Getting a passport in the United States is something you may not know anything about until you realize that you need a passport to travel outside the U.S. Fortunately, the passport process is something that has been going on for many years, and the internet has made the information you need easy to locate.
All passport requirements and standards are set by the United States Department of State. The actual administration of passport issuance is handled by the Bureau of Consular Affairs which is a part of the Department of State. The Bureau, in turn, has established over 8,000 passport application and processing offices throughout the U.S. This is particularly important for anyone who needs a passport for the first time, as these applications must be presented in person at one of these offices.
To find a passport processing center close to you, you could start at the most familiar place, the . Your local library or other government offices in towns, cities or municipalities also qualify. If you're still unsure where to go, pull up the web site for the . There you'll find a link to a search page that lets you search by zip code. Or you can enter in the city and state you live in. You'll be presented with a list of approved agencies that meet your search criteria.
Now that you know where you'll have to deliver your application, you'll need the actual form, which is called a DS-11 "Application for a U.S. Passport". If the passport facility you located is close by, you can go pick up this form from that office. It's also available to download locally from the Department of State web site. Print it carefully as any smudges or smears could mean all your work will be for nothing as the form will very likely be rejected by the passport official.
Passports also require 2 photos which meet the strict standards for passports. They must be 2x2 inches in size and the pose is very specific. When you search for a passport facility online, check the box that also asks that the list include facilities which take passport photographs. This will make things easier as you can have your picture taken at the same location where you'll be turning in your form.
A passport verifies that you are a United States citizen, so go find you original certified Birth Certificate. Certificates of Citizenship or Naturalization Certificates also are accepted. All must be original documents, so if you only have a copy start looking into how to get a new original. This document must accompany your passport application.
Visit often to learn more information from our updated Getting a Passport.