The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has prepared this information to assist you in applying for your U.S. passport. This guide will give you information on where to apply, how to apply, and the best time to apply.
Other Than Passport Agencies, Where Can I Apply for a Passport?
You can apply for a passport at many Federal and state courts, probate courts, and some post offices.
Over 2500 courts and 900 post offices in the United States accept passport applications. Courts and post offices are usually more convenient because they are near your home or your place of business. You save time and money by not having to travel to one of the 13 major U.S. cities where passport agencies are located.
When Do I Have to Apply in Person?
You must always apply in person if you are 13 or older, and if you do not meet the requirements for applying by mail. (See "May I Apply for a Passport by Mail? .")
Usually, for children under 13, only a parent or legal guardian need appear to execute a passport application.
What Do I Need to Do to Apply for a Passport at a Courthouse or Post Office?
Go to a courthouse or post office authorized to accept passport applications and complete the DSP-11 application form, but do not sign it until instructed to do so.
You must present:
1. PROOF OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP
-- a previous U.S. passport, or
-- if you were born in the U.S., a certified copy of your birth certificate issued by the state, city, or county of your birth (a certified copy will have a registrars raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal and the date the certificate was filed with the registrars office).
If you have neither a passport nor a certified birth certificate...
-- bring a notice from the registrar of the state where you were born that no birth record exists;
also, bring as many as possible of the following:
-- a baptismal certificate,
(To be considered, these documents must show your full name and date and place of birth.);
-- also, bring a notarized affidavit completed by an older blood relative who has personal knowledge of your birth.
If you were born abroad, bring a: Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen, or a Certification of Birth (Form FS-545 or DS- 1350). If you do not have these documents, check with the acceptance office agent for documents that can be used in their place.
2. TWO PHOTOGRAPHS
-- The photos must be recent (taken within the past six months), identical, 2x2 inches, and either color or black/white;
-- they must show a front view, full face, on a plain, light (white or off-white) background. (Vending machine photographs are not acceptable.)
3. PROOF OF IDENTITY
-- a previous U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship, a valid driver's license, government or military ID, or corporate ID.
-- $65 for a ten-year passport;
Make your check or money order payable to Passport Services. Post offices (and passport agencies) accept cash in the exact amount of the fee, but courts are not required to do so. If you must have your passport within 2 weeks, you will need to pay an additional $30 expedite fee and provide proof of the need for this service. (See "What If I Need a Passport in a Hurry?.")
5. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Although a Social Security number is not required for issuance of a passport, Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 requires passport applicants provide this information. Passport Services gives this information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) routinely. Any applicant who fails to provide the information is subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS. Questions on this matter should be referred to the nearest IRS office.
Where Can I Get Passport Forms?
Passport forms are available from passport agencies, many post offices, clerks of court and travel agencies. They can also be down loaded via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
May I Apply for a Passport by Mail?
Yes, if you already have a passport and that passport is your most recent one, and it was issued within the past 12 years, and if you were over age 18 when it was issued.
Obtain DSP-82 "Application For Passport By Mail." Fill it out, sign, and date it.
Attach to it:
-- your most recent passport;
-- two identical passport photographs (See previous section on passport photographs.);
-- and a $55 fee (and if applicable, a $30 expedite fee for emergency service); make your check or money order payable to Passport Services. (The $10 execution fee is waived for those eligible to apply by mail.)
If your name changed, enclose a certified copy of the Court Order, Adoption Decree, Marriage Certificate, or Divorce Decree specifying another name for you to use. (Photocopies will not be accepted.) If your name has changed by any other means, you must apply in person.
Mail (if possible, in a padded envelope) the completed DSP-82 application and attachments to:
National Passport Center
Your previous passport will be returned to you with your new passport.
If you need faster service, you can use an overnight delivery service. If the service of your choice will not deliver to a post office box, send it to:
Include the appropriate fee for overnight return of your passport.
Note: If your passport has been mutilated, altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person using Form DSP-11, present acceptable evidence of U.S. citizenship and identification.
When Should I Apply for a Passport?
Apply several months in advance of your planned departure. If you will need visas from foreign embassies, allow more time.
What Happens to My Passport Application After I Submit It?
If you apply at a passport acceptance facility, the day you apply your application will be forwarded to the passport agency that serves the acceptance office, or, in the case of mail-in applications, to the National Passport Center.
Applications are processed according to the departure date indicated on the application form. If you give no departure date, the passport agency will assume you are not planning any immediate travel. Your passport will be returned to you by mail at the address you provided on your application.
What Should I Do if My Passport Is Lost or Stolen?
If your passport is lost or stolen report the loss on form DSP-64, when you apply, in person, for your new passport. If you are abroad, report the loss immediately to local police authorities and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Remember to write your current address in the space provided in your passport, so that if it is found, it can be returned to you.
What Else Should I Know About Passports?
All persons, including newborn infants, are required to obtain passports in their own name.
If you need to get a valid passport amended because of a name change, use Form DSP-19. (See "May I Apply for a Passport by Mail?" for the documentation required.)
Before traveling abroad, make a copy of the identification page to make it easier to get a new one should it be necessary. It is also a good idea to carry two extra passport photos with you. If you run out of pages before your passport expires, submit Form DSP-19 along with your passport to one of the passport agencies listed on the last page. (Please allow time for the processing of the request.) If you travel abroad frequently, you may request a 48-page passport at the time of application.
Some countries require that your passport be valid at least 6 months beyond the dates of your trip. If your passport is expiring in less than the required validity, you will need to get a new one. Check with the nearest embassy or consulate of the countries you plan to visit to find out their entry requirements.
In addition to foreign entry requirements, U.S. law must also be considered. With certain exceptions, it is against U.S. law to enter or leave the country without a valid passport. Generally for tourists, the exceptions refer to direct travel within U.S. territories or between North, South, or Central America (except Cuba).
Note: If you mutilate or alter your U.S. passport, you may render it invalid and expose yourself to possible prosecution under the law (Section 1543 of Title 22 of the U.S. Code).
What If I Need a Passport in a Hurry?
If you are leaving on an emergency trip within five working days, apply in person at the nearest passport agency and present your tickets or itinerary from an airline, as well as the other required items. Or, apply at a court or post office and have the application sent to the passport agency through an overnight delivery service of your choice (include a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope for the return of the passport). Be sure to include dates of departure and travel plans on your application and all fees (including the $30 expedite fee).
Boston Passport Agency
Chicago Passport Agency
Honolulu Passport Agency
Houston Passport Agency
Los Angeles Passport Agency
Miami Passport Agency
New Orleans Passport Agency
New York Passport Agency
Philadelphia Passport Agency
San Francisco Passport Agency
Seattle Passport Agency
Stamford Passport Agency
Washington Passport Agency
If you need more information, contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC). The NPIC is the only public telephone number for passport information. Callers can dial 1-900-225-5674* to receive passport applications or additional information about passport emergencies, applying for a U.S. passport and to check on the status of a passport application. Automated information is available 24-hours/day, 7 days/week. Live operators can be reached Monday-Friday, excluding Federal holidays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard time. Services are provided in English, Spanish, and by TDD (1-900-225-7778*).
*The cost per minute for 1-900 calls is $.35 for the automated system and $1.05 for live operators. This service also includes an optional number, 1-888-362-8668 (TDD 1-888-498-3648), for those calling from telephones with blocked 1-900 service. These calls require a credit card for payment of a flat rate of $4.95 per call.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10418