Updated on 11/11/2018
It was recently National Passport Day. So to mark the occasion I applied for a new passport. Working as a travel agent, having a current passport is a must! I’ll share with you my tips for applying for a passport!
Honestly, I was dreading the process of applying for a passport. Don’t know if it was because I had wanted to drop a few more pounds and get a stylish new hair cut before my likeness would be etched in stone for 10 years or maybe I could think of 10 million other things to spend $100+ on, or possibly the thought of having to find parking at the county courthouse. No matter the reason, this was not something I was looking forward to but to my great surprise with a little planning and good timing, applying for a passport was quick and painless. I shouldn’t have worried, because it was so easy!!!
To apply for a US Passport book the U.S. Department of State requires the following:
- Complete the online passport wizard – this is not an online application, but it’s a way to easily determine your eligibility. It will tell you what documents you’ll need, and the cost, depending on whether you are a first timer, or renewing an old passport. At the end of the wizard you can fill out the application and print it, or print a blank one to fill out by hand.
- Submit completed form and required documents in person (you’ll get that list from the wizard) at an authorized passport facility
- Present identification
- Photocopy of presented identification
- Provide one passport photo, or get it taken where you apply if they offer that (they tell you the requirements in the wizard)
- Pay fees
I completed my passport application at home and printed it out. If you don’t know the answers to all of the questions like your parents places of birth or birthdates (including year) then it may be easier to print and complete by hand. Don’t sign the application just yet, you’ll do this in-person when you submit your application!
Next on the list is your proof of citizenship, most people use a certified birth certificate but remember it must include the registrar’s seal and your parents full names. If you don’t have a copy of this you’ll need to contact your local or state department of vital records. You will submit your original document not a photocopy, but no worries it will be sent back! The U.S. Department of State will accept other documents as proof of citizenship like, naturalization certificate, previously issued passport, just to name a few, check their website for complete list.
You will need to present identification when submitting your application in-person. The easiest thing is to show your drivers license but they also accept other forms of identification, see the website for complete list. You’ll want to go ahead and make a photocopy of your license both the front and back, this will be required and completing beforehand will make the process go that much smoother.
If you have all of your required documents it should only take 15 or so minutes to complete all of the application paperwork, now it’s off for your glamour shot. I visited the local pharmacy for my passport picture, but some post offices can take the picture when you apply. You can look up the nearest passport office here. You’ll also want to be prepared to pay your passport and administration fees separately, so bring more than one check. The particular location I visited require cash for the $25 admin fee and the U.S. Department of State does accept a personal check for their portion.
Now the waiting game begins. Thankfully the U.S. Department of State allows you to check the progress of your passport (similar to tracking a package), as you anxiously await your ticket to the world!
Although I started this process with much intimidation, you don’t have to! Just follow my simple guidelines and the passport application process will be stress-free. And hey, isn’t planning a wedding stressful enough?
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