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.
- DS-11 Application Form for New Passport
- Passport Photo
- Evidence to Prove Citizenship
- Photocopy of state-issued ID or driver’s license
- Proof of Travel Plans or Flight Itinerary (Only Required if you need to expedite a new passport)
- Passport Fees: Two checks would be required, one made out to the US Department of State for $130.00 (routine) or $190.00 (Expedited) and the second check for $35.00 for the passport acceptance fee.
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 Speed||Processing Time|
|Routine||7 to 10 weeks|
|Expedited (Post Offices)||3 to 5 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.
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.
- 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.
|Life-or-death emergency service within||72 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 mail||1 to 7 business days)||At one of the many Passport Agencies located throughout the United States.|
|Expedited (Post Office)||5 to 7 weeks||At a passport office or renewal by mail|
|Routine||8 to 11 weeks||At 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.
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
|Type||Application Fee||Execution Fee|
|Passport Book & Card||$160||$35|
For a detailed overview – refer to our Passport Fees page.
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
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.
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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