How to Get a U.S. Passport

If you want to travel abroad, you’re going to need a Passport. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make sure you have everything you need.1 2

  • Buy a Passport photo
    • You can have these done at any major drugstore like Walgreens ($11.99 for a set of 2). Make sure your hair is not in your face or covering your eyes. Keep your prescription glasses on if you normally wear them. I’ve heard varying reports if you can smile or not. Play it on the safe side and do not smile.
    • You should need only 1 for your Passport.
  •  Find a Passport Acceptance Facility
  • Gather Required Documents 
    • Evidence of U.S. Citizenship – Must be Original
      •  Acceptable Documents:
        • Certified U.S. Birth Certificate
        • Previous undamaged U.S. Passport
        • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
        • Or a Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship
    • Photo Identification – Must be Original
      • Acceptable Documents:
        • Valid Driver’s License
        • Undamaged U.S. Passport (if issued less than 15 years ago)
        • Certificate of Naturalization
        • Valid government ID (city, state, or federal)
        • Or Valid Military ID
    • Form DS-11
      • Download a paper copy here
      • You can also fill it out online and print it following the prompts at this website
  • Arrange Payments
    • Payable to Department of State $110.00
    • Execution Fee $25.00
    • Optional Expedite Fee $60.00
      •  Acceptable forms of payment
        • Money Order
        • Cashier’s Check
        • Personal Check
  • Go to Passport Acceptance Facility and Apply for a Passport Book
    • Don’t forget anything!
      • Passport photo
      • Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
      • Photo Identification
      • Form DS-11 – Completed and UNSIGNED
      • Payments

For more information, you can visit the U.S. Passport & International Travel website.

I’m not gonna lie, I freaked out when they told me my original Certificate of Naturalization had to get sent away in order to get approved for a Passport. However, I received my CoN a week or two in the mail after I applied for the Passport. You should receive your Passport in 4-6 weeks if you choose not to have it expedited.

1Minors may have different requirements. 2This is a guideline. Go to the U.S. Passport & International Travel website for details.
Updated 10/10/2014

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