Applying for Your U.S. Passport the Easy Way
Applying for Your U.S. Passport the Easy Way

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has prepared this publication to assist you in applying for your U.S. passport. This guide provides information on how, when, and where to apply for your passport.

When should I apply for a passport?
When do I have to apply in person?
What do I need to do to apply for a passport in person?
Where can I get passport forms?
May I apply for a passport by mail?
Other than at passport agencies, where can I apply for a passport?
What if I need a passport in a hurry?
What if I need a passport in less than 7-10 business days/2 weeks?
What happens to my passport application after I submit it?
What should I do if my passport is lost or stolen?
Do I need to obtain a separate passport for my baby?
Who should sign my childÌs passport?
What do I do if my name changes or if I need extra visa pages in passport?
What else should I know about passports?


When Should I Apply for a Passport?

Apply several months before your planned trip. If you will need visas from foreign embassies, allow more time. If you donÌt have any specific travel plans Ò but have family/friends living abroad, or are waiting to find a bargain trip Ò donÌt wait to get your passport! Get it now, so youÌre ready in case you may need or want to travel on short notice! Passport demand goes up during the summer months. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you apply early to avoid the rush.


When Do I Have to Apply in Person?

All applicants must appear in person, with the exception of those who meet the requirements for renewing a previous passport by mail . For children under age 14, both parentsÌ consent and proof of parental relationship are required. See Special Requirements for children under age 14 for details.


What Do I Need to Do to Apply for a Passport in Person?

See How to Apply in Person for a Passport.


Where Can I Get Passport Forms?

Passport acceptance facilities stock passport forms. Passport forms can also be downloaded from the Internet or obtained by calling the National Passport Information Center .


May I Apply for a Passport by Mail?

See How to Apply for a Passport Renewal .


Other Than at Passport Agencies, Where Can I Apply for a Passport?

You can apply for your passport at over 7,000 designated passport application acceptance facilities nationwide , including many post offices, clerks of court, other state/county/township/municipal offices, and a growing number of public libraries and public colleges and universities. These facilities are usually more convenient because they are near where you live or work. (Most of the 13 Regional Passport Agencies focus on serving those departing, or needing their passports for foreign visas, within 14 days and require appointments.)


What If I Need a Passport in a Hurry?

See How to Get a Passport Quickly .

NOTE: We have found that for states not densely populated and/or far from our Pittsburgh, PA cashiering facility, overnight delivery is not always reliable. For those customers, particularly those leaving in less than 7 business-days, application at a Regional Passport Agency is recommended. Whichever way you apply, include your travel date and plans on your application.


What If I Need a Passport in Less than 7-10 Business Days/2 Weeks?

See How to Schedule an Appointment at Regional Passport Agency .


What Happens to My Passport Application After I Submit It?

If you apply at one of the 6,000+ passport acceptance facilities, the same day you apply, your application will be sent to Passport ServicesÌ banking facility, where your payment is deposited into the U.S. Treasury, and information from your application is data-entered. Then, your application, in both electronic and paper form, will be directed to a Regional Passport Agency or Passport Processing Center for adjudication and passport issuance if all documentation is in order. When you receive your passport, remember to sign it in ink and in pencil, print your name and address, so if you should lose it, it may be returned to you.


What Should I Do if My Valid Passport Is Lost or Stolen?

If your still valid passport is lost or stolen, you can report the loss when you apply for a new passport. In addition to Form DS-11, you will need to complete a Form DS-64, "Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport." You may also call 202-955-0430, which has voice mail for non-business hours, Eastern Time.

If you are abroad, immediately report the loss to local police authorities and the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

For more information, see How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport .


Do I Need to Obtain a Separate Passport for My Baby?

Yes. All persons, including newborn infants, are required to obtain passports in their own names. For children under age 14, the consent of both parents/guardians is required.

For more information on special requirements for children under age 14, click here .


Who Should Sign My ChildÌs Passport?

Children, who are able to sign their names, may do so. Otherwise, a parent may sign for the child by writing the childÌs name on the signature line and signing the parentÌs name above the childÌs name. Example:

Jane Doe for

Child M. Doe

Signature of Bearer


What Do I Do if My Name Changes or I Need Extra Visa Pages in My Passport?

To Amend or Change Your Name, click here .

To Add Extra Visa Pages to Your Passport, click here .


What Else Should I Know About Passports?

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least 6 months beyond the dates of your trip. Check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the countries you plan to visit to find out their entry and visa requirements.
If you travel abroad frequently, you may request a 48-page passport at the time you apply for a new passport. In addition to foreign entry requirements, U.S. law must 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). However, airlines and cruise-lines sometimes require their passengers to have passports when flying or cruising to and from locations in these areas.
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