How to Get a Passport


Is it your first time applying for a passport but you don’t know how to start the process? First-time applicants are more likely to have questions. Getting a new passport is a daunting task in most countries around the world. However, things are better in the US compared to other countries. This is simply because the US has different passport application services that cater to the needs of different types of passport applicants.

Regular passport applicants or those who aren’t in a hurry to get a passport, follow the routine passport application procedure, which takes on average 10-12 weeks. (Can take longer during peak travel periods) All it requires is submission of your passport application, supporting documentation and payment for application fees and your done!

What is the Passport Requirements?

  • Determine which passport form to fill out based on age and citizenship
  • Fill out application
  • Get supporting documents  such as passport photo and passport applications
  • Visit an acceptance agent

Download the Passport Application Form

For an Adult (16 and up):

DS-11 Application For a US Passport

  • Complete form online and print it
  • DO NOT SIGN IT until you are in front of the agent

For a Child/Minor (15 and under):

DS-11 Application For a US Passport

  • Complete form online and print it
  • DO NOT SIGN IT until you are in front of the agent

DS-3053 Parental Consent Form

  • The absent parent/guardian must complete this form
  • This form is not necessary if both parents accompany the child at the time the application was submitted

DS-5525 Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances

  • The parent/guardian submitting the application complete this form if the absent parent/guardian is not available to complete DS-3053
  • Provide documents to show absent parent is not available to complete DS-5525 (court documents, police report, incarceration, or decease)

Supporting Documents

  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate
  • Original or certified copy of Birth Abroad Certificate
  • Original Certificate of Naturalization
  • Copy of valid photo ID (front and back)
  • One passport photo (color, facing forward, no glasses, and 2 x 2 inches)

Application Fee

  • Adult Passport Book fee is $110.00 + $35.00 Execution fee
  • Child Passport Book fee is $85.00 + $35.00 Execution fee

In case you are in a hurry, i.e. you are traveling urgently, and you need a passport for a newborn to travel etc., there are other options for you to take to get expedited new passport services. Below is a more in-depth discussion on how to obtain a new passport in the US depending on your needs.

How to Apply for a Passport Using Routine Passport Services

It takes between 10 to 12 weeks for passport application forms to be routinely processed in the U.S. Although the forms are usually processed on time, there are occasional delays which sometimes drag the process beyond 12 weeks. Some of the main factors causing such delays include peak travel periods and additional document requests.
To obtain a passport routinely in the U.S., follow these steps:

  • Complete the appropriate passport form.
  • Gather the necessary supporting documents.
  • Submit the application form, supporting documents, and passport application fees.

When renewing your passport, requesting for name changes, corrections on errors made or requesting for visa pages to be added, applications can be sent via mail. New passport applications or replacements of stolen, lost or significantly damaged passports must be submitted via a passport office.

If you are outside the US and want to apply for a passport, visit the nearest US Embassy or consulate to submit your form, supporting documents, and fees. Expedited services are not available at a US Embassy.

Applying for a New US Passport Using Expedited Passport Service

As mentioned above, this service is for individuals who can’t wait 10-12 weeks to acquire a new passport. Choosing this service reduces the waiting time by a half, i.e. 4-6 weeks. The process for applying for expedited passport service is almost similar to that of a routine application. With this service, you submit the documents to the expeditor who then submits them to the processing center. To use this service, follow these steps:

  • Complete the passport application form
  • Gather the necessary supporting documents
  • Submit the form, supporting documents, and fees to expeditor
  • Submit proof of travel
  • Use a faster traceable delivery method and indicate “expedite” on the face of the envelope

With these steps, you will decrease the processing time.

Urgent Passport Expediting Service

This is undoubtedly the fastest way to get a new passport in the U.S. Do these steps if you choose this option:

  • Submitting a passport application to your respective regional passport agency requesting speedy processing.
  • You can authorize a 3rd party to submit the application on your behalf (a registered courier company like Fastport Passport).

Urgent passport expediting can take a day if you choose a reputable courier company. Another option would be to use a passport agency. With an agency. This option requires a scheduled appointment where you must go in person.