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Passport Application Qualifications

Obtaining a United States passport is relatively easy as long as you meet the passport qualifications. Although it may seem like the process takes unnecessarily long and requires too much documentation and verification, the reality is that a United States passport is a very important and valuable international document, and its security, authenticity, and accuracy must be protected for both personal and national security reasons. For most people with normal documentation, the passport qualifications and application process often pose little problem. However, even if you have special circumstances concerning your personal documentation or citizenship status, you have various ways of meeting the passport qualifications.

Meeting the Passport Qualifications

If you have never before applied for a United States passport, the first of the passport qualifications that you will have to satisfy is applying in person at one of the many passport acceptance facilities around the country. This ensures that you present all of the proper documentation and that it is verified before your application is sent off for further processing. Even if you have had a passport in the past, you may still have to apply in person. If your previous passport was lost, stolen or damaged, if it was issued more than fifteen years ago and is now expired, if you were under sixteen years of age when it was issued, or if you have no legal documentation of any name change, you must apply for a passport in person just like a first-time applicant.

When you begin the passport application process, there are only six main passport qualifications. You must first fill out the required application. If you are a first-time applicant or not eligible for a renewal, this is application DS-11. If you are applying for a renewal passport by mail, you can use application DS-82. Once the application is completed, you must take it along with the following things to a passport acceptance facility: proof of United States citizenship, proof of identity, two passport photos, the application fee, and your social security number. The most common forms of proof of citizenship are a previous United States passport or a certified birth certificate. However, if you do not have either of these two items, there are other ways to prove your citizenship. The most common forms of proof of identity are a previous passport, a naturalization certificate, or a driver's license, government ID, or military ID if you are recognizable. If you have unusual circumstances or limited documentation, visit the website of the US Bureau of Consular Affairs for more specific details and options.

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