US Passport Application Facts

Possessing a passport is required in order to travel to different countries. The State Department’s passport application forms are available online. Applicants must carefully review and follow the directions on the form to avoid unnecessary processing delays. Initially applying for a passport entails completing the DS 11 form and providing various documents needed to verify your identity.


Answer the questions on the form. List your name, social security number, address, birth date, where you were born, and parental information. If any of the information is incorrect it could increase the amount of time needed to process the form. Review any necessary documents to verify that everything stated in the form is accurate.

Verifying Documents

Collect documents confirming your nationality or citizenship. Medical records from a hospital, a certified birth certificate or school records can be used to verify your nationality. An expired or current passport is sufficient as well. Citizenship or naturalization certificates are acceptable if you are not a citizen of the United States. Passports and birth reports can also be submitted if you are from another country.


Proof of identity needs to be shown. A driver’s license, a military identification card or government employee identification are verifiable forms of documentation. An old or current passport is also acceptable. Non-U. S. Citizens can provide a naturalization certificate or a citizenship certificate. A person you have known for two or more years can also be used to verify your identity. The person needs to have proof of his identity and sign an affidavit at the agency or facility. By signing the affidavit the person attests under oath that he knows who you are.


A current color photograph will be needed for your book or card. The picture needs to be an unobstructed full view of the front of your face. Postal offices and other locations provide standard sized pictures that fit the State Department’s requirements. Wearing a hat, scarf, sunglasses or other accessories that block the face are only permissible if they are worn for religious or medical purposes.


The State Department charges different processing fees for a passport book and a passport card. The major difference between a book and card is that a card can only be used when traveling to Caribbean countries, Mexico or Canada. A book is a valid from of documentation when traveling to any country. The book and card will have your color photograph and list a physical description, your name, and place of citizenship. Major credit cards are an acceptable form of payment. The fees can also be paid by using cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks, personal check or money order. The checks or money orders should be payable to the Department of State.


Passport agencies, acceptance facilities and post offices are places where the paperwork can be submitted. If you are not in the country, you can go to the U. S. Embassy or U. S. Consulate to administer your paperwork. The representative at the facility will thoroughly review the application and supplemental materials to make sure all of the necessary information has been provided. The agencies allow individuals to set up appointments when a book or card is needed within a particularly short period of time.

It may take four to six weeks for a pasport application to be processed. Expedited service can take two to three weeks or even less for an expedited pass port. Submit the form to the processing agency or facility as soon as possible so that there is enough time to receive the book or card prior to the planned travel time. Being prepared and informed prior to submitting all of your materials is the best way to prevent any delays that could tamper your travel plans.