A passport is your ticket to seeing the world. If you don’t have one yet, get on it, even if you’re not sure when you’ll be traveling overseas. Just having one handy will motivate you to start collecting stamps.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to get a passport:
1. Download and print a copy of the Department of State passport application (DS-11).
You can find the form here. You can also collect a form from most U.S. post office locations.
2. Fill out the form in black pen.
Wait until you have your passport appointment to sign it. You must include your social security number to be considered for a passport.
3. Find evidence of U.S. citizenship and photocopy it.
Acceptable forms include a previously issued U.S. passport, a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, naturalization certificate or consular certificate of birth. You must bring the original and one photocopy to your passport appointment.
4. Copy a form of valid photo identification.
This can be a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, military ID or government ID. You should bring the original and a photocopy to your passport appointment.
5. Take your 2 by 2 inch (51 by 51 mm) passport photo.
Most stores with photo services take these photos according to U.S. government regulations. They must be in color, on a white backdrop, wearing regular clothing, looking straight at the camera with both eyes open.
6. Find your nearest local passport acceptance facility.
7. Decide your form of payment for your passport fee.
An adult passport costs approximately $135, with additional options for expediting shipment and purchasing a passport card for use in Mexico and Canada. You can use a credit card, check or money order.
8. Present your application, passport photo, proof of citizenship, photo ID and passport fee at your passport appointment.
Sign your application in the presence of your passport agent. Retain your original copies and submit your photocopies.