If you’re a Massachusetts resident planning on traveling abroad, remember to complete the passport application process first. Getting a new passport can take several weeks, which means you should begin early.

A passport is required for all international travel. It serves a travel document proving your U.S. citizenship and residency. Without it, countries will not allow you to enter.

Your US passport card and/or book gives you access to more than 170 countries throughout the planet. Therefore, obtaining a passport before you travel abroad should be your first priority. To obtain a passport in Massachusetts, you must submit your documents to a Massachusetts passport acceptance facility.

The sections below describe how to obtain a passport and the difference between a book and card. They also describe how to get a replacement, how to renew a passport, how to update one and how to get an expedited passport.

Where to Get a Passport in Massachusetts

You can submit your passport application at multiple agencies and offices throughout Massachusetts. The best place to submit your application depends on your needs. If you are completing the regular application process, you can submit your passport application at an acceptance facility.

Acceptance facilities are located throughout the state. Facilities may include United States Post Offices, town or county clerk’s offices, public libraries and more. You can find a list of the nearest passport acceptance facilities on the United States Department of State (DOS) website.

If you need to get your US passport expedited quickly, you may be eligible to submit your application at a passport agency. There is one passport agency in Massachusetts, and it is located in Boston.

The agency can process your application faster, so you can receive your passport in as little as two weeks. However, this requires approval and an appointment. Not everyone is eligible for an expedited passport application.

Massachusetts Passport Books vs. Cards

When applying for a passport, applicants must specify whether they want a passport card or a passport book. Applicants may wonder “What is a passport card, what is a passport book and why do they exist?” There is a distinct difference between the two, and applicants should clarify which they want before submitting their application.

A passport book is the traditional passport seen in most airports. This book contains multiple pages, including space for visa stamps. It usually has a blue cover with gold lettering identifying it as a US passport.

This passport enables holders to travel to the more than 170 countries than accept an American passport. However, a passport card is a single card containing a traveler’s photo and identifying information. It does not contain pages or a cover.

Unlike the passport book, the card is only accepted for land and sea travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. A passport card costs less than a passport book, but has much greater restrictions on its use.

How to Get a Passport in Massachusetts

In order to request a US passport, you must meet all the eligibility requirements and supply all the necessary documents. You must be a US citizen to apply for a passport.

Additionally, you have to apply in person to receive a new passport. If you’re interested in getting a new passport, submit the following documents:

  • Application for a US Passport
  • Evidence of US citizenship
  • Photocopy of US citizenship evidence
  • Identification document
  • Photocopy of identification document
  • Passport photo

You can find a list of acceptable proofs of citizenship and identity on the DOS website. In addition to the documents, you must also pay the necessary passport fees. Fees depend on your age and what kind of passport you are requesting.

There is an application fee and an execution fee, both paid separately. A passport card will cost less than a passport book.

Bring your passport application to a Massachusetts passport acceptance facility and submit it. You will receive your passport in the mail within several weeks of submitting the application.

You can get a US passport at any age. However, a passport for minors will have different rules and expiration dates than a passport for adults. For instance, a minor’s passport cannot be renewed and expires in five years, while an adult’s expires in 10.

U.S. Passport Renewals in Massachusetts

You can easily renew a US passport by mail if your current passport is close to its expiration date. You should renew your passport at least six months prior to its expiration date. This is because many countries will deny you entry if your passport is close to expiration.

However, you cannot renew a passport issued to children. You must apply for a new passport if your current passport was issued while you were younger than 16 years of age. Only adult passports can be renewed.

To renew your US passport, first check on the DOS website to see if you are eligible for renewal. Limitations on renewing exist based on the state of your ID and how long ago your passport was issued. Gather the following documents:

  • Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals
  • Your most recent US passport
  • Name change documents, if applicable
  • Passport photo

How much does it cost to renew your passport? Unlike purchasing a new passport, you only have one fee: the application fee. It is cheaper to renew your passport than get a new one.

Mail your application to the address printed on the application form. You will receive your renewed passport within one to two months in the mail.

You can renew your US passport as long as it is less than five years expired. Passports issued 15 or more years ago cannot be renewed. If your last passport was issued more than 15 years ago, you must apply for a new passport rather than renew it.

How to Replace a Lost Passport in Massachusetts

If you have a lost passport, you should take steps to report it immediately. The DOS will not issue more than one passport at a time to somebody. Therefore, they require notice regarding a missing or stolen passport before they will issue another.

