A How-To Guide For Getting A Passport

By Mackenzie Taylor
In Culture

If you’re traveling outside the country for the first time, you need to make sure to give yourself ample time to order yourself a passport. It states on the US State Department that it can take between six to eight weeks before you receive your passport in the mail, so bear that in mind before heading out on your adventure. To help you get started on ordering a passport, we’re bringing you a step-by-step guide on how to get a passport.

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Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io

1/ Have the Right Documentation
You will need to have Proof of Citizenship and Proof of Identity when applying for a passport. There are a variety of documents that can be used, such as a birth certificate or a previous US passport for Proof of Citizenship. For Proof of Identity, a driver’s license, current government or military ID, Naturalization certificate or a previous US passport will be accepted. All items need to have your photo and your signature to be accepted.

2/ Fill Out a Passport Form
If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you’ll need to fill out DS-11 form on the US State Department’s website. The nice thing about the form is you can either fill it out online and print it off, or fill it out by hand. If you’re needing to renew an expired passport, fill out and print off the DS-82 form.

3/ Get a Passport Photo Taken
Most major drug stores (like Walgreens or CVC) take these photos. The photo must be 2×2 inches, with your full face visible—including your ears! Also, the biggest thing, don’t wear a white shirt in the photo as the people taking your photo will make you change, or give you a grimy shirt found in the Lost and Found items. Trust me, I know from experience.

4/ Submit Documents in Person
Unless you are renewing your passport, you will need to submit your passport documents in-person. Head to your local passport acceptance facility to submit the paperwork. Passport renewal for previously issued adult passports can be done by mail, though this method is often thought to be less secure.

5/ Paying the Fees
Unfortunately, passports aren’t free. Before you submit your documents, be sure to check out how much the passport is going to cost you.

6/ Now You Wait
Now the waiting game! As I mentioned above, it can take awhile for the passport to reach you so be sure to apply well in-advance before your trip abroad. You can track your application process online.

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