How to Apply for a New Passport: Quick Guide for US Citizens

How to Apply for a New Passport in the USA

Obtaining an American passport is a responsible procedure. The preparation stage includes collecting the necessary documents and filling out special forms. In this article, we will tell you how to apply for a new passport, which papers you need for it, and how to fill out a DS-11 passport form.

Applying for a New U.S. Passport

Obtaining a US passport assumes that you are already a citizen of this country. To get a primary identity document in the United States, you need to provide proof of citizenship and its photocopy. You also need your ID and a copy of it, a recent photograph, and a completed and printed DS-11 passport application form.

If everything is quite simple with all other documents (you have them, and you just need to make copies), you should be extremely careful with this form. In it, you need to provide personal information about yourself and your parents. Also, in a DS-11 form, there are some fields that you can fill out only in the presence of an authorized acceptance agent.

Filling Out DS-11 Application Form

Before the interview with an agent, you should provide the following information:

  1. Specify the type of passport you need: a book or a card. Books can be standard or large if you need a lot of space for stamps and visas.
  2. Enter your full name, place and date of birth, SSN, contact details, and exact mailing address. If you changed your name in the past, for example, due to marriage, be sure to indicate it in the appropriate box.
  3. Leave the second half of the first page blank for now. Information in this field should only be entered under the guidance of an authorized agent.
  4. At the top of the second sheet, write your full name and date of birth. Next, enter information about your parents: their names, dates and places of birth, gender, and citizenship. If you are married, please, include your partner’s details.
  5. After that, you need to enter such information as your height, hair and eye color, occupation, and travel plans. Then enter the exact address of residence and emergency contact.
  6. If you had any experience in obtaining a passport, indicate this information in the form.
  7. Leave the block at the bottom of the second page blank as well. You should fill it out later.

While you can complete the document either by hand or using a computer, applying for a passport is only available in person or by mail, not electronically.

Gather Supporting Documents

Of course, a DS-11 form alone is not enough to get a passport. You should attach the following papers to the completed form:

  • US citizenship proof and its photocopy. These can be a USA birth certificate, your previous US passport, birth abroad or naturalization certificate, and an FS-240 form (if you were born outside the USA). In some situations, a Letter of No Record, delayed birth registration, or a DS-10 form may be also accepted in the absence of the above papers.
  • Proof of identity and its photocopy. You can use your old US passport, driver’s license, naturalization certificate, military or government employee ID.
  • One photo. According to the new passport requirements, it has to be in color, square (2×2 inches), with a white background, and recent (no more than six months old). You should be depicted from the front and without glasses (unless there is official medical proof that you cannot take them off) or head covering (if your religion or medical recommendations do not forbid it). The photo should be printed on appropriate paper.

Visit Application Acceptance Facility

Form DS-11 has no deadline, so you can submit documents at any time convenient for you. Just don’t wait for too long so that you don’t have to redo the photo. Get all your paperwork ready and visit one of the local passport agencies. An authorized person will check your Application for a New Passport. You also need to pay due fees.

The timing of preparing a passport depends on how soon you need it and where exactly you hand it over. If you have an emergency, you can contact the nearest life-or-death emergency service, and the period will be reduced to 72 hours. An expedited option also offers speeded processing within 4-6 weeks. The standard procedure lasts about 10+ weeks.

That’s how to get a US passport. As you can see, this procedure is not very complicated, and waiting takes most of the time. When filling out Form DS-11, follow the current requirements and avoid making mistakes.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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