So you need a new passport, but what exactly do you need in order to apply? Here’s a list of the documents required for passport applications in the US.
The earliest form of the passport reaches back to biblical times. But today, it’s mostly used as a form of identity that permits safe passage to other countries.
Originally, the passport was created as a form of allegiance to your country and subsequent protection. And back then, it was not a legal requirement to own one.
Today, you cannot exit the country without a passport. So if you plan on traveling, here are the documents required for passport applications.
Documents Required for Passport Applications in the U.S.
Up until the 20th century, the passport was used as more of a letter of introduction than anything else. Then World War I took place and everything changed thereafter.
After 1917, it became a legal requirement for all citizens entering and exiting the country to hold a passport. After the war the First World War ended, this requirement simply stuck.
In today’s day and age, here’s what you need to apply for a new passport…
In order to apply for a new U.S. passport, you’ll need a number of important forms. Just some of these include proof of identity, proof of citizenship, one passport-sized photograph in color and more.
All of these documents must be an original document or a certified copy of an original. Make sure to apply with both the original document and a photocopy of the original.
Depending on whether you’re renewing your passport or applying for your first one, this can be done in person or by mail. If you’d prefer to apply for a new passport in person, this can be done at your local post office!
If applying by mail is more your speed, all required documents and application fees must be packaged and sent to a passport center.
Depending on your type of passport application, you will have to pay a fee for the application process – it’s all self-funded.
Remember that each of these documents will only be accepted as an original or certified copy of an original.
Each passport application also requires a photocopy of these documents – don’t make the mistake of forgetting this!
1. Citizenship Documents
There are two forms of proof of citizenship acceptable for a passport application. These include primary and secondary forms of evidence.
Primary evidence includes an expired U.S. passport, a birth certificate, naturalization or certificate of citizenship or consular report of birth abroad.
Secondary evidence includes a delayed birth certificate and two early public records. What are early public records?
Basically, this is a document created in the first 5 years after your birth which includes your date of birth, full name, and place of birth.
A simple example of an early public record includes a hospital birth record, school records, doctor’s record or baptism record.
Other forms of secondary evidence include a Letter of No Record, issued by the state and two early public records. Or a birth affidavit and one early public record.
2. Identity Documents
For proof of identity, you can also submit either primary or secondary evidence. But for those applying outside their usual state of residence, two forms of identification must be provided.
Popular forms of primary identification include an expired U.S. passport, a driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver ID (with a photo).
Other means of identification include a citizenship certificate, a government employee ID, U.S. military ID, a green card or valid foreign passport.
Secondary Forms of Identification:
- A non-driver ID with a photo or out-of-state driver’s license
- A temporary driver’s license or learner’s permit
- A social security card
- A voter registration card
- A student ID card
- An employee ID card
- A Medicare or health card
- A school yearbook with a clear photograph
Bear in mind that all forms of identification, whether primary or secondary, require a valid, identifiable photograph.
3. Application Forms
All application forms for a passport renewal or new passport can be found online or at a nearby passport application center.
You’ll need to fill out the DS-11 form according to these needs:
- Replacing a passport that’s been lost or damaged
- Replacing a passport older than 15 years
- A new or first-time passport application
- A passport application for a minor under the age of 16
- Changing the sex marker on your passport
If none of these requirements apply to your specific needs, you should still fill out the DS-11 passport form. However, this type of application must be submitted in person.
If you’re changing a name on your passport or renewing a passport by mail, fill out the DS-82 form. If your passport is no more than one year old, you can simply change your name through a passport renewal.
However, if your passport is less than one-year-old, and a name needs correction, you’ll need to fill our form DS-5504.
To report a lost, stolen or damaged passport, form DS-64 is your go-to. From here, you’ll then have to fill out a DS-11 form to apply for a new passport and invalidate your previous passport.
Special Passport Circumstances
Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you haven’t. But if you’re set to travel somewhere in two weeks and your passport’s expired, this is why expedited services exist!
The standard turnaround time for passport processing in the U.S. is approximately 4-6 weeks. However, some special services exist to speed up this process.
1. An Urgent Service
Generally, this passport application process takes under 2 weeks, but you’ll need to have proof of travel within this 2-week window. This application can only be made in person.
2. Life or Death Emergency Service
This type of passport service generally takes less than 3 days but stipulates that emergency travel is required within 72 hours of your application. This service can only be applied for in person. Acceptable emergency situations include life or death illness or injury or the death of an immediate family member.
3. Standard Expedition Services
This application process generally takes less than 4-6 weeks and doesn’t require any specific emergency circumstances. You can apply for this service in person or by mail.
Looking for Travel Inspiration?
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the ins and outs of the documents required for passport applications, here’s a little travel inspo for you!
Travel India and explore this beautiful country with these 10 scenic train journeys…