How to Apply for a U.S. Passport?

Posted August 20 2015


passportAre you tired of having to turn down vacation invitations from friends and family because you don’t have a passport? It’s time to get a valid passport so that you can live your life to the fullest. The world is a big place, and not being able to leave your home country because you don’t have proper documentation should no longer be keeping you from seeing and visiting every location you have dreamed of. Having a passport is becoming a necessity more and more. For one, you used to be able to go on a cruise without a passport as long as you had valid identification, but that is no longer enough in today’s world. So follow these steps to help get you on your way to getting a valid United States passport, and get you one step closer to seeing the world!


1. Gather the proper documentation 

In order to apply for a U.S. passport, you will need to have the proper documentation: proof of citizenship and proof of identity. There are many forms you can use to prove both of these. To prove citizenship, you can use expired passports, a birth certificate for those born in the United States, or a Certificate of Citizenship for those born outside the U.S. To prove your identity, you can use expired passports, driver’s license, military ID, or other identification items that include your photo and signature.

2. Take a passport photo

A passport photo is different than a normal photograph. To make things easy, many drug stores or places that process photos can take them for you for a small fee. And I know what you are thinking, no “selfies” allowed.

3. Fill out appropriate forms

There are forms that you will have to fill out, and for most people that form is a DS-11 form. You can find this form online, print it out, and fill it in. Or you can fill it out in person when you go to the local passport authority.

4. Submit documentation and forms in person

For those that are applying for their first passport, you will have to apply in-person. You can apply at your local passport authority including most city halls, public libraries, and post offices. For those that are renewing their passport, in most cases it can be done through mail.

5. Pay the fee

A first time passport for a U.S. adult is $135. It is less money if you are renewing a passport, $110. A first time passport for a minor (under age 16) is $115. 

Tips

It is important to note that you should apply for a passport well in advance of your travel arrangements. The process can take a couple of months, so plan accordingly. Also, it is a good idea to keep track of your application status online by visiting the official website. The reason being is that you only have 90 days from the application date in order to report that your passport has not arrived. Otherwise you will need to go through the entire application process again. 

Now that you have your passport, it is time to book your next trip! For more help when traveling overseas, read our previous blog, “Tips for Traveling Abroad.” We wish you safe travels along your journey. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, or have any questions or concerns, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance brokers have the experience to assist you in selecting the right plan for you and/or your family for the best value.