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How To Fill Out Your Passport Application

By Ben Pate

Heading overseas or even to Canada or Mexico, you need to travel with a passport. This is a form of identification accepted in all foreign countries and can also be helpful as a way to verify your identity as a citizen here in the United States. The first step is to obtain a USA passport form and review the guidelines for either first-time requests or for renewing an expiring passport.

Finding the right application and following the necessary steps can easily be done by visiting your local library. Most but not all post offices also carry passport applications. Some will also have times when they take your photo and process the applications on-site. It is best to call or look on-line to see what options the post office nearest you has available.

If you don’t want to leave your home or office, you can download an application to your computer, print it and fill it out. It is as easy as searching for United States Passport on your internet search engine. Government sponsored sites will be listed as well as commercial websites. If you are on a government site, downloading an application and instructions will be free. There are other sites that will offer you extra guidance to fill out the application and submit it, however, they will charge you a fee to download their instructions and application.

If this is the first time you have applied or are under the age of 16, you will need to submit your application in person. As part of the process you will need to bring two pictures, and valid forms of identification. Consult the instructions for a list of acceptable methods of verifying your identity. If you had a passport previously but it has expired and the original issue date is more than 15 years ago, you will also have to apply in person. If you just need to renew one not already expired, or one less than 15 years since issuance and there have been no name changes, you can send your application by mail along with your fee and original passport. A new one will be issued and mailed to you.

Not planning to travel for several months? We suggest you submit your application through routine processing. It will take four to six weeks or, during busy summer travel season, up to 10 weeks. However, if you just found out about travel and need a passport super fast, there are ways to speed up your application. For those traveling in less than four weeks, there is an expedited process that includes overnight delivery to your home or office within two to three weeks. Are you traveling in less than 14 days? You will need to schedule an appointment to visit one of the passport agencies in person. Most major cities across the U.S. have a agencies for American passports.

There is a standard fee to process your application and for the passport booklet, or card. The fee varies depending on whether it is your first time applying or if you are renewing. Having the freedom to travel whenever you want and to almost anywhere in the world you would like is well worth the small investment. Also, once you receive your passport, it is good for 10 years if you are over the age of 16. If younger, it is valid for five years.

When you have to travel quickly, expediting or fast-tracking your application will cost more. It is best not to wait till the last minute to apply. If your company requires you to go on a trip or conducts regular business outside the U. S., there may be an administrative person dedicated to getting your application processed. If a federal employee, your agency will likely have someone on staff to assist you. You may also notice that your passport cover may be a different color than the those of regular citizens. If you have to handle the process by yourself, ask for fee and picture cost reimbursement for approved work travel.

One bonus of having a U.S. passport is using it as verification of citizenship for employment. This is because it is issued by the federal government and you have already produced other forms of identification for the US passport application forms, such as your original birth certificate, to obtain one.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "How To Fill Out Your Passport Application." How To Fill Out Your Passport Application. 1 Jul. 2010. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Pate, B (2010, July 1). How To Fill Out Your Passport Application. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "How To Fill Out Your Passport Application"

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