U.S. Passport Requirements: What’s Needed to Get a Passport?
U.S. passport requirements are the same for all United States citizens and naturalized residents.
Provide the correct proof of identification, passport form(s), and payment and you won’t likely have an issue when applying for, renewing, or updating a passport. However, there may be various instances where you have a unique case.
Passport conditions vary by age, type of document (book or card), and personal circumstances.
On this page, you’ll learn of the basic passport requirements ranging from required documents to additional information needed to complete your process.
If you were born in any of the United States or a U.S. territory, an original birth certificate or an old passport can be used as a form of identification. If you are a naturalized citizen, then the original certificate of naturalization can be used as proof of citizenship.
In addition to these primary documents, there are secondary documents that an applicant can use as proof of identity.
The required documents for a minor vary and that is dependent on who is applying for the passport. Nevertheless, here is a list of documents the State Department requires to process a passport application:
- Complete DS-11 Application Form for New Passport
- 2 Passport Photos
- Childproof of citizenship (Birth certificate issued by city, county, or state of birth)
- Evidence of parental relationship
- Parental Consent (If one parent/guardian is applying)
- Passport fee
For an adult, here are the requirements:
- Fully valid, undamaged U.S. passport (the passport can be expired)
- Original U.S. birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certification of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Note: Photocopies and notarized copies will not be accepted
In the event that you change your name due to marriage or divorce, you will need to bring in a certified copy of your marriage certificate or a court decree that shows your name change.
Suppose the applicant does not have a birth certificate or previous U.S. passport. In that case, other forms of proof can be used, including a doctor’s record of postnatal care, baptismal certificate, census record, hospital birth certificate, early school record, or family bible record.
Passport requirements can vary from person to person (depending on their circumstances). If you do not fit into the typical application, renewal, or amending process, then you may want to refer to these items to help:
- The documents provided should show the date and location of birth and must have been created within the first five years of the applicant’s life.
- Applicants that were born outside of the United States do not have a birth certificate or consular report of birth abroad and have only one parent that is a U.S. citizen can use proof of citizenship of your parent, foreign birth certificate, a state-issued document indicating that there is no birth certificate on file for you or an affidavit stating all of the locations your U.S. parent lived in the U.S. and abroad before you were born.
- If both parents are U.S. citizens, then you can bring in their marriage certificate as an alternative to the aforementioned documentation. Minors and first-time adult applicants must apply for passports in person. Adults are considered to be 16 years old and older.
- Identification and proof of citizenship must be provided, which includes the following forms of documentation: driver’s license, birth certificate, marriage certificate, I.D. card, military I.D., or previous U.S. passport that isn’t altered or damaged.
- You will need to fill out the proper form and a fee will be required. You can choose between getting a passport book or a passport card.
- Two passport photos will also be needed and must comply with regulations regarding proper passport photo specifications.
Additionally, here are more helpful resources found on our site that answer common questions and concerns when meeting the U.S. passport requirements:
- How to Renew a Lost Passport?
- Best Way to Renew a Passport?
- Missing Birth Certificate
- No Glasses Allow for a New Passport Photo
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Duplicate Birth Abroad
- Dual Citizenship & Traveling with Two Valid Passports
- How much does a passport cost?
For answers to other passport requirement questions, please refer to your local passport agency, office, or helpful resources such as our website and its guides.
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