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Everything you need to know about getting a U.S. Passport

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Before you pack your swimsuits, shades, and sandals for your next tropical vacation, make sure you have the proper travel documents. For all international/abroad trips you will need a valid passport book (not card). If you don’t have a passport book – apply now; if you have a passport book – check the expiration date!

We’ve put together a simple guide to help you get your passport before next vacation!

Early is never early enough – Start the process now!

While the process to get a new (or renewed) passport book may be daunting (along with the length of this blog), having a passport is your ticket to travel the world and create memories of a lifetime. The best advice when starting this process is to allow ample time for the process, especially around the holidays when government offices may be closed.

To start the process you must visit the U.S. Department of State website. There you will get all the required documents to complete, a step-by-step guide on applying, and FAQ’s.

Do I have to apply in person?

You must apply in person using Form DS-11 if at least one of the following is 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 you already have a passport and none of the above statements apply to you please see the Renew my Passport section below

Use this search page to find the closest facility to you.

When should I apply?

Normally, a passport will be processed within six to eight weeks. Processing times can vary by agency as well as time of application. We recommend applying at least two months (eight weeks) before any scheduled international travel. Use this search page to find the closest facility to you.

In a pinch and need your passport quick? See Expedited Passports below.

Required Documentation

  • Completed DS-11 form
    • You can complete the form prior but do not sign it until you are in the presence of an authorize executing official
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or nationality & photocopy
    • Examples: U.S. passport (may be expired), birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, and/or certificate of naturalization
    • Photocopy must be legible, on 8.5”x11” standard paper, single sided, and black and white
  • Present ID & photocopy
    • Examples: valid or expired passport, valid driver’s license, Certificate of Naturalization, Government employee ID, etc.
    • Photocopy must include front and back of each ID and must be legible, on 8.5”x11” standard paper, single sided, and black and white
  • Passport Photo
    • At least one, we recommend two, passport photos taken within the last six months
    • Photo should be 2”x 2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm) with a plain white or off-white background
    • Check out the U.S. Dept. of State page for more tips and examples for passport photos

How much does a Passport Book cost?

The application fee for a Passport Book (age 16+) is $110 + $35 execution fee, totaling $145. The application fee and the execution fee are paid separately.

  • Application Fee (age 16+): $110
    • Checks and money orders should be payable to “U.S. Department of State”
    • Credit and debit cards CANNOT be accepted
  • $35 Execution Fee (paid separately)
    • Money Orders are accepted at all locations, payable as instructed by the facility
    • Personal checks and cash (exact amount) accepted at some locations
    • Credit cards at U.S. postal facilities and some other locations. NOTE: facility may add surcharge to cover cost of card transaction

*Please verify acceptable payment methods with acceptance facility ahead of time.

Renew your Passport Book

If you have a passport and none of the above statements apply to you, you may be eligible to renew using Form DS-82. Check out the U.S Department of State checklist to see if you are eligible.

Expedited Passports

Passports can be expedited for a variety of reasons. Check out the different services, requirements and fees for expedited passports here.

More Questions?

Always refer to the U.S. Department of State website for more information.

*If your passport is not a U.S. Passport please contact your local embassy for specific travel requirements.