How to Get a Passport
Travel outside the country has become a rather easy thing to do in the last several decades, especially since air travel became more affordable for the average American citizen. Identification when traveling abroad is an important issue, for many reasons, and each country issues its own form of national identity documentation. To streamline identification while traveling to foreign countries, most countries of the world have adopted the use of passports.
How to get a passport in the United States is still relatively easy. There are more than 9,000 facilities scattered throughout the nation that can issue a passport and some of them can do so in a relatively short amount of time, sometimes in as little as 14 days.
Since a passport is a form of identification, how to get a passport is based on providing documentation of your identity. Regardless of which of the thousands of passport acceptance facilities you choose to use, the identification requirements are the same.
How to get a passport requires these documents: two recent photographs of yourself, some form of proof of American citizenship, and a current copy of nationally recognized photo identification, such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
Once the correct documentation is gathered, how to get a passport requires a personal visit to one of the many locations issuing passports. Courts, including federal, state, and probate, can issue passports as can post offices, many public libraries, and some city and county government offices.
When time is of the essence, how to get a passport may mean you will need to go to any of the 13 regional passport agencies or the only Gateway City Agency, where you can get a passport issued within 14 days for immediate travel or a visa for entry into certain foreign countries. You’ll need to make an appointment to get a passport from these locations.
How to get a passport for the very first time requires a personal visit to the issuing facility. You’ll also need to go in person if your passport has expired or if you no longer have it. If your passport is more than 15 years old or if you received it before turning 16, you’ll need to go in person, too. Any time a passport has been lost or stolen, a personal visit to replace is required.
Passports are issued for a limited time so how to get a passport renewal can be done by mail if done in a timely manner. Renewal by mail is permitted when a current passport hasn’t been altered or damaged and is available to the issuing entity. To renew by mail, the passport must have been issued within the previous 15 years or after the age of 16. If your name has changed since the passport was issued, legal documentation of the name change must accompany the request for renewal via the mail.
Passport renewal applications are available at all issuing locations and can be downloaded from the internet.