If you have any intention of traveling outside the United States, then you will definitely need a passport. Don’t worry, the process of applying for one is not that bad. But it is essential to obtain one if you plan to venture overseas as well as to such locations as the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda, Panama and Canada.
All U.S. citizens that want to travel outside the country need a passport, as it is the only universally accepted identification. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to apply for a passport as the average time someone receives it in the mail is six weeks.
The best time to apply for a passport is between the months of September and February.
The Price of a Passport:
Adult First Time Applicants:
- Adult Passport Book & Card: $95 application fee + $25 execution fee = $120
- Adult Passport Book: $75 application fee + $25 execution fee = $100
- Adult Passport Card (If you do not currently hold a Passport Book or Card): $20 application fee + $20 execution fee = $40
- Adult Passport & Card: $95 renewal fee
- Adult Passport Book: $75 renewal fee
- Adult Passport Card: $20 renewal fee
All Minor Applicants:
- Minor Passport Book & Card: $70 application fee + $25 execution fee = $95
- Minor Passport Book: $60 application fee + $25 execution fee = $95
- Minor Passport Card: $10 application fee + $25 execution fee = $35
If you need your passport as soon as possible, you can have it expedited for an additional $60 and can receive it within two weeks. Make sure you label the application with EXPEDITED. If you need it even sooner than that, you can pay an additional $14.96 for a passport book overnight delivery.
Applying by Mail vs. in Person:
While you can renew your passport via mail, certain individuals need to go in person. They include the following:
- You are applying for the first time.
- You have changed your name (i.e. married) but do not have any legal proof of the change.
- Your passport was issued to you when you were under 16 and it has since expired.
- Your passport was issued to you more than 15 years ago and it has since expired.
- Your passport was lost or stolen.
So where do you apply for a passport? The easiest way to find the closest passport acceptance facility is to search the U.S. Department of State website by entering your zip code or address. With roughly 7,000 application acceptance facilities across the U.S., there is bound to be one nearby.
What to Bring With you When you Apply:
- Fill out the DS-11 form which is available on the U.S. Department of State website.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate etc.).
- Proof of identity (driver’s license, military ID, government ID etc.).
- Two 2×2 inch passport photos (can be obtained at any one hour photo shop).
- Provide a social security number.