Table of Contents
Apply For U.S. Passport
A passport, in general, is an important document, issued by a certain national government, which confirms or verifies the nationality and identity of the person in possession and is used for traveling purposes. It contains vital information about the holder which includes full name, date of birth, place of birth, and registered residential address. Mostly, these travel documents are identical and includes more or less the same elements of identity.
A U.S Passport is provided to either citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States. It is issued solely by the United States’ Department of State. Usually, it comes in five types. The first type is the regular type that comes in dark blue cover. It is issuable mainly to all citizens and non-citizen nationals. The periods of validity are dependent on the age. For ages 16 above, it is usually 10 years and for ages 15 below, it is for five years, reckoned on the date of issue. The second type is the official passport for citizen-employee of the country, their eligible dependents, and members of the Congress who are assigned abroad, whether permanent or temporary and who travel for on official business. The third type is a diplomatic passport which is issued to citizen-employees of the United States who are assigned abroad, either temporarily or permanently, including their eligible members, and members of the Congress who leaves the country for official business. The fourth type is not completely a passport, but issued to permanent resident aliens in place of a passport. It is a guarantee for their permission to re-enter the country and is valid for 2 years. Lastly, the emergency passport which is valid for a year and issued to citizens who are located overseas in urgent circumstances.
In order to obtain your vital document, there are specific and mandatory requirements that must be secured and acquired such as a valid identification card, birth certificate and photo. One must comply strictly with the policies and pay the required fees to avoid rejection of the application. While it is true that there are many ways to expedite a passport, this can only be made possible by authorized passport expediting companies which are authorized to do so.
Getting passports is not easy sometimes. There must be someone who knows the ins and outs of the process to attain approval. Passport expediting companies, for that matter, are the best option for processing and assure smooth flow of transaction and transparency.
Due to the increased security measures, the State Department implemented various passport requirements and guidelines. If you are planning to travel abroad and go back home to the United States, read on and learn some of the steps for a passport application and how to make the process go smoothly.
Making A Personal Appearance
A personal appearance at any designated passport acceptance facility is required for all first-time applicants. Several other situations also require an applicant to show up in person at the passport acceptance office. Also, minor applicants and those who need a replacement for their lost or stolen passports need to go in person at the passport office.
All applicants are also required to fill out an application form such as the DS-11. Together with the application form, you need to present several other documents in person. You can fill out the application form but do not affix your signature until you get to the passport acceptance office and you are in front of an agent. The reason behind this is that the passport facility needs to make sure that your signature matches all the signatures on the documents and IDs that were presented.
Photo and Fees
A photo is also required in all passport applications. The required photo must have the applicant’s face big enough for identification and should be colored. You also need to pay the appropriate fees for your application.
Proof of citizenship
Another document required for a passport application is a proof of citizenship such as the birth certificate or a previously issued passport. If you are an immigrant, you need to present official naturalization and immigration papers. These are must-have documents as your application will not be processed without them. Also, it is important to bear in mind not to present laminated birth certificates or documents as these are absolutely unacceptable. Also, make sure that the documents that you will present have the raised seal and in any way, must not be covered. Also, bring photocopies of all your documents.
Minor applicants are also required to submit all of the said documents. They should also be accompanied by their parents. If the child’s parents are separated or divorced, a consent form with both parents’ signatures is required for the minor’s passport application. If the other parent do not have any visitation rights and the other one has the sole custody of the child, then only the latter needs to be present in the passport office.
Where to Apply
Processing passports can be done in various places. The place that you need to go to depends mainly on how soon you need the document and the type of the passport service that you require. Read on and learn where to get your passport.
Passport renewal applications can be done by mail using the Form DS-82. You also need to meet certain requirements and should have more than 14 days before your planned departure. Your present passport should be undamaged and should be issued when you were 16 years old and within the last 15 years. The name on your present passport should also be the same name on your renewal application. For any changes on your personal information, you are required to send certain documentation like a certified copy of a marriage license. If these requirements are not met, then an application through mail is not an option.
For expedited or regular processing of a first-time application, you need to bring your application form (DS-11) and all supporting credentials to the closest passport acceptance facility. The State Department authorizes various clerks of court, post offices, public libraries, and other municipal, township, county, and state government offices to receive applications on its behalf. There are more than 8,000 of these locations throughout the United States territories.
Another place where you can apply for passports is at a regional passport agency. There are thirteen of these agencies located throughout the United States. These agencies only attend to passport applications that are needed in less than two weeks. If you are in a hurry to get a passport, this option is best for you. These agencies are located in Connecticut, Colorado, Norwalk, Aurora, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Chicago, and Boston.
It is also required to set up an appointment before going to any of the mentioned agencies. You should neither arrive early or late for more than 15 minutes. Also, make sure to bring your completed and unsigned application form, current IDs, two passport photos, proof of U.S. citizenship, and proof of departure.
Registered Courier Service
In scenarios when you cannot travel to a regional agency, you can hire a private expediting service provider to process your application on your behalf. This option requires presenting the same documentation to the expediter that you have authorized to represent you.
Local Acceptance Agency
By United State’s regulation, only a state, federal, or a local government official can serve as a passport acceptance agent. An acceptance agent receives applications from the public, reviews and ensures all citizenship evidence and necessary information is included, administers the required oath, witnessed the affixing of the applicant’s signatures, and forwards the passport application to the U.S. Department of State’s Services Agency for the issuance of the passport. An acceptance agent also provides the public with general information regarding the passport application procedures and serves as a liaison between the Passport Service Agency and the applicant.
When applying for a new adult or child and a replacement for a damaged, lost, or stolen passport, one most important thing that you need to do is to bring your application form or DS-11 and supporting documents to the nearest acceptance agent in your area for processing. The supporting documents that need to be submitted include the evidence of U.S. citizenship, photocopies of identification, and photo. For a child application, it is required to submit evidence of relationship between the guardians or parents, evidence for sole custody, and a less than 90-days old notarized consent from the parents along with the principal supporting documents.
It is also important to bear in mind that to get your application processed, you need to affix your signature on the application form in front of an acceptance agent who is authorized by the Federal Government. Also, if you are applying for your child’s passport, both parents should also sign the form in front of an acceptance agent.
Acceptance agents can be found in local U.S. post offices, local libraries, county clerk’s offices, and regional passport agencies. It is also required to set an appointment before going to the said offices. Do not forget to bring your completely filled out but unsigned application form along with your supporting credentials during the appointment.
You can also find an acceptance agent near you by simply visiting the facility search page on the U.S. Department of State’s website, under the Travel’s section. This is the easiest and the most efficient way of locating an acceptance agent near you. The page will allow you to search through any of the following methods: by the state, by the zip code, and by the city. After keying in your search information and clicking on the “Search” button, the page will give you a list of the closest acceptance agent in your area.