Application and How-to for US Passport
If you are planning to travel out of the country in the near future, the first thing you need to do is obtain a passport application so that you can begin the process of applying for a United States passport. Although the passport application itself is not exceptionally difficult to complete, the processing time is what often becomes a problem for people whose departure date is near in the future. To prevent this from disrupting your trip plans, be sure to complete and send in the application well in advance. Even if you do not have plans for a trip in the near future, it is always a good idea to have a valid passport on hand for unexpected emergencies.
Passport Application: The Basics
There is not only type of passport application. To ensure that your application is not delayed or returned, make sure that you complete the correct application for your circumstances. If you are applying for a new passport, you will need application DS-11. If you are applying for a renewal by mail, you can use application DS-82. Even if you currently have or had a passport in the past, there are circumstances in which you may not be eligible for a renewal. If your passport is expired and you do not have it in your possession, if your passport is expired and was issued more than fifteen years ago, or if your previous passport was issued when you were under sixteen years of age and you are now over sixteen, you will need to apply for a new passport. You are only eligible for a renewal if you can submit your most recent passport, if you were over sixteen when your previous passport was issued, if your passport was issued less than fifteen years ago, if you can show documentation of any name change, and if the passport is undamaged.
There are other types of passport applications, as well. If you currently have a valid passport but need to make corrections or changes to it, such as a name change, you should use application DS-5504. For additional visa pages, use application DS-4085; for a statement regarding a lost or stolen passport, use DS-64; and for a statement of consent to issue a passport to a minor, use DS-3053.
There are many places where you can find passport applications. There are many passport acceptance facilities across the country that probably have the applications you need. These are places like courthouses, library, post offices, municipal buildings, etc. You can also find the passport application you need online at the US Department of State Passport website.
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