If you have recently become a US citizen or are applying for a US passport for the first time, this guide is for you.
So, let’s dive in to get the passport.
If you are applying for a passport in the United States for the first time, you will need to apply for in-person mode. There are four steps to apply for a passport in the United States.
- The first is filling out US Passport Application Form DS-11.
- Then schedule an appointment at the nearest passport office. Now you can schedule this appointment before filling your form; make sure your form is completed before your appointment.
- Then gather your supporting documents and payment, which you will need to submit in person with your application.
- Finally, attend your appointment.
Let us start with the first step by filling Form DS-11. The US passport application form is usually inside if you have recently gone through the naturalization process and received the welcome package at the swearing-in ceremony. If you don’t have the form, let us show you how to get it.
To get the DS-11 form, you need to visit the State Department travel.state.gov website. On the home page, you need to go to “get a US passport.” Then you will go down a bit where you will see, “I need a passport,” and you will click on the first option, which reads: “Apply in person.”
Now you will scroll down a bit, and you will see the very first thing here, fill out Form DS-11. Now, if you click on the plus sign, it will take you to the options. The online form allows you to fill the form online and take a printout of it.
Or, if you prefer to fill out the form by hand, click on the one that says “PDF”, and it will take you to a blank form that you can print out and then fill out with a pen.
At the top of the form, you will see several different options. You will see Passport Book, Passport Card, or both. Now passport cards can only be used for land or sea travel, so unless you live near the border and don’t travel back and forth often, you cannot use a passport card for any other type of travel. But if you want a different form of ID card, you can definitely get a passport card. But for most people, a US passport is more than enough, and it’s the only thing that works for air travel.
Now you can choose between a regular book and a large book. The only difference is that a large book has more pages. It doesn’t cost anything extra to get the large book, so if you travel a lot, we’d recommend getting the large book, so your pages don’t run out quickly. As for the form itself, it is quite clear. It wants basic information like your name, social security number, address, and so on.
In the middle of the page, it says, “stop and continue to page two.” And it says, don’t sign the application unless you are asked to do so. So you won’t sign the application until you actually submit your application to the post office or wherever, and the agent tells you it’s okay to sign it.
So, move on to another page, where it’s more of the same type of information. You’ll fill in your parent’s information, emergency contact information, and the like. So, this is the basic form.
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How to Schedule Your Passport Appointment?
Now let’s talk about how to schedule your appointment to get a Passport. Passport reception facilities are usually a public library or post office. Most people actually do this at the post office, but if you want to see what your options are, you’ll go back to the page we just received the form from, and if you scroll down a bit, You will see number nine saying “send your complete application.” If you expand it, you will see an option to click on Passport Acceptance facility. So now, if you click on that, you can enter your zip code.
And as you can see, there are various options; It is a combination of post offices and public libraries. So now, if you really want to schedule your appointment at the post office, do it directly on the post office website.
To do so, simply visit usps.com/scheduler, which will take you to the page to choose just one service, and in this case, it is just a new passport. If it’s just you, you will choose either one. And then you can search by location. So as before, you can enter your zip code, and then it will show you the places closest to you where there are appointments.
If you click on the calendar icon here, it will display the list of available appointments. You can schedule an appointment for tomorrow. All you have to do is provide your contact information, review and confirm your appointment, and then you’ll receive a confirmation email. If you need to change your appointment for any reason, you can easily do it online.
Documents Required to Apply for In-person Passport.
Alright, so now you’ve filled out your application and scheduled your appointment, so here’s what you need to take with you to your appointment location.
The first is proof of US citizenship. This could be your naturalization certificate or birth certificate in the United States if you were born here. Here we see the first mistake that people make; You need to take the original and a photocopy. We saw that many people enter the post office without photocopies and have to leave and come back and it is just a waste of time. Make sure to get a photocopy of it.
Then you need proof of identity. Now the easiest thing is to get your license or state ID number. But remember that it should be the country’s identification number. If not, you need another form of identification. You can get your valid passport or your global identification number if you have an out-of-country identification number. You can find a complete list of acceptable identification documents on the State Department website. Again, be sure to make a photocopy of the front and back of your license or government ID.
The next thing you need is a color passport photo. The easiest thing to do is take passport photos from CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Duane Reade, whatever nearest facility you have. And don’t forget that if you wear glasses to take them off, there are no glasses in the passport photo and that’s all in the photos.
Now whether you use a birth certificate or a naturalization certificate as proof of citizenship, the post office will keep it. Do not worry now; It will be mailed to you, and don’t worry if your new passport arrives without it. It comes in two separate mailings.
Money and Deadline to Apply For A Passport.
Now let’s talk about money and deadlines. Today, the State Department website states that the standard time to process a new passport is six to eight weeks. If you decide to speed it up and pay extra, that’s two to three weeks.
If you need it even faster because you have an emergency, there’s a different way to do it. At the moment, the Passport Book costs $110, and then the Passport Facility charges a $35 display fee. If you decide not to speed up your passport – that’s all you have to pay.
How to Use Fee Calculator for Passport?
Now we’ll show you where you can visit the State Department website and use their free calculator to make sure the fees you pay are the most current and up-to-date.
Once again, go to the page where we got the form, and scroll down to number eight, where it is written, “Calculate fee.” You will expand it, and at the bottom, you will see a link for the passport fee. Click on it and it will take us to the page where you will see something that says a “fee calculator” at the top.
Click on it and follow the prompts. It will ask you where do you live, your date of birth, have you ever had a US passport, etc. Then click on next.
Now choose just to get the passport, which you can see is $110. Then choose to speed it up, which is an additional $60. And then, for even faster delivery, check for delivery in one to two days.
Now you can see what you’ll actually pay. Again, if you choose not to expedite it, you’ll only pay the $110 and $35 fees plus none of these other costs.
How Do You pay for Your Passport Application Fee?
Now let’s talk a little about payment methods because this is important. Whether you decide to speed up or not, your payment is split into two parts, paid with different methods. For the $110 passport book, expedited fee, and speedy delivery, you pay by check or money order.
For an execution fee of $35, you pay directly to the post office and can pay by credit card, but it varies by location. To be safe, we recommend that you take $35 in cash, plus your debit and credit cards. If you’re not sure of the total amount required to go over the check, just leave it blank and fill it out at the counter when you’re actually at the post office. We saw people leaving because they had filled the wrong amount in their cheques and did not bring their checkbooks and any blank cheques.
We would only recommend that you take your checkbook with you or not filling out the amount at all to just avoid coming back a second time.
If you have other questions about the US passport process, you can contact us. If you found this guide useful, be sure to check out the others here. Happy traveling!
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