How do I apply in person for a new U.S. Passport?

Put together the required information and documents.

To apply for a U.S. passport, you will need ALL of the following types of documents: (1) Social Security Number, (2) proof of citizenship or naturalization, (3) photo ID, and (4) proof that you are off probation or parole. Here are more details about each of these 4 documents:[217]

    Social Security Number (SSN) — You must provide your 9-digit SSN, if you have one (but you don’t need to show your actual Social Security card).[218] (See PG. 37 for information on how to request an original SSN or a replacement Social Security card).[219] If you don’t have a SSN, you might still be able to get a U.S. passport. You have the option of entering zeros on the application instead, but this will delay the processing of your application and may be used as a reason to deny it.
    Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization — You can use any ONE of the following documents as primary evidence of citizenship:
    An authorized birth certificate (see PG. 30 for how to get one);
    A previous U.S. passport (can be expired, but must be undamaged);
    A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (see PG. 35 for how to get one); OR
    A Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship (see PG. 36 for how to get one).[220]

If you don’t have any of the above, you must provide secondary evidence of citizenship[221] such as:

    A delayed birth certificate (one that was filed more than 1 year after birth);
    A combination of early public records (any records showing your name, birthdate, and birthplace, preferably created in the first 5 years of your life, for example, hospital/doctor records, early school records, religious records, or census records).[222]

For this category (“Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization”), you will have to submit the ORIGINAL documents with your application. They will all be mailed back to you.

    Photo ID — You can use any ONE of these documents as a primary ID:
    Valid, current driver license from the state where you now live;
    U.S. passport (must be undamaged, and must have been issued less than 15 years ago);
    Certificate of Naturalization;
    Valid city, state, or federal government ID (such as a California state ID; see PG. 42 for how to get one); OR
    Valid military ID.[223]

If you don’t have any of the above, you must provide a COMBINATION of secondary ID documents that have your name, photo, and signature. Bring all the documents you have. Examples of secondary ID documents include:

    Expired driver license;
    Driver license from a state where you no longer live;
    Expired state ID card;
    Student ID card; and
    Employee ID card from your workplace.[224]

The original ID documents in this category don't need to be sent in with your application, but copies do. Bring the original ID document(s) to show in person when you apply, plus a copy of each ID document to submit with your form.

    Proof that you’re no longer on probation, parole, or any other community supervision (for people with certain drug trafficking[225] or sex trafficking convictions[226]), OR a letter from your supervising officer to the passport agency allowing you to apply for a U.S. passport.
    IF YOU’RE NO LONGER UNDER COMMUNITY SUPERVISION SUCH AS PROBATION OR PAROLE, you may apply for a U.S. passport so long as you meet all other eligibility requirements (see the full list of eligibility requirements on PG. 60 above)
    IF YOU’RE STILL UNDER COMMUNITY SUPERVISION SUCH AS PROBATION OR PAROLE — and you are allowed to leave the country the passport agency may allow you to get a U.S. passport if you provide a letter from your supervising officer supporting your application (for more information about getting permission from your supervising officer, see the pop-out box on PG. 60 above).

Obtain and Complete the Application (Form DS-11).

This form is available at any Passport Office, and also may be available from some Passport Acceptance Facilities. You can go on the Internet from any computer and download the form on one of these websites: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/212239.pdf or https://pptform.state.gov. You may also contact the Department of State and have the form mailed to you (although this takes the longest). You can call the Department of State at 1-212-647-4000, or write to:

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520.

IMPORTANT: Do not sign the form at home. You must sign it in front of a passport agent. If you fill out the form at home, wait until the agent asks you to sign it at the passport office.

Get a passport photo taken and pay for 2 copies.[227]

You must provide 2 passport photos with your application. Passport photos must meet strict requirements, so be sure to have the photo taken by a professional who is familiar with these requirements (most pharmacies have photo centers where you can get passport photos taken). Do not attach your photos to the application form, but bring them with you.

Go to your local Passport Office or Passport Acceptance Facility with all your documents (see PG. 61 to learn how to find a location near you), submit your application, and pay the fees.

You must pay $110 for your new passport, and $25 for processing (“execution fee”) — that’s $135 total.[228] You can pay using cash, check, credit card, or money order.[229] If paying by check, make it payable to “U.S. Department of State,” and make sure that your full name and birthdate are typed or printed on the front (use the “Memo” or “For” line). Ask the passport agent if you have any questions!

Receive your passport in 4-6 weeks, and make a reminder about when it needs to be renewed.[230]

After you submit your passport application, it may take about 4-6 weeks to receive your U.S. passport in the mail. If you were age 16 or older when your U.S. passport was issued, it will be valid for 10 years. If you were age 15 or younger when your U.S. passport was issued, it will be valid for 5 years.[231] (Note: If possible, it’s best to renew your passport about 9 months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.)

If you have Internet access, you can track the status of your passport application online: go to http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html, and click “Check Your Application Status.”

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    NOTE: If your name or gender is different on your evidence of citizenship and/or ID, you may need to submit additional documentation. For more details, see U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/gender.html.

  2. 218

    If you don’t, your application may be significantly delayed and/or denied. 26 U.S.C. 6039E; see also U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/new.html.

  3. 219

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/FAQs.html.

  4. 220

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html.

  5. 221

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html.

  6. 222

    Other forms of “secondary evidence” of citizenship: (3) a state-issued Letter of No Record; (4) a notarized Birth Affidavit: Form DS-10. For more details on these forms of evidence, see U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/secondary-evidence.html.

  7. 223

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html.

  8. 224

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html.

  9. 225

    22 U.S.C. § 2714.

  10. 226

    22 U.S.C. § 212a.

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    You can use a photo you take yourself. However, to ensure your photo is acceptable, it may be a good idea to have a professional passport photo service take your photo for about $12. You can find these services at many post offices, print shops, grocery stores, and drug stores.

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    But you can pay an extra $60 fee for “Expedited Service”—quicker processing and delivery of your new passport. U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/new.html, U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/costs.html.

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    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/costs.html.

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    If you’re paying an extra $60 fee for Expedited Service, it should take 3 weeks. U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/processing-times.html.

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    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/processing-times.html.