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7 Tips On How To Get A Passport

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7 Tips On How To Get a passport

Recently, while renewing my passport, I was reminded that many people have never gotten a passport and don’t know the 7 tips on how to get a passport.

I’m traveling to Brazil soon and U.S. citizens are required to get a visa.  A Brazilian visa, like an adult U.S. passport, is valid for 10 years.  Rather than having to travel with both passports, I opted to renew my passport now.

While at the passport office I overheard people being turned away, not being able to apply for their passports because they did not have the necessary documents.  This included people who had already purchased airline tickets and made other nonrefundable travel arrangements.

So that you don’t find yourself in a similar situation, here’s my 7 tips on how to get a passport.

7 Tips On How To Get A Passport:

1. Have evidence of your U.S. citizenship

Acceptable evidence of U.S. citizenship includes:

  • A previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
  • A certified birth certificate (registrar’s seal and signature) issued by the city, county or state
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth (if born overseas)
  • A Naturalization Certificate (if a naturalized citizen)
  • A Certificate of Citizenship (if born overseas)

Don’t live in the state where you were born? Don’t have a certificated copy of your birth certificate? You can get a certified copy of your birth certificate through vital records from the state you were born or order via a service.

2. Complete Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport (“Form DS-11”)  

You can complete Form DS-11 electronically or download and print in black or blue ink. Form DS-11 can be found here. Basic information such as name, address, social security number, marital status, place and date of birth, previous names used, height, hair color, weight, and parents’ names and places and dates of birth, travel plans, and emergency contact information is required.

3. Provide one passport photo

Your passport photo must meet all the requirements; passport photo requirements can be found here. You can take the photograph yourself or use a professional passport photograph service such as:

Bring your passport photo along with your Form DS-11 in person, do not attach it to the form.

4. Have Identification

Acceptable identification includes:

  • A previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
  •  Naturalization Certificate (if a naturalized citizen)
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current Government ID (city, state or federal)
  • Current Military ID (military and dependents)

If you do not have primary identification, you can submit Secondary Identification.  Secondary Identification can be found here.

Additional ID may be required if you submit out-of-state primary identification.

Additional requirements are necessary for gender reassignment applicants.  A list of additional information requirements for gender reassignment applicants can be found here.

5. Make a copy of your identification

The copy must be one-sided on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11 paper and include the front and the back of your ID.

If you are unable to include the front and back of your ID on the same piece of paper you can use two separate pages.

6. Make an appointment 

Appointments are required when applying at a Passport Agency or Center.  A list of passport agencies or centers can be found here.

A list of passport acceptance facilities (post offices, clerks of the court, public libraries or other state, county, township, and municipal government offices) can be found here.

Submit your completed Form DS-1, citizenship documentation, identification, a copy of your ID, and passport photo in person.

7. Pay the applicable fee

Passport fees will vary depending on if you are applying for a new passport or renewing, whether you want a passport book and/or passport card, or just the passport card.

A complete list of passport fees can be found here.

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Marielle Altenor

Friday 17th of February 2017

Really great tips. I've had to renew my passport twice in the last 10 years. I always triple check the requirements before going to the passport office.

Kendall Rayburn

Thursday 16th of February 2017

Great tips! I've never gotten a passport, but I hope to get one (and use it) someday!

Shannon Gurnee

Thursday 16th of February 2017

This is definitely a great list of steps when it comes to getting your passport. Thanks for sharing these. It will be a few years before I have to renew my passport again.


Thursday 16th of February 2017

Getting a passport should be quick and easy once you have the necessary docs like you said. This is a very helful post.


Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing. I have been putting off getting my passport but with several upcoming trips next year I really need to get on the ball.

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