Who Needs a Passport?

If you’re planning your next vacation and you’re thinking about going somewhere a little more exotic than usual, you may be wondering who needs a passport. The short answer is everyone. All U.S. citizens need a passport to leave and re-enter the United States. If you’re traveling outside of the United States, make sure you have a valid passport before you go or you could be denied entry into a foreign country or re-entry into the United States. Although everyone needs a passport to travel abroad, the requirements for obtaining one differ based on a variety of factors including the applicant’s age, whether or not they have ever had a passport before and the condition of their current passport (if they have one). Below you will find additional passport information to help you prepare for a trip abroad.

Adult Passports

There are several ways an adult who needs a passport can apply for one. Adults who have previously been issued a passport can usually renew their passport by mail using form DS-82: Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail and providing their most recent passport, a passport photo, the applicable fees and legal documentation of a name change (if required). Adults who are applying for their first passport or who are not eligible to renew their existing passport by mail must apply in person at a passport acceptance facility or passport agency. Adults who apply in person are required to complete form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport and submit it with proof of U.S. citizenship, a valid form of identification, a photocopy of the front and back of the identification document(s), the applicable fees and a passport photo.

Minor Passports

A minor under the age of 16 (including infants) who needs a passport must always apply in person even if he/she has previously been issued a passport. Like adults who are required to apply in person, minors must submit from DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport, evidence of U.S. citizenship, the applicable fees and a passport photo. In addition to these requirements, minors must appear with both of their parents or legal guardians at the time of application, where both parents/guardians will be required to provide their consent for the issuance of the minor’s passport. Both parents/guardians must also provide evidence of their relationship to the minor and submit valid forms of identification as well as copies of the front and back of their identification documents.

If a minor who needs a passport is 16 or 17 years old he/she should follow the process required for adults who are applying for their first passport, even if the minor was previously issued a passport. However, the minor must also show parental consent, and if he/she does not have a valid ID, a parent or guardian can show their ID during the application process, so the minor’s application can be processed. For additional information about the requirements for minor passports and exceptions to these requirements, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Processing a Passport Application

Individuals applying for a passport by mail or at a passport acceptance facility have the option to choose either routine or expedited processing. This applies to both adult passports and minor passports. According to the U.S. Government, when an individual who needs a passport chooses routine processing, it takes approximately four to six weeks for them to receive their passports, while individuals who choose expediting processing receive their passports in two to three weeks. However, it can take longer for passports to be issued, particularly during peak application times throughout the year. U.S. citizens who apply at a regional passport agency usually get their passports the same day they apply, although there are no guarantees.

Get Your Passport Faster

If you can’t wait the two to six weeks it will take for the government to process your application and you can’t get to a passport agency before your trip, there is another way you can get your passport fast. Anyone who needs a passport quickly can work with a professional passport expediting service like “easy service” to get their passport in as little as 24 hours. When you work with a professional expediter, they will hand deliver your application to the U.S. Passport Agency, so you can be sure you will have your passport in time for your trip. When your passport has been issued, a representative from the expediting service will pick it up from the passport agency and overnight it to you. You don’t have to deal with the bureaucratic red tape that comes with applying for a passport and you don’t have to worry that you won’t get your passport before you are scheduled to leave.

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