What Is the Process to Apply for a U.S. Passport?


Quick Answer

First-time applicants who are in the United States and are applying for a U.S. passport must submit a passport application in person at an approved location, explains the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The application form, known as DS-11, is available online and at passport agencies. However, completing and processing the application online is not possible, as of 2015.

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Full Answer

Applicants must provide proof of U.S. citizenship, notes the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Acceptable forms of evidence include a previously issued, fully valid U.S. passport, certified U.S. birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad, naturalization certificate and a certificate of citizenship. It is also necessary to present photo identification with the application. If the identification is from out of the state in which the application is filed, another document is necessary.

An applicant needs to provide a photocopy of the identification document, states the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The photocopy must be on plain white paper with dimensions of 8 1/2 by 11 inches, and needs to include both sides of the identification. It is permissible to increase the size of the image, but it cannot be decreased in size. Passport fees must be paid at the time of application. Amounts vary according to the type of passport being issued.

One passport photo must accompany the application, mentions the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Some acceptance agencies offer passport photography for an additional fee. Among other requirements, the photo must be in color, 2-by-2 inches in size, and taken within the previous six months.

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