US Passport

Beginner’s Guide for Obtaining a US Passport

A US passport is a federal document. If you plan on traveling outside of the United States, you need to have this credential with you. Whether you have a passport card or book, this document proves that you are a U.S. citizen when you are abroad. It also allows you to legally reenter the United States when you finish your trip.

If you are wondering, “How do I get a passport?” keep in mind that there are procedures you must follow. These relate to the US passport application you need to submit and the documents you must include with your application. While these requirements may seem confusing, they are simple to follow. With a little preparation, you can easily obtain your travel documents before your international trip.

Should I apply for a US passport card or book?

At the passport office, there are two different documents you can obtain. The first is a standard passport book. This is the more well-known of the documents because it is the one you need for any international air travel. You can also use this document if you want to travel by sea or land. Additionally, you are required to use this document if you plan on traveling to other continents. However, you can apply for a passport card if you only want to travel by land or sea to:

  • Mexico.
  • Canada.
  • Bermuda.
  • Caribbean islands.

Where to Get a Passport

It is important that you understand where to apply for a passport. Generally, there are two main locations you can visit to apply for your travel document. The first is at a passport office. These facilities are located throughout the country. If you are wondering, “How do I find a passport office near me?” begin your search at a post office. Usually, these facilities serve as certified passport acceptance centers.

In some instances, you may be required to apply at a passport agency. However, not everyone is qualified to use one of these facilities. In order to submit your application at an agency, you need to have immediate travel plans. Generally, this means that you have a family emergency abroad or you have a plane ticket or international cruise that leaves in less than two weeks. If you meet these criteria, you can apply at an agency.

How to Apply for a Passport in the United States

When you are learning how to get a passport, make sure you understand the document you need to use. In most instances, you will need to apply using application form DS-11. You can either download a copy of this document online or obtain one at your local passport office. You cannot apply for your first passport online. In addition to this form, you must also provide:

  • Proof that you are a U.S. citizen.
  • Your state or federally-issued ID.
  • Payment for your passport services.
  • Colored passport photos.

How much is a passport?

Your passport cost is based on different factors. For example, keep in mind that a passport for kids is cheaper than a passport for adults. Furthermore, if you are a new passport application, you will need to pay a $35 acceptance fee. Additionally, remember that US passport fees vary depending on the type of document you are applying for. Therefore, if you are wondering, “How much does a passport cost?” keep the following figures in mind:

  • An adult passport book costs $110.
  • An adult passport card costs $30.
  • A child passport book costs $80.
  • A child passport card costs $15.

How long does it take to get a passport?

After you apply for a US passport, you need to wait for the document to be processed. Usually, this takes between four and six weeks. However, if you need your document in a hurry, you can pay an expedited passport fee. With this service, you can receive your credential in as few as two to three weeks. If you want to have your passport expedited, you must pay an additional $60.

How long is a passport good for?

Generally, an adult U.S. passport is valid for 10 years. A child passport is valid for five years.