How to Get a Passport
When submitting a passport application, it is important to familiarize yourself with the documentation that you will need to submit alongside of your application. Furthermore, you should be aware of the eligibility requirements that are federally regulated. A passport card or book will be required when traveling outside of the United States. However, the card can only be used to travel to certain locations. After October of 2020, you will be required to have a passport to travel within the U.S unless you have obtained a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card from your state.
If you need an expedited passport application, it is important to know where these applications can be submitted, the additional fees that you must pay and the eligibility requirements set for different expedite time frames. For more specific information on passports, go to your state’s page below:
Select a state to begin:
How to Get a Passport in Virginia.Get Started
Not in Virginia?
Select your state to begin:
Where to Get a Passport
If you want to submit a passport application, it is important to be aware of the different agencies that will allow you to complete an application for a passport in the United States. However, it is worth knowing that where you are eligible to apply will depend largely on how soon you need the passport.
If you need a passport card or book right away and you qualify for an expedited service that will allow you to obtain a passport within three weeks, you will be limited to passport agencies or centers. These locations are limited throughout the U.S and some states may only have a handful of locations throughout the state.
However, if you are applying for an expedited passport that you can expect in less than four to six weeks or if you do not need your application to be expedited, you will likely have a variety of locations within your area that will accept your application. No matter the state that you live within, you can apply for a passport at your local U.S postal service location. Additionally, your state may provide additional locations where you can apply, such as with a county recorder office or county circuit court location. Therefore, it is recommended that you review the locations that are available in the state that you live within.
If you are have a lost passport, your replacement must be requested from one of the above locations, depending on how soon you need the passport. However, if a passport replacement is needed, it is important to learn more about lost, stolen and damaged passports in the appropriate section below.
Passport Books vs. Cards
If you are wondering, “What is a passport book and how does it differ from the card?” then it is important to learn about the differences between books and cards before submitting an application in order to ensure that you are applying for the appropriate document.
A passport book permits international travel outside of the United States. The card works in a similar fashion. However, the card will only allow you to travel by land or sea to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. If you intend to travel outside of one of these locations, it is important to apply for a book rather than a card.
The passport card cost is less than that of the book. It is also smaller, about the size of a credit card, so it can generally fit within any sized wallet. If you do not intend to use your passport for international air travel, you may want to consider applying for a card rather than a book.
Steps to Apply for a Passport
Before submitting a passport application, it is important that you review the eligibility requirements that must be met before you can obtain a passport. To obtain a U.S passport, you must be a citizen of the United States. Furthermore, a passport is required of individuals of any age who wish to travel internationally.
You must apply for a passport card or book in person. However, the process is the same for each type of passport. You must generally make an appointment in order to apply for a passport. However, if you are not requesting an expedited process, some locations may not require an appointment. To save time at your appointment, you have the option of completing an application online, printing your completed form and bringing it with you to your appointment. However, you cannot sign the application before you appointment.
In addition to your passport application, you must be able to provide the following:
- An original proof of citizenship document.
- A photo ID that is acceptable, such as a state identification card or driver’s license.
- A passport photo that meets photo requirements.
- Your payment for your passport.
Your passport could take up to six weeks to be mailed to you, depending on whether or not your application is being expedited.
U.S Passport Renewals
Most passport cards and books can be renewed. However, if you do not meet renewal eligibility requirements, you must apply for a new passport. You will not be eligible to renew a passport if:
- Your passport was issued prior to your 16th
- Your passport was issued 15 or more years ago.
- Your passport is damaged, lost or stolen.
- Your legal name has changed and you do not have a legal document that provides proof of your legal name change.
When submitting your renewal passport application, it is worth knowing that you may be eligible for expedited renewals for an additional fee. However, if you need a passport in less than three weeks, you will only be able to renew in person. If you need your passport within three weeks or more, you can submit your application by mail or in person. To renew your passport, you must complete and application and submit the application along with:
- A new passport photo that meats passport photo requirements.
- Your most recent passport.
- Your payment for the renewal.
- If your name has been changed, you will need to include a legal document that supports your name change.
How to Replace a Lost Passport
In the event of a stolen passport or one that has been lost, it is important that you report the stolen or lost card or book immediately in order to protect yourself from potential identity theft. Once a report has been made, your current passport will become invalid and cannot be used for international travel. You can report a lost passport online, by mail or by phone.
If you have a damaged passport, the passport will become invalid and you will need to request a new one. You do not need to report a passport that has been damaged.
Getting a new passport is a simple process, but one that may take time, unless you need to have the process expedited. You can make an appointment and request a replacement at any passport acceptance facility or passport agency or center. You must complete a lost passport form and pay the appropriate fee for the new passport. Generally, routine replacements will take between four to six weeks while expedited services are generally two to three weeks.
If you experience a lost passport while you are outside of the United States, you must visit the nearest U.S embassy or consulate to obtain a replacement.
How to Complete a Passport Update
Perform a passport update if you experience a change to your information or if you receive a passport that has any incorrect information.
Name changes can be submitted mail by submitting the appropriate application, your current U.S passport and an original or certified name change document such as marriage certificate, court order or divorce certificate. You must also include a new passport photo.
If your passport card or booklet has a printing or data error, you will need to submit an appropriate application to have the data changed. You must submit your application by mail along with your current passport, a passport photo and evidence of the error.
Expedited Passport Service
Certain US Passport locations will permit expedited services should you need your passport sooner. Expedited services are available for initial passports, renewals and replacement requests. There are three types of expedited services, as follows:
- Obtaining a passport immediately. This can only be done in the event of a life or death emergency and locations in which you may obtain a passport right away will be limited.
- Obtain a passport in less than three weeks. This is an expedited service reserved for urgent international travel plans and will only be available to you if you intend to travel within the next couple of weeks. This request can only be handled by a passport agency or center and you must present proof of your travel.
- Standard expedited services. No reason is needed and you can expect to receive a passport in four to six weeks.
If you are wondering, “How much does it cost to renew your passport through an expedited service?” it is important to know that there will be an additional fee for the expedited service and that the exact amount will depend on whether or not you are renewing a card or book. Therefore, by reviewing US passport fees, you can ensure that you include the appropriate amount in your application.