Having a passport can be one of the most liberating feelings. It’s the first step for any travel enthusiast in beginning to venture out abroad. U.S. citizens should begin the process of getting their passport as soon as possible as the process can sometimes be lengthy, though it is relatively simple. Travel is more valuable than money, the best way to expand your mind and become more appreciative of other cultures and perspectives. It’s these reasons that make getting a passport so important for every United States citizen!
Where do I apply for a passport?
U.S. citizens are required to apply for a passport in person, but you can start the process by filling out the online passport application form if you’re an adult over the age of 16. This form will be for government use only and asks for personal information, such as social security number and information related to you and your family. You will then need to bring your form and other required documentation to your local Passport Agency, Passport Acceptance Facility or U.S. Embassy or Consulate. All U.S. citizens can apply for a passport at the U.S. State Department Website. Read on for more information about passport fees and the required documentation you will need to bring to these offices.
Requirements for Getting a Passport
- Your Passport Application Form needs to be completed.
- Passport Photo
- Bring two photographs taken within the last 6 months. It is recommended that these be taken ‘professionally.’ Many pharmacies or photo stores provide these services. Certain passport agencies also offer these services.
- Photo requirements per the U.S. State Department:
- In color
- Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Proof of Citizenship
- You need to be a U.S. citizen in order to apply for a passport. To prove this, bring either your birth certificate, expired passport, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship.
- You need to prove who you are. Make sure you bring either a valid driver’s license, military ID or government ID card, expired or current passport or naturalization certificate. Important: Even though some of these documents act as both proof of citizenship and identification, you must bring one document for each – you can’t use the same document to prove citizenship and identification.
- Bring all required documentation and apply in person
How much does a passport cost?
There are three tangible passport documents you can acquire. Costs vary depending on your age and eligibility. Here are the passport types and current costs for each.
Important: Passport fees are Non-Refundable. It’s important you thoroughly read through the U.S. State Department Passport Fee listings before applying for a passport as incorrect fees could delay the passport application process. This articles serves as a general guide for passport information and should not be substituted for the rates listed by the State Department.
First Time Adult Applicants Over Age 16:
Adult Passport Book: Can be used for all forms of international travel
Cost: $110 + $25 Execution Fee
Adult Passport Card: The Passport Card can only be used for travelers returning to the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda.
Cost: $30 + $25 Execution Fee
Adult Passport Book & Card: You can apply for both passport types at the U.S. Department of State website
Cost: $140 + $25 Execution Fee
Passport Fees for Minors Under Age 16:
Total Passport Fee Estimates:
You can get a cost estimate for your passport at the U.S. State Department website.
Contact the National Passport Information Center
Contact the National Passport Information Center at the U.S. State Department to make an appointment at a passport agency or for all Passport related inquiries:
Speak to a customer service rep from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. EST – Monday through Friday with the exception of Federal holidays.
An automated system is available 24/7 if you fail to reach a passport information representative.
- From the U.S. 1-877-487-2778
- From the U.S. 1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD)
You can also email the National Passport Information Center here. They claim emails are typically answered within the first 24 hours.
If you’re outside the United States, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.