What Are the Requirements for Getting a U.S. Passport?


Quick Answer

To obtain a U.S. passport for the first time, applicants submit form DS-11 along with the fee, a valid photo ID and proof of citizenship. An up-to-date photo that adheres to all size, material and camera-view specifications is also required, and first-time applicants must deliver all documents in person.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, the printable DS-11 form is available on the U.S. Passports & International Travel website. Applicants are instructed to leave the form unsigned until they meet with an agent. When applying for a minor under age 16, both parents are required to attend the meeting in person, or the absent parent must submit a consent form. The U.S. Department of State recommends visiting a passport photo service to make sure all photo requirements are met, but applicants have the option of taking their own photos.

A certified U.S. birth certificate is the most common form of proof of citizenship, but applicants born in other countries may need alternative documentation, such as a naturalization certificate or a consular report confirming they were born to U.S. citizens living abroad. For identification, agencies generally accept a driver's license, naturalization certificate, military ID or government ID. Individuals who can't produce enough primary identification may have secondary options, such as an identifying witness or Social Security card. Applicants also submit photocopies of all identification documents.

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