Additionally, if you have a damaged passport, you should also complete the process to obtain a new passport. A damaged document will not be accepted in most airports, particularly if the damage affects the biometric chip or first page.

To replace a lost passport or one that is stolen, submit the form titled “Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen US Passport Book and/or Card.” You do not have to request a new passport to report it. However, you must submit a lost passport form in order to obtain a new one.

To obtain a new passport after losing yours, submit a new application along with a statement regarding the loss. If your passport was damaged, instead submit a signed letter describing the damage. Submit the following documents to the DOS:

  • Application for a US Passport
  • Statement Reading A Lost or Stolen US Passport OR Signed letter describing passport damage
  • Evidence of US citizenship
  • Photocopy of US citizenship evidence
  • Identification document
  • Photocopy of identification document
  • Passport photo
  • Your damaged passport, if applicable

Bring your application, along with any necessary fees, to an acceptance facility and submit it. Inform the passport acceptance agent that you are requesting a new passport to replace a missing or damaged document. You will receive your new passport in the mail in a few weeks.

If your passport is stolen, you do not have to file a police report to report it to the DOS. The DOS encourages you to report your missing passport as soon as you discover it is gone. This is because your US passport can be used for identity fraud.

A passport reported missing will automatically be rendered invalid, and will therefore fail biometric scans. Additionally, the DOS requires you to mail in damaged passports rather than discard them for the same reason.

How to Complete a Passport Update in Massachusetts

If your passport has outdated or incorrect information on it, you can request a passport update. You may have gone through a name change correct details such as your gender or place of birth.

The process for updating your US passport depends on what information you need to update and why. It also depends on how recently your passport was issued.

If you wish to change your passport name within a year of receiving a passport, submit the Application for a US Passport – Corrections. Include your most recently issued passport, any legal documents proving your change of name and a passport photo. You will not have to pay additional fees to make the request.

If you are changing your name more than a year after receiving your US passport, you should apply for a renewed passport instead. Note on your MA passport application that you are submitting change of name documents, and be sure to include the documents with your mailed-in application. You will have to pay standard US passport renewal fees to complete the change of name.

If you received your passport more than a year ago, want to change your name and are not eligible for a passport renewal, you must apply anew. Submit the Application for a US Passport, all required documents including your name change documents and necessary fees. Bring them to a Massachusetts passport acceptance facility and apply in person.

If you already have ID reflecting your change of name, you can simply apply for a new passport with your new legal name. If you want to apply for a US passport with a new name change but cannot document the change, you will have to complete the regular first-time application process.

Additionally, you may have to submit the Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name if your new name is significantly different. Read the instructions on the affidavit carefully. You will need two people who know you to complete the form.

Not all passport updates are for changes of name as your passport may have factual errors or misprints in it. If that is the case, you can complete the Application for a US Passport – Corrections form.

Submit the form along with your passport, a photo and proof of the error. You will receive a new passport in the mail for free.

Massachusetts Expedited Passport Service

You may be in a situation where you cannot wait to receive a passport. The standard passport application processing time is four to six weeks. If you need a passport in three weeks or less, there are options to expedite the process.

You can get your US passport expedited for an additional fee. You can request to have your application expedited when you apply by paying the additional fee and noting it on your application. If you want a passport renewal expedited, mark the envelope with ‘expedite’ and include the fee in your payment.

If you need a US passport expedited for travel in less than three weeks, contact the Boston Passport Agency. Make an in-person appointment at the agency and explain your situation. Then, come to the scheduled appointment with all the documents and fees required to apply for a passport.

You will meet with an agent in person to submit your US passport application. After meeting with the agent and paying fees, wait to receive your passport in the mail. You should receive it within two weeks.

Additionally, if you have a life-or-death emergency, you may be able to get your US passport expedited even faster. A life-or-death emergency means a family member is seriously ill or injured, dying or dead. In such cases, you can receive a passport in as little as 72 hours.

Contact the Department of State to set up an appointment at the Boston Passport Agency. Bring all necessary passport application documents to the meeting.  You will also be required to provide proof of an emergency.

This can include a death certificate (with a certified translation, if necessary), a mortuary statement or a letter from a hospital. Once you submit your application, the State Department will approve and print your US passport as quickly as possible.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.