If you’re planning a trip and need a passport, applying for a new adult passport is pretty easy. Simply follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to getting out of town in no time:
Complete the DS-11 passport application form.
To apply for a new adult passport, you must complete an application form. The form is available online and may be printed out to complete by hand or filled out online and submitted electronically.
- Please note that if you are applying in person at an acceptance facility, such as a post office or passport agency office, you will need to provide the following:
- Your current valid U.S. passport;
- Proof of identity (1 document);
- Proof of citizenship (2 documents);
- Department of State filing fee payment receipt; and
- If applicable: court order changing the name(s) on record with the Social Security Administration
Have your identification documents ready.
To apply for your passport, you’ll need to bring the following documents:
- A completed DS-11 form (you can get this online).
- Proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.
- Proof of identity, such as an unexpired driver’s license or government-issued ID card. You’ll also need two separate proofs of identification–one that has your photo on it and one that doesn’t have a picture–to include with your application. If these documents are in different names than what’s on your passport now, then you’ll need additional documentation showing how they relate to each other (i.e., marriage certificate).
Gather supporting documentation.
- Gather supporting documentation.
- Passport application form (PDF)
- Proof of citizenship: Birth certificate and naturalization certificate. If you are under 18 years old, please submit your parents’ birth certificates instead of yours. If you were born outside the United States, please submit proof that one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth and proof that they resided in the U.S., such as an original passport or visa stamped “Processed for I-551” by INS/USCIS which indicates legal entry into the United States on or before July 1st 1978 (for example).
- Proof of identity: Your valid driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID with the signature from any state or territory within the U.S., Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands only (no military IDs). Please note: Passports cannot be accepted as proof for this requirement due to their lack of photo identification features needed by law enforcement agencies during criminal investigations involving minors under 18 years old who may appear older than their actual age due to physical characteristics such as facial wrinkles etc..
Take a photo of yourself.
To apply for a new adult passport, you must first take a photo of yourself. The photo must be taken within the last 6 months, and it should be in front of a plain background. You should wear solid-colored clothing that contrasts with your skin tone (e.g., white on black).
- Look straight at the camera and relax your face as much as possible so that it doesn’t look stiff or forced.
- Don’t smile! We want to see what your natural expression looks like when you’re not being asked to show teeth or make any other particular facial expressions–just look neutral!
Take your passport photos to a photo center or drugstore to be printed.
Now that you’ve got your passport photos ready to go, it’s time to apply for a new adult passport. To do so, you’ll need to submit them with your application form and supporting documents at an acceptance facility. You can find one near you using the State Department’s locator tool (link).
Once there, be sure to bring along photo identification such as a driver’s license or military ID card (though not both). You should also bring any documentation required by the agency where you’re submitting your application–this may include proof of citizenship (like a birth certificate), evidence of name change(s), proof of marriage/domestic partnership status if applicable, etcetera depending on what kind of passport renewal request you’re making.
Once everything is in order at this point, then all that remains is waiting for approval from US Customs & Border Protection before getting back into that beautiful blue book!
Mail off your application materials and wait for your new passport!
When you’re ready to mail off your application materials and wait for your new passport, be sure to:
- Mail them to the correct address. You can find this on the State Department website or in the instructions that come with your paperwork (and it will be different than what’s listed below). If you don’t know where to send it, call 1-800-225-5555 before sending anything off!
- Include a prepaid return envelope with enough postage if you want your old passport returned in the mail after processing. Do not put any cash or checks inside this envelope; only use stamps! It should say “prepaid” on it so they know there won’t be any extra charges later on when they have sent out your new documents back home again. You should also include copies of everything else required by law — birth certificates showing both parents’ names as well as their ages at the time of birth; marriage certificates if applicable; divorce decrees…etcetera…etcetera…
Passports are one of those things you can apply for online, but if you need help with the process, there are plenty of resources out there to help!
If you’re looking for a passport, the easiest way to apply is online. But if you need help with the process, there are plenty of resources available:
- Contact your local passport office for help in person.
- Contact your local library or post office for more information on how to get an adult passport book and card.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, don’t worry! Passports are one of those things that it’s easy to panic about and feel like you need help with. But if you take a deep breath and just start by filling out an application online, then researching what documents you need for each section, soon enough, you’ll have your new passport in hand (or mailbox).