How To Apply For Us Passports

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Applying for a US passport is a relatively straightforward process, although it often takes time. Because of this, it is important to apply for it well in advance if you can to avoid fees for rushed service. The easiest places to apply for passports are at passport acceptance facilities, especially if you do not live in a major city. However, standard service from a passport acceptance facility takes roughly six weeks. Regardless of the circumstance, it is wise to apply for a US passport as soon as you know you are traveling.

You should go in person to the passport acceptance facility nearest you, unless you are simply renewing an expired passport (which can be done by mail). It is recommended that you make an appointment when going to a passport acceptance facility, as they are frequently busy. When you go, you will be required to bring ID and passport photos. You should make sure you have everything in order before your appointment, and can even download the proper paperwork and have your forms filled out when you arrive.

What to Bring

You will need to bring proof of citizenship and a current form of identification. A birth certificate and driver's license, respectively, are the most common forms of either. An expired passport also works, so long as it is not damaged in any way. In addition, you will need to bring passport photographs. These are headshots of you, which must have been taken within the last six months. They must measure 2"x2", and be a frontal face shot against a blank background. It doesn't matter if the photo is black and white or in color, but you cannot wear a hat.

Passport photos can be taken on the spot at most photography studios, and should be done well before your appointment at the passport acceptance facility. Preparing everything in advance will make your application go much more smoothly--as any errors or omissions will result in a passport being denied. Keeping everything in order and applying in a timely fashion should make the process quite painless, and you'll be on your way to see the world.


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