A valid passport from the United States is mandatory for any U.S citizen who travels internationally for the first time. This document is not easy to obtain. This is a complex process with specific rules that takes time. We have created a step-by-step guide to help you.
1. Start About Three Months Before Your Trip
On average, it takes between four and ten weeks to obtain a passport. It’s a good idea to start the application at least three to five months before your trip to avoid any problems. It’s not a good idea to wait to find out if your passport will arrive on time.
There is an expedited way to get a passport if you are in a rush or have only a few weeks before take-off. It comes with additional fees, which we don’t recommend. It’s a good idea to have it in case you need it.
If you have less than six weeks before travel, the United States government recommends that you use the expedited route. Follow the below steps and choose the expedited option to submit your forms. You will need to pay an additional fee for overnight delivery. When you bring in your materials, you will need to visit a particular facility.
You might not be allowed to apply for a passport if you violate any legal agreements. Your application may be denied if you fall behind in child support payments, for instance. Before you apply, it is a good idea that you adhere to all legal agreements.
2. Get Your Documents Together
To apply for a passport, you will need to provide very specific documentation. Before you fill out the application, gather them all together. Both Proof Of Citizenship and Proof Of Identity are required.
A birth certificate is required to prove your citizenship. You will need a certificate of citizenship, naturalization certificate, or consular report of birth abroad if you were born outside the United States.
A driver’s license, valid government identification, or a naturalization certificate can be used to prove your identity. Your signature and photograph are all that is required.
All identification required for Proof of Citizenship or Proof of Identity must still be valid. Photocopies will not be accepted. You will need the original documents. You will need secondary identification if your driver’s license is issued for another state than the one in which you are applying.
You will need multiple forms of secondary identification if you don’t already have one. Two of the options available to you are a Social Security card (or library card), or a Credit Card.
3. Get a Passport Photograph Taken
Passport photos cannot be taken with a simple photo and sent in with the application form. Size requirements are very specific and photos must be taken from the head, not in profile.
These photos should not be taken on your own, either in a booth or with your smartphone. An unacceptable photograph is not enough to reject your entire application.
It is easiest to visit a location that offers passport photo services. This is a common practice at some US Post Office locations, particularly if they also double as passport application sites. This is often done by grocery chains that have photo labs and retail drugstore chains.
4. Fill out the Application Form
A DS-11 is the standard form that first-time passport applicants must fill out. You will need your Social Security number, address, and place of birth to fill out the form. If you don’t have a Social Security Number, you will need one to fill out the application form. It will ask you for your height, eye color, and other information, just like a driver’s license.
You can either access the form online or complete it manually. You will need to print the form if you fill it out online. You can’t submit anything online for a first passport application.
5. Take All the Materials in Person
All passport applicants must apply in person for the first time. Although you can usually renew your passport by mail once you have it, this is not the case right now.
Which direction should you go? There are many options.
You must apply at an acceptance facility. This is usually a government office. You can search for these facilities by using the zip code provided by the United States State Department.
These locations include public libraries, post offices, and other state, county, and township government offices. A passport application fee will be required. Make sure you have enough money to cover the fee.
You must visit an official Passport Agency Center if you require an expedited passport. These also require appointments. A list is maintained by the State Department.
6. Track the status of your Passport
You will receive a tracking number as well as a website to help you keep track of the status and application.
Your application will take anywhere from five to seven days to appear. You can keep track of your status to notify the government if it doesn’t appear.
It’s exciting to make your first international trip. To make it happen, you will need a passport. The process of getting a passport is complicated and requires a lot of documentation. It can take several months to complete. Start early and make sure you follow these steps.
Texas Passport Center gives services like New Passport, Passport Renewal, Add Extra Passport Pages, Lost or Stolen Passport, and many more. We also provide Expedited Passport San Antonio and the many surrounding areas. We charge an additional fee to hand-carry passport applications to the Passport Agency for people who value their time and do not want to do it themselves.
Texas Passport Center offers all passport services and several passport processing options depending on your situation. Whether it’s your new passport, or you need to renew passport in Texas, our professionals are well versed in the details of the passport application process.