Are you planning to travel abroad to study or simply to see the world? To prepare for your trip, you will need your passport. