain images on only one-side of each page submitted.

    • If copies cannot be made 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 situations that require a photocopy of identification, but are less common, include:

  • If you are presenting Secondary Identification, you must provide a photocopy of the front and back of each document being presented with your application.  A photocopy of your credit card will not be requested if it is to be presented 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 to be presented with your application.  Both sides of all identification documents must be photocopied according to the photocopy requirements above.  If a credit card is presented as your second ID, a photocopy will not be requested.

  • An assistant to a disable applicant who witnesses the signature or signs on the disabled applicant’s behalf must present a photocopy of his or her ID

  • A person acting as an Identifying Witness must present a photocopy of his or her ID

6.Pay the Applicable Fee

Self explanatory, but check the current fees and make sure you have an accepted payment method.

7.Provide One Passport Photo

To avoid processing delays, be sure your photo meets all the requirements and are properly submitted with your application. Be sure to have your photo unattached when submitting the Form DS-11 in person.

 How to Get a U.S. Passport in Chicago.

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