If you want a passport you will need to visit a United States passport office. Obtaining a passport is vital if you want to visit other countries, including Canada or Mexico. If you know what documents you need to bring and plan your trip in advance, your visit will be easy and stress free.
How to find a passport office: The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has a website that lists all of the passport offices in the United States. Go to the site and enter in your address. The site will give you a list of passport offices in your vicinity. Most passport offices are located in the same building as other government offices. The most common are post offices, clerks of court or public libraries.
Determine if you need to go to the passport office: Some people do not need to go to a passport office and some do. People who are less than eighteen years old, haven't had a passport before, or have lost or damaged their passports, need to go to a passport office. If a minor is applying for a passport, both parents must be present at the office.
Mailing in a renewal form: There are many people who do not need to visit the passport office to get their passport. Anyone who is over the age of eighteen and already has a passport can renew their passport via mail instead of going to the office as long as their passport was not issued more than fifteen years ago.
Documents needed at the passport office: Two color photographs of yourself, money to pay the fees, proof of identity, and proof of citizenship are all required when you go to the passport office. In the event of a name change, you also need to bring documentation for that.
Photographs: Two recent color photographs of you should also be submitted to the passport office. These photos must meet very rigid requirements. Since there are such high standards, most passport offices offer a service where they take your picture for around $15. You may want to take advantage of this service as it will ensure that your pictures are correct.
Hours: Passport offices all have different hours, but most are sometime during business hours Monday through Friday. It is advisable to call the office or check online to see when they are open. There is nothing worse than making a trip when it is not necessary.
How long it takes: If you need to have your passport by a certain time, it is very important that you go to the office a few months beforehand since it takes about four to six weeks for the passport office to process applications. You may also have the option to expedite the processing of your passport. This costs an additional $60 as well as the cost of overnight shipping to your place of residence. The plus side is that you get your passport in about two to three weeks.
If you are worried that visiting a United States passport office might take too much time or be too confusing, don't fret. The employees are trained to assist you and there is a wealth of information available about the process. The most difficult part is the paperwork and getting together the materials. After all this is done, you can just sit back and relax. In about a month, you will have a brand new passport.
Visit often to learn more information from our updated United States Passport Office.