Frequently Asked Passport Questions

If you don’t travel abroad on a regular basis, you probably have a lot of passport questions. Having a current, valid passport is essential if you want to travel outside of the United States, but the application process can leave many applicants with a long list of questions. Here you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about passports.

Who needs a passport?

Anyone who is traveling outside of the United States needs a passport, including infants and children.

Where can I apply for a passport?

There are three ways you can apply for a passport:

  • By mail.
  • You are eligible to apply by mail only if you were previously issued a passport when you were age 16 or older, and your passport is less than 15 years old. If your name has changed since your last passport was issued, you must be able to legally document your name change. In addition, your passport cannot be damaged, and you must be able to submit it with your application. In their list of passport questions, people often ask if they can apply by mail if they can’t submit their passport with their application. The answer is no. At a passport acceptance facility. If you are applying for your first passport or you are not eligible to apply by mail, you must apply in person at a passport acceptance facility.
  • At a passport agency.
  • There are 24/25 regional passport agencies throughout the United States. If you need your passport to travel in less than two weeks or you your passport within four weeks to get a visa, you can apply in person at a passport acceptance agency. However, applications are taken by appointment only, so be sure to call in advance to schedule your appointment.

    What forms do I need to submit with my application?

    This is one of the most common passport questions people ask. The information you need to submit with your application depends on a number of factors including your age, whether or not you currently have a passport, the condition of your existing passport and several others. In general, you will be required to provide some combination of the following items: an application form, a passport photo, the appropriate fees, proof of U.S. citizenship, a valid form of identification and a photocopy of the front and back of your identification. For additional passport information including requirements for minor passports, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

    How long does it take to get a passport?

    As passport questions go, this is probably the one that has applicants losing the most sleep. When you apply for your passport through the mail or at a passport acceptance facility, you will be asked to choose routine or expedited processing. If you choose routine service, it will take four to six weeks to receive your passport. If you choose expedited service through the U.S. government, you will receive your passport in two to three weeks. When you apply at a passport agency, your passport will usually be issued the same day you apply

    What is a passport card?

    Passport questions about the passport card have increased in frequency since the government introduced the card in 2008. The passport card is an alternative to the passport book that lets U.S. citizens travel between the United States and Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean by land or sea. It cannot be used to travel by air to and from any of these locations; and it cannot be used to travel to any other destination in the world regardless of the method of transportation. The passport card is about the size of a credit card, and it is more convenient and less expensive than a traditional passport book.

    How much does a passport cost?

    The fees associated with obtaining a passport depend on the type of passport for which you are applying. The answers to these passport questions will directly affect your wallet. If you are an adult, applying for a passport for the first time, the cost of a passport card is $55, while the cost of a passport book is $135. If you are applying for both, the cost is $165. If you are an adult renewing your existing passport, the cost of a card is $30, while the cost of a book is $110. If you are applying for both, the renewal fee is $140. The cost of a minor passport card is $40, while the cost of a minor passport book is $105. The cost for both a minor passport card and book is $120.

    How long is a passport valid?

    This is one of those passport questions you should know the answer to before you schedule your next trip. If you were 16 or older when your passport was issued, it is good for 10 years. If you were younger than 16 when your passport was issued, it is good for five years.

    How can I expedite my passport application?

    If you are in a hurry and need to get your passport quickly, a professional passport expediting service like “easy service” can help. Professional expediters are licensed by the U.S. Department of State to hand carry passport applications to the U.S. Passport Agency for processing. When you work with a professional expediter, they will submit your application for you, pick up your passport when it is ready and overnight it to you. An expediting service can get your passport within 24 hours to two weeks.

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