State residents must complete a passport application in Virginia in order to participate in international travel. Passports allow travelers to pass foreign ports of entry by air, land and sea.

They can also function as forms of identification and proof of citizenship. This credential is available as a pocket-sized booklet or as a card. The U.S. Department of State administers and processes passports but your local post office can accept applications.

Passports, both book and car form are REAL ID compliant and can grant you access to military buildings in addition to allowing you to board cruises and flights. The rest of this guide will equip you with all the information you need to apply for, renew or replace a passport book or card.

Where to Get a Passport in Virginia

There two types of US passport locations where you can fill out a passport application: a passport office and a passport agency. The Department of State, which has regional offices throughout the country, is the official passport agency. Currently, there are no passport agencies in Virginia but there are two in Washington, D.C.

Passport agencies only allow applications by appointment. However, applicants must be eligible for an appointment at an agency.

Those who need an expedited passport in less than three weeks are among the applicants who are most eligible. Passport agencies are also able to correct passport errors.

Passport offices are more prevalent and accessible than agencies as there is at least one location in every Virginia city. These offices are the first places you should look when seeking more information about where to get a passport in VA. They can be found in authorized private buildings, public libraries, court houses or post offices.

Some also offer full services including passport acceptance, photos and shipping. Many passport offices accept appointments and walk-ins during certain hours, but are closed on federal holidays.

Virginia Passport Books vs. Cards

As previously stated, passports can come in the form of a passport card or book. Applicants might only need one but they can apply to receive both. When deciding between passport books vs. cards, applicants should consider the usages of both.

Passport cards grant citizens access to cross domestic borders as well as those of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. However, they are restricted to crossing these international borders by sea and land only. Cards are can be used as appropriate documentation to fly within the United States, however. This form of the passport is ideal for applicants who do not plan on flying overseas.

You may now be aware of what a passport card is, but what is a passport book? Passports books are small booklets that contain your identifying information in addition to extra pages for visas and stamps.  Books grant permission to enter other territories and countries through any port of entry including by air. They are exceptionally necessary for individuals planning on traveling internationally. The price of a book is more than the passport card cost given that it is a larger document with more extensive privileges.

How to Get a Passport in Virginia

Passport application begins by submitting a new passport form, an authorized color photo, citizenship and identification evidence and processing fees to an agency or office. Valid proof of citizenship includes a long form birth certificate, original citizenship document or a previously held non-renewable U.S. Passport.

Applicants may obtain the new passport application online but it can only be submitted in person at a passport services facility. Mail-in applications are not permitted.

Children and older minors must apply for their own passport books if they wish to travel. Both parents of minors younger than 16 years of age must accompany the child for their application.

If one parent cannot attend, he or she must fill out, sign and notarize an absent parent form and include a photocopied ID with the child’s application. Minors ages 16 and 17 only need one parent present.

U.S. Passport Renewals in Virginia

To renew a US passport, applicants can send in their renewal application by mail to the Department of State or turn it in to an office in person. You also must turn in your current passport, a new color photo and payment for the application. However, passports that have incurred damage beyond normal wear and tear cannot be renewed.

In that case, residents must apply for a brand new passport. “How much does it cost to renew a passport?” is a question many residents ask. Passport renewals cost less than brand new passports since applicants do not have to pay a processing fee, only the application fee.

How to Replace a Lost Passport in Virginia

There are several instances when an individual would have to obtain a passport replacement. Your local passport office is an essential starting point when finding out how to replace a lost passport in Virginia.

A lost passport or stolen passport must be reported in order to protect your identity. You can do this by filling out a lost passport form.

Then, to replace a lost passport you must form fill out a new passport form, submit all necessary documents and pay the appropriate fees to complete the process of getting a new passport.  A damaged passport follows similar guidelines. To obtain a new passport, you must submit a new passport application along with your damaged passport.

How to Complete a Passport Update in Virginia

Sometimes, a passport update is necessary. Passports can be updated for name changes, sex markers, misprinted information or printing errors.

For name changes, misprinted information and printing errors applicants are not required to pay fees if they are requesting the change within one year of receiving their passport. For sex marker changes, applicants can upgrade their limited-validity passport to full-validity with proper documentation. Passport updates may be completed by mail or submitted in person at a passport office or agency.

Virginia Expedited Passport Service

Virginia offers expedited passport services for those who need or desire a passport sooner than four to six weeks. Expedited services are available for every passport application: new passport, renewal, passport update and replacement.

Applicants are subject to increased US passport fees for an expedited service. Passport processing can be decreased from four to six week to two to three weeks or even one to two days depending on circumstances.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.