Passports in North Carolina
Submitting your NC passport application is an important step in your travel preparations. In order to travel to most international destinations, you must present a valid passport. Otherwise, you can be denied entry to certain countries, including the United States.
Depending on your needs, you can apply for a passport card or book through the same application process. However, you must account for the processing time to make sure you receive the document before your trip.
Fortunately, expedited passport services are available to speed up the process for an additional cost. Whether you choose this option or traditional processing, you must submit certain documents to complete your application.
If you already have your passport, make sure it is up-to-date and not close to expiration. With the guidelines provided below, you can find out how to fulfill all of your passport needs.
Where to Get a Passport in North Carolina
The easiest way to submit your NC passport application is to visit a local acceptance facility. In fact, you are required to apply in person if any of the following are true:
- This is your first time applying
- Your current passport is more than 15 years old
- Your passport was issued when you were 16 or younger
- You are replacing a damaged or lost passport
Acceptance facilities are locations designated by the US Department of State to accept applications. Examples of such facilities include county clerk offices, universities and post offices.
Once an agent has approved your application, it is forwarded to the Department of State for the final processing stage. In general, processing is completed in four to six weeks.
To get your document faster, it is possible to apply for expedited processing. While acceptance facilities can assist you with this, passport agencies are capable of processing your application in less than two weeks. You can learn more about this service in a later section.
North Carolina Passport Books vs Cards
When it comes to applying for a passport, you have two options to choose from. You can apply to obtain the book format or the card format. Additionally, you can apply for both at the same time, for your convenience. Since the price and use of these options differs, it is important to compare them before making your decision.
What is a passport book?
The book option is the most common format for a passport. This is because it provides the most flexibility for your needs. Passport books are accepted for all types of international travel, including air, land and sea.
What is a passport card?
A passport card is also used for international travel, but on a more limited basis. The cards are only accepted at sea ports and US border crossings, and not for international flights. Concerning passport card cost, this option is more affordable than the book.
Due to these differences, it is important to weigh your budget with your travel plans to determine which format you need. Fortunately, the application requirements are the same for both. You can learn about the process to apply below.
How to Get a Passport in North Carolina
There are only a few steps involved in the application process for passports. As long as you submit all of the necessary documents, you can expect to receive your passport within four to six weeks. To begin the process of getting a new passport, bring the following with you to an acceptance facility:
- A completed application. Wait to sign the document until you are with a representative.
- An approved passport photo. If photo services are not offered at the passport acceptance facility, you must have your photo taken at a private photo center.
- Proof of citizenship and a valid photo ID. Make sure to bring originals or certified copies along with photocopies of both documents.
- Fee payments. Fees include the processing fee and the application fee. The latter must be paid with a check or money order made out to the US Department of State.
- Proof of parental awareness or consent. Applications for children younger than 16 require the parents and child to be present.
If you already have a passport, it is important to stay on top of renewal and replacement needs. Passport replacement involves a similar application process, but involves and additional step. Similarly, to renew you must meet certain qualifications.
US Passport Renewals in North Carolina
It is necessary to renew US passport documents periodically, since most passports are only valid for 10 years. However, you are only eligible for US passport renewal by mail if you have an adult passport that is undamaged and less than 15 years old. Otherwise, you must apply for a new passport at an acceptance facility. If you are eligible to renew, follow these simple procedures:
- Gather your documents. You must submit your current, intact passport and an application. If you require a name change, you must also provide your certified name change documents.
- Provide a new photo.
- Address your application. You must mail your NC passport renewal application to the National Passport Processing Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Once your application and documents are ready, you must determine “How much does it cost to renew your passport?” In most cases, renewal costs the same as your initial passport. Exceptions to this include when you select expedited processing or one to two day shipping, which involve additional charges.
How to Replace a Lost Passport in North Carolina
A missing or damaged passport cannot be used to travel or as a form of valid identification. As a result, it is important that you apply to replace your document as necessary. To do this, simply follow the procedures required to get a new passport.
However, you also need to report a lost or stolen passport to the proper authorities. You must contact the US Department of State about your missing passport so it can be made invalid in the system. Otherwise, it is possible for someone to steal your identity.
When you report the document, you also submit a lost passport form. You can fill this form out and submit it either online, by mail or in person.
If you choose to do so in person, it is a good idea to call ahead and report the missing document first. Once the old passport is reported and rendered invalid, you must apply for your new passport document in person.
How to Complete a Passport Update in North Carolina
It is a good idea to keep your passport up-to-date so it is ready when you need it. Your passport document must reflect your current name and identification info in order to remain valid.
The requirements to update a passport depend on the reason for the update. In general, you must submit your current passport, a new photo, a supporting document and the fee payment with your application in order to qualify. Supporting documents include items like:
- A name change certificate or amended NC driver’s license.
- A medical certification that is signed by your physician.
- A document proving that an error was made, such as your birth certificate.
All documents submitted must be originals or certified copies. Then, you must choose the method of submission. For example, name changes and corrections can be submitted by mail.
If you want to change the sex marker on your passport, you must visit one of the US passport locations in person. This is also necessary if you are unable to mail your current passport in for a name change or correction.
North Carolina Expedited Passport Service
With routine processing, you can expect to receive your passport documents in the mail within four to six weeks of submission. Alternatively, you can opt for expedited processing on your application in order to receive your documents sooner.
When you apply for this service at a passport acceptance facility, your documents can arrive in under four weeks. Expedited processing is also available for renewals if you simply write “expedite” on the outside of your application envelope.
If you still need your documents sooner than that, there is an additional option. Expedited applications submitted through a passport agency can speed up processing to less than two weeks. However, you must make an appointment at an agency within two weeks of your trip for this service.
Keep in mind that the closest locations are in Washington, DC. At your appointment, you are required to present your application along with proof of your travel plans. It is also important to note that US passport fees are higher for expedited shipping. Make sure to take this into account when writing your check or money order.