First-time applicants for a U.S. passport must submit their application in person at a Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility. Persons seeking to renew a passport must also apply in person if any of the following are true: they are under the age of 16, their previous passport card or book was issued when they were younger than 16, their passport was lost/damaged/stolen or was obtained more than 15 years ago. Likewise, travelers whose names have changed since the issue date of their previous U.S. passport must apply in person if that name change cannot be legally documented. These rules apply to persons applying for either a passport book or a passport card. The passport card, which was introduced in 2008, is a wallet-size alternative to a passport book. It is less expensive than a passport book, but can't be used for international air travel. Travelers can use a passport card to visit the Caribbean
, Bermuda, Canada
. According to the U.S. Department of State, in-person applicants for passport cards and books should bring all the following documents to the passport facility.
Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport
Form DS-11 must be completed and submitted with the application. You can fill out and print an online DS-11 form on the U.S. Department of State website. A blank form can also be filled out by hand. Blank forms are available on the website or can be obtained at a Passport Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. Forms should be printed or filled out with black ink, and all information must be legible. Fill the form out in its entirety, but do not sign until instructed by a passport agent to do so. You must also present your social security number when submitting DS-11 to an agent.
Evidence of Citizenship
Along with DS-11, evidence of citizenship must be included in the passport application. Whichever document you choose to submit is returned to you along with your new passport. Agents accept any of the following documents as proof of U.S. citizenship: a previously issued passport, birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship.
While you don't need to submit current identification with your application, agents will ask you to present it. They accept the following forms of primary identification: a previously issued passport, a naturalization certificate, a driver's license, a government or military ID.
You must pay an application fee and an execution fee when submitting a passport application. The application fee goes to the Department of State while the execution fee goes to the facility where you are submitting the application. For persons 16 years and older, the application fee is $75 for a passport book and $20 for a passport card. For applicants under the age of 16, passport books require a $60 fee and passport cards require a $10 fee. Make the check payable to the Department of State. The execution fee, which amounts to $25 in all cases, should be given to the agent at the time of the application.
Two Passport-size Photographs
Bring along two identical 2 x 2 inch passport photos. All photos should be clear, in color and taken within the previous six months. They should display your full face and be set against a white background. Pose for photos in your normal attire. For example, if you wear glasses or a wig on a usual basis, wear it in the photograph. Passport photos can be purchased at many convenience stores and pharmacies. AAA members can obtain them at their local AAA office.
Alyssa Owens is a travel writer with experience as a columnist and reporter. She regularly contributes to community newspapers and online outlets. Owens earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Penn State University.