How to Get a New Passport?

Are you planning your first overseas trip? Are you a bit overwhelmed by the idea of having to get a new passport? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! In this guide, we will be providing an overview of getting your first passport and everything that comes along with it. You’ll learn how long the process takes, what documents are needed for applying, and the common mistakes many travelers make.

New Passport Eligibility

If you want to get a U.S. passport, you need to be born in the United States or become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. U.S. passports are valid for ten years and are issued to U.S. citizens who are 16 years and older.

  • You are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time.
  • Your recent passport was issued when you were 15 years old and younger.
  • The last U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago.

Passport issuance is contingent on several factors besides citizenship or naturalization. Denial may result from a prior issue of a revoked passport, extradition, warrants, and other legal matters.

Applying for the First Time

When applying for a new passport, you will have to use the application form DS-11 Application Form. And gather all documents required for a new passport. This includes any primary and secondary evidence you may need for a new passport.

Where to Find the Nearest Passport Acceptance Agent?

After you have all the evidence, go to a passport acceptance agent. They will witness your signature and put your application in a special envelope.

Passport Processing Time:

Passport SpeedProcessing Time
Routine 6 to 8 weeks
Expedited (Post Offices) 2 to 3 weeks
Expedited (Passport Agency)1 to 7 Days

What Proof of Citizenship is Required for a Passport?

For a new passport, applicants must show proof of citizenship – an original or certified copy of their birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or consular birth report from abroad, stamped or sealed by relevant authorities.

Primary Evidence

To establish U.S. citizenship, you are required to provide one of the following: your most recently issued passport, an original U.S. birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240), a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship.

Additionally, you must possess valid photo identification. Please note that a driver’s license, social security card, or voter registration card is not considered sufficient proof of citizenship.

Secondary Evidence

  • A valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)
  • A U.S. birth certificate
    • Includes your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
    • Lists the city, county, or state of birth
    • List your parent(s) full name.
    • Has the date filed with the registrar’s office
    • Includes the registrar’s signature
    • Has the seal of issuing authority
  • A Certificate of Naturalization
  • A Certificate of Citizenship
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth

The following are documents accepted when applying for a passport in the United States:

If you’re applying for a passport, but your birth certificate is unavailable or unacceptable, the Department of State offers alternative methods of providing secondary citizenship evidence.

Options include providing a Letter of No Record, a Form DS-10 birth affidavit, or a delayed birth certificate. In cases where the person was born outside the U.S., the FS-240 is accepted as a form of proof.

New Passport Form

Get the DS-11 passport form from a passport office, post office, or court clerk to apply for a U.S. passport. It provides requirements and information for the written application, which you can print and submit in person.

The DS-11 Application form is for the following:

  • Applying for a first U.S. passport as an adult
  • Applying for a passport under the age of 16
  • Updating a passport that was issued when under 16
  • Replacing a passport if it was lost, stolen, or damaged
  • Getting a new passport if your previous was 15+ years ago

Those living overseas (such as in Canada) can submit Form DS-11 at a U.S. embassy or consulate. In some instances, mail-in options may be available.

Where to Apply

Where you’ll apply for a passport depends on how soon you need it. In most cases, most will need either a routine or expedited passport service. However, some circumstances may require even faster processing, such as a life-or-death emergency.

ServiceProcessing TimeDetails
Life-or-death emergency service within72 hours (3 business days)You will need to visit one of the passport agencies around the country for emergency passport service.
At weeks, a passport office or renewal by mail1 to 7 business days)At one of the many Passport Agencies located throughout the United States.
Expedited (Post Office)5 to 7 weeksAt a passport office or renewal by mail
Routine8 to 11 weeksAt weeks a passport office or renewal by mail

Please note that this information relates to those applying for a passport from within the country. Those living outside of the United States will process their application at their U.S. embassy or consulate, pay the appropriate fees, and wait for its completion.

Passport Fees

The passport price does not reflect additional costs such as the passport photo or if you need a money order when submitting payment. This also does not remember if you need expedited passport services or an option fee for an agency to find/collect records for you

TypeApplication FeeExecution Fee
Passport Book$130$35
Passport Card$30$35
Passport Book & Card$160$35

For a detailed overview – refer to our Passport Fees page.

Passport Photos

US Passport Requirements with sizes

Every passport includes a photo of its owner for verification. The easiest way to streamline the passport application process is to bring a passport photo of your own. However, the passport photo must follow the appropriate guidelines and requirements.

Passport photo requirements for a new passport include the following:

  • 2 inches x 2 inches color photo
  • Taken within six months of the application date
  • Full face (front view) without any coverings
  • Stark white background

See our in-depth passport photo guide for extra details and answers to your questions.  You may also be able to get a passport photo at most pharmacies and photo studies around the nation. 

The easiest way to have a passport photo taken is at a local pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens. You may also use passport photo apps if you prefer to stay at home.

Check New Passport Status Online

The online system of the State Department will update your application status 14 days after receiving your documents. Until then, the status will be indicated as “not found”. Please note that the provided updates will generally consist of concise information such as “in process,” “approved,” or “mailed”.

Excessive checking of the status will not yield substantial progress, but conveniently, the same website offers an option to enroll in an automatic alert system for updates regarding status changes.

Passport Acceptance Facility

Find a passport facility near you and check the hours of operation to ensure they’re available to your schedule. Consider your passport needs, too, if you require expedited passport services.

Use the following to discover facilities near you:

You may also call ahead to verify any last-minute details. Or to check for accessibility options.

Note: When visiting an agency or office, please practice safety and social distancing.

Where to Sign a New Passport?

On the page opposite your passport photo, there will be a designated area for your signature. To validate your passport, please sign on the line indicating “Signature of bearer.”

How Much Does it Cost to Get a New Passport?

Getting a new passport can be an exciting feat, but it can also be a costly one. The fees for a new passport are determined by the type of passport you need and the processing time you choose. For example, a standard adult passport book costs $110, and a child’s passport under the age of 16 costs $80.

However, if you need expedited processing, you’ll need to pay an extra $60, bringing the total cost up to $170 for an adult passport book.

Can You Apply for a New Passport Online?

No! You will need to fill out the DS-11 Application Form and then visit a passport acceptance agent to verify your information witness your signature then ship your documents to the National Passport Center for processing.


In conclusion, getting a new passport doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. If you take the time to learn and understand the process, you will be much better equipped when it comes time to submit your application. Whether you are looking for a renewal or starting from scratch, it is important to make sure that you list all necessary documents so that your application is processed as quickly as possible.

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