Consider this a handbook for getting your first passport.
The Passport. This miniature book made up of 28 pages is arguably the most important item you need when traveling the world. It certifies your identity and citizenship, and entitles you to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries. If it’s your first time journeying beyond America’s 50 states, you might have questions about documents you may need and where to go. But don’t worry, Passport Published can help. Read below for tips on applying for a United States Passport.
Only U.S. citizens are eligible for a U.S. passport. This requires you to provide evidence of citizenship using a birth certificate. Other documents eligible are: a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or other evidence of citizenship as determined by the State Department. You will also need to present a valid ID such as a driver’s license or military ID.
Know the cost
When applying for a passport, there are three options out there: the Passport Book, the Passport Card and the Passport Book and Card. The Passport Book is valid for all international travel and cost $110. The Passport Card is $30, but is only valid for return to the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. The final option is $140, and you will receive them at the same time. We suggest the final option, as it ensures your entry no matter the mode of transport.
There are three options for processing your passport, depending on how soon you will need it: Standard Processing, Expedited Processing and Expedited at Agency Processing.
- The Standard Processing option requires no additional fees, and is typically ready in four to six weeks. If you have given yourself enough time to receive your passport, congratulations! You may pass Go and collect $200.
- Expedited Processing, will have your passport processed in two to three weeks door-to-door and will cost $60. If you need your passport expedited, you also have two options for delivery: Standard and Overnight. Standard Delivery will not cost you, but Overnight will charge you $20.66.
- Expedited at Agency Processing is $60 and is processed in eight business days or less depending on need. However, there are restrictions to this option! You must make an appointment at your nearest Passport Agency. At your appointment, have proof that you are leaving in two weeks, or four if you will also need a visa. Be aware there is also an execution fee applied to this option.
Take a passport photo
This photo is going to be in your passport for 10 years so make it a good one. If you don’t have a studio set up don’t fret. There are places in your neighborhood that take passport photos like:
Be sure you make a neutral facial expression and wear regular civilian clothes. Don’t wear any hats or head coverings unless for religious purposes. If you wear glasses, make sure there isn’t a glare in the final photo.
Fill out the application
This is the most important step. The application is pretty straight forward. It’s two pages of your basic information like your address and social security number. DO NOT SIGN IT UNTIL YOU ARE AT YOUR APPOINTMENT. An agent at the passport office will tell you when to sign the application. Once you’ve filled it out, you must make an appointment to apply for the passport. When you go, bring all of your required documents and form of payment.