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Obtaining a United States Passport

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us-passport4If you have never owned a passport, you will find that obtaining a United States passport does take a bit of work, but once you've got it in your hand, you'll find it speeds your way through airport security and can be a helpful document for many types of identification needs. Owning a passport has become one of the most important things American citizens can do today to make traveling and identification easier.

There are very specific steps and documentation required to apply for a U.S. Passport.

Prior to setting out to locate a passport office, there are several items that must be complete and which will make your application smooth and easy.

Pick up or print from the internet the form This form can be found at any passport agency or downloaded from the web site of the United States Department of State. Fill out the application in black ink and do not sign it until you are at the application office, as it needs to be witnessed. Be prepared to show other forms of photo ID at presentation, such as a current drivers' license, military id, etc.

Gather supporting documents which verify your citizenship. Examples are an original certified birth certificate or naturalization certificate. These must be original documents with the appropriate seals and date of certification. Photo copies are not accepted.

Locate a regional or a in your area. The website for the also has a link which makes it easy to search by zip code, city and state. Making an appointment in advance is a good idea as it can save you much waiting time.

Have 2 passport photos taken at an approved facility. This can be accomplished by searching for passport offices which also issue photo IDs. Selecting a facility which can take photos as well as accept applications will save you a lot of time as it eliminates the need to have the pictures taken elsewhere and also ensures that they are guaranteed to meet the size and composition requirements.

Once you have all your documentation and are ready to head to the application office, be sure to also be prepared to pay several fees. Passport fees run from $10.00 to $75.00 depending on the age of the applicant. Additionally, there is a $10.00 to $20.00 fee for the photographs. The application facility also charges its own processing fee, typically $25.00.

If you're in a hurry, you may request your application be expedited which will cost $60.00. Normal passport processing time is 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the demand and if the department has a backlog of requests. Bring everything with you to the passport facility. There you'll pay your fees, submit your documents, have your application reviewed and your signature verified.

Soon you'll have your new passport in hand and will quickly forget about all the work involved in obtaining a United States Passport. Keep it in a safe place and you'll be ready for any travel or any other identification needs.

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