How do you apply for a U.S. passport?


Quick Answer

First time U.S. Passport applicants must apply in person, complete and submit Form DS-11, show proof of U.S. citizenship and other identification, such as a driver's license and provide a photocopy of the identification documents to be submitted. Applicants must also pay the application fee and provide a passport photo.

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How do you apply for a U.S. passport?
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Full Answer

Form DS-11 is a printable pdf file. It may be printed out as is and filled out by hand, or filled in online and then printed when complete. All requested information must be provided including a Social Security Number, or the application may be delayed or denied. The form must be signed at the passport office, in front of the processing agent.

Acceptable proofs of citizenship include an expired passport or an original certified U.S. birth certificate issued by the city, county or state of birth with parental information, registrar's signature and an embossed seal. Other options include a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship.

Passport photos have strict requirements and it is best to get them professionally done. The photos must be in color, printed on matte or glossy paper, measure 2 inches by 2 inches and the head must measure between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the chin to the top of the head. The photo must not be more than six months old. Hats, glasses or other items that block the face are prohibited.

Once documents have been gathered and presented, applicants must pay a fee. The amount is determined by the type of passport wanted, age and how the passport will be delivered. Cash, credit cards, checks, debit cards and money orders are accepted, depending on where the application is made.

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