If you are planning to travel outside of the United States, you will need one very important piece of identification: A passport. Do you know to get one? Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to do to get your passport so you are ready to head out on your next adventure.
Go to Your Local Post Office
Your local post office will have the necessary form to apply for a passport. The form is known as DS-11. There are also passport services available online that allow you to fill out your application on the Internet, but there may be additional fees required. You can also pick up the DS-11 form from an Acceptance Facility or a Walgreen Pharmacy.
Provide the Necessary Documentation
You will need to prove who you are in order to get your passport. You will have to provide proof of identity and proof of citizenship.
For proof of citizenship you can use a previous United States passport, your birth certificate, or if you were not born in the United States, you will need a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
In order to prove your identity, you will need a driver’s license, a government or military identification, a previous passport, or certificate of naturalization. These will need to include your photograph and your signature.
If you don’t have all of the necessary proof of identity, you may need to provide two forms of secondary identification. These secondary ID’s can include your social security card, a library card, or a credit card.
Get Your Passport Photo
You will need a photo to go on your passport. The easiest way to get the photo is to go to a local chain store that has a photo center. Places like Walgreen’s offers passport photos that are properly sized. The photo must be a clear headshot so don’t plan on grabbing a snapshot you already have.
Fill Out Your Form and Present it In Person
You will need to present your application and the necessary documentation in person at an acceptance facility like a post office, your local court house, some public libraries and other municipal offices. You can find a listing of acceptance facilities in your state at http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.
Pay the Fee
The regular fee for an adult’s first-time passport is $135. You will need to pay this when you submit your application. A passport card is cheaper if you plan to use it only between the U.S. and Mexico or the U.S. and Canada and will be driving instead of flying.
After completing these steps you will need to wait for your passport application to be approved and for the completed passport to be mailed back to you.
Do you have a passport? If not, is getting a passport on your to-do list for 2015?