Where to Get a Passport

Where to Get a Passport

In August 28, 2017

Planning an international trip can be stressful, but every trip must start with a passport. Applying for a passport, despite the fear of gathering the necessary documents, is actually an easy task. It’s important to know where to get a passport will depend on when you need your passport. If you are not traveling soon, you can apply for your passport through routine processing methods. If you need your passport fast, then you may need to consider expedited passport processing options.

Routine Passport Service

The most common way to process a passport is the routine way. This option best suites consumers who are not in a hurry and can wait the 4-6 weeks it takes to obtain their passport. Most routine processing can be handled at your local passport acceptance facility. A passport acceptance facility is usually the post office or county clerk. The acceptance agent is required to review your documents and verify your identity and signature.

Expedited Passport Services

If you want to get your passport a bit faster, the post office does offer 2-3 week expediting services for an additional $60. The processing times are not guaranteed though so this option is best for travelers that just want to pay a little more to have their passport quicker than 4-6 weeks. If you need a passport immediately due to an upcoming trip, then you may qualify for expedited services. You can expedite your passport as quick as 24 hours through a Regional Passport Agency or Registered Passport Courier Services. The Regional Passport Agency option often requires an appointment and there are only 27 locations throughout the country. If you do not live near a Regional Passport Agency or cannot get an appointment, then you should consider a Registered Passport Courier Service. These private businesses are registered with the Passport Agency to work with your local acceptance agent to process your passport as quick as you need it, even as fast as 24 hours.

How to Apply for a Passport:

The passport application process is easy if you split it up into 5 steps. First, you need the correct form for your age and situation. Second, you need to gather supporting documents. Third, you must obtain a proper passport photo. Fourth, you will have to pay the fees. The fifth and final step is to submit your passport application and documents. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a few hours if you follow each step carefully.

Step 1:

DS-11: This form is for those applying for the first time, children under 16, or applicants 16-17. You must submit this in person at an acceptance facility or regional passport agency.

DS- 82: This form is for those renewing an adult’s passport and can be submitted by mail or in person at a passport agency.

DS- 5504: This form is for changing a name within a year, correcting passport error, replacing a limited validity passport within one year and can be submitted by mail or in person at a passport agency.

Step 2:

The necessary supporting documents needed are: evidence of citizenship, proof of your identification, and proof of relationship if you’re a child under 16. Some examples of documents to prove evidence of your citizenship include a certified, government-issued birth certificate; a consular report of birth abroad; a naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship can be used to prove citizenship. There are secondary options if need be. You can prove your identification by including an expired passport, driver’s license, or a military ID. The acceptance agent will also advice on the required documents for your situation.

Step 3:

Get a passport photo. Make sure your passport photo satisfies all the passport photo requirements. Passport photos can be taken at Walgreens, CVS, and some post offices, county clerks, and libraries. You can also use a passport photo mobile app and take your own photo on using your smartphone or tablet.

Step 4:

Passport fees are based on what type of passport you need and how fast you need it. New adult passports are $135 total and a minor passport is $105 total. An adult passport renewal is $110. Expedited government fees are an additional $60 per application.

Step 5:

Sending your passport application in for processing is the most important part of the process. The sealed envelope contains very confidential information, thus it is important to securely send it. The safest method is to use a trackable delivery method. Whether it’s sent through FedEx, UPS, or USPS, the US Department of State recommends getting a tracking number or any other method to ensure delivery receipt.

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