In order to travel to and from other countries, US citizens need to obtain a passport. A passport is issued by the US government for US citizens. There are various steps in the process of obtaining a passport, but in all cases, it is best for individuals to act quickly to obtain the passport they require.
Need a New Passport?
If you are applying for a new passport, perhaps because you do not have one or you are applying for a passport for a child, you will need to complete required forms and file them with the government. If you plan to travel internationally including by air as well as by traveling by land or sea to locations in Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean, you will need to obtain a legal passport. It is a good idea for all citizens to maintain a passport since it serves as legal identification and can take some time to obtain, leaving you in a difficult situation if you are in a rushed or emergency situation.
To determine eligibility, consider the following:
- US passports are good for 10 years from their issue date for all people who are 16 years of age or older.
- If you have never been issued a passport or your most recent passport was from when you were under the age of 16, apply for a new one.
- Apply for a new passport if your current passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
What Information You Will Need to Obtain a Passport
To apply for a US passport, you will need to obtain the proper passport form, based on the type of passport you are requesting. You will also need to provide the following documentation:
- Proof that you are a legal US citizen. This is commonly done with a birth certificate.
- A passport photo
- A copy of your driver’s license or state-issued identification. Both the back and front must be submitted.
- Your itinerary of travel if you need to have your passport expedited.
- Required passport application fee.
With this information along with the required passport application, you can visit a Passport Acceptance Agent to have the application officially sealed. This is often done at most US Post Offices as well as most city Clerk of the Court offices. These agents will place the passport in the required envelop. Then, you can choose to submit it in one of these ways:
- Through the mail – Sending your sealed envelope to the National Passport Center.
- At a Passport Agency – These are located in most major US cities. The passport is then processed onsite.
- Through a Passport Expediting Company: A faster process that allows for your passport to be completed quickly.
Don’t put off obtaining your passport. The process can take several weeks in some cases.