How to get a passport

To get a passport, you need to apply in person at one of the more than 9,000 passport acceptance facilities in the United States. Bring your completed passport application, two photographs of yourself, a certified birth certificate or previous US passport, and a valid photo ID, such as a driver�s license.

A certified birth certificate has a raised or embossed seal, the registrar�s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar�s office, which must be within one year of your birth. In lieu of a certified birth certificate, you may submit a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth if you were born abroad; a Naturalization Certificate; or a Certificate of Citizenship.

The photos accompanying your application must meet the following requirements:

  • 2Ã�2 inches in size
  • Identical
  • Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
  • Color
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in normal street attire

It costs $100 to get a new passport: a $75 application fee and a $25 execution fee. If you need your passport sooner than the now 12 weeks the State Department is saying the process takes, you can pay a $60 fee to have it expedited.

If you need a passport within two weeks or less, you must apply in person at a Passport Agency. You must make an appointment, call 1-877-487-2778 to make one. Note: You cannot get an appointment with a passport agency unless you are leaving within two weeks of your phone call to the agency. When you arrive for your appointment have with you a copy of your paid for itinerary from your travel agent or a copy of your e-ticket.

Starting this fall, the State Department will begin issuing Passport cards to be used as identification by US citizens traveling by land or sea between the US and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. If you travel by air, you will still need a regular passport.

The department has not yet started making the cards, which are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a law that will require citizens traveling to Canada and Mexico to carry passports for reentry into the US. The wallet-sized cards will feature a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip.

The passport card costs $45 for first-time applicants. Adults with valid passports issued within the last fifteen years can apply for the card by mail at a cost of $20.

Photo Credit: sxc.hu

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