General Passport Information

The amount of passport information available to U.S. citizens can be overwhelming. It may even leave you with more passport questions than answers. But since it is a requirement for all international travel, it is important that you understand what is a passport, how to obtain one and how to protect your passport once you receive it. Here you will find key U.S. passport info to help you better understand the passport application process.

Who Needs a Passport?

All U.S. citizens including infants and children need a passport to travel outside of the country.

Where to Get a Passport

Passport applications (where to get a passport) are accepted by mail, at passport acceptance facilities and at passport agencies. To apply by mail, you must submit form DS-82 and supporting passport information, including your current United States passport, a passport photo and the applicable fees to the address on the form. If your name has changed since your last passport was issued, you must also provide documentation of your name change. If you do not have a passport or your passport has been lost, stolen or damaged; your current passport was issued before you turned 16; your passport was issued more than 15 years ago; or your name has changed and you can’t document it, you must apply in person.

When you apply in person at a passport acceptance facility, you must submit form DS-11; proof you are a U.S. citizen; your identification; a photocopy of the front and back of your identification; the applicable fees; and a passport photo.

If you are traveling in less than two weeks, you can apply for your passport in person at a U.S. passport agency. The passport information you must submit will depend on whether you are eligible to apply by mail or required to apply in person.

When you apply for a passport, a passport record containing your application and evidence of U.S. citizenship is created. You can obtain a copy of your passport record by submitting a request to the U.S. Department of State.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport?

It depends. When you apply for your passport by mail or at a passport acceptance facility, you must choose routine or expedited processing. If you choose routine service, it will take approximately four to six weeks to receive your passport. If you choose expedited service, you will receive your passport within two to three weeks. It is important to remember that these processing times are estimates. It can take longer to receive your passport when application volume is high. For additional passport information and to track your U.S. passport status, visit the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Tracking information is available five to seven days after you apply.

Passport Fees

The cost of a new adult passport book is $135, while a renewal costs $110. A new adult passport card costs $55, and a renewal costs $30. If you purchase an adult passport book and card together, the cost is $165 for first time applicants and $140 for renewals. Minor passport books cost $105, and minor passport cards cost $40. If you purchase both, the cost is $120.

Passport Fraud

When you think about the passport information you need to prepare for a trip abroad, passport fraud may not be at the top of the list. But it probably should be. Passport fraud is linked to other crimes, including identity theft, illegal immigration and terrorism, and it is a threat to both your personal security and national security. The FTC estimates that nine million Americans are victims of identity theft every year. If your passport falls into the wrong hands, you could become one of them. The best way to prevent becoming a victim is to protect your passport by keeping it somewhere safe at all times.

Passport Expediting

When you need your passport quickly and you can’t get to a passport agency or don’t want to spend all day standing in line, you can have your application expedited by a professional passport expediting service like “easy service.” Simply send your application and supporting passport information to the expediter, and they will take care of the rest. Professional expediters are registered with the U.S. Department of State to hand carry applications to the U.S. passport agency, so you don’t have to.

In addition, passport expediters are experts in the application process. If you feel like you need a U.S. passport service guide with step-by-step instructions to help you complete your application correctly, an expediting service can help. They will make sure your application is accurate before submitting it to the passport agency, so you don’t experience delays in receiving your passport. If you have urgent travel plans you can get your passport in as little as 24 hours when you work with a passport expediting service.

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