Passport Application Information

Traveling from one country to another requires an individual to own a passport. A passport application is provided by the U. S. Department of State and is easily accessible online. The DS 11 form is the appropriate application to fill out when initially applying for a passport book or card. Following the instructions on the form will prevent any mishaps or delays in processing the paperwork.


Complete the form by listing your name, mailing and permanent address, sex, place of birth and birth date. You will also need to state your social security number, marital status and other personal information. Providing your parents’ names, birth dates, and places of birth is also required. Review the completed form to make sure all of the information is correct.


In order to start the application process, you need to present documents that verify your birth of origin and nationality. Certified birth certificates, medical records, an old passport, or school records are sufficient to prove nationality. If you are a citizen of a foreign country, you can provide certificates of citizenship or a certificate of naturalization. Non-U. S. Citizens can also present birth records or passports issued by their country.


Submitting an old passport book/card or driver’s license are acceptable ways to verify your identity. Military identification or government employee ID Cards are also permissible. Non-citizens can also show their certificates of citizenship or naturalization to confirm their identity. If you don’t have the necessary documents available to prove your identity, you can bring an identifying witness to the place that will process your application. The identifying witness must be someone who has known you for at least two years and have their own form of identification. The identifying witness will be asked to sign an affidavit.


A current color photograph will be needed for your book or card. The picture needs to be an unobstructed full view of the front of your face. Postal offices and other locations provide standard sized pictures that fit the State Department’s requirements. Wearing a hat, scarf, sunglasses or other accessories that block the face are only permissible if they are worn for religious or medical purposes.


The amount of the fees for processing the application and creating the book or card vary. Both the book and card list your citizenship, identity and description and contain your photograph. Individuals choose to get a card when they only need to travel to and from Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico. A book is needed if you plan on traveling to other countries. Payment can be issued to the Department of State with a certified check, personal check, or money order. Using a major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover is another way to provide payment.


When you are within the country, the forms and supplemental documents can be processed at a passport agency, acceptance facility or at certain post offices. When you are in a foreign country, the documents need to be submitted to the U. S. Consulate or embassy. The representative at the facility will look over your application and the documents you provided. The representative can also assist you if you have any questions regarding the process. If you need to receive the book or card within a short period of time, set up an appointment at an agency that can facilitate your request.

It normally takes four to six weeks to receive the book or card from the date the passport application was submitted. When expedited service is requested, an expedited passport can arrive even sooner. It is advantageous to start the passport application process well in advance of the date when you have to travel internationally. Having that extra time will allow you to deal with any processing delays that may occur without it negatively affecting your ability to travel.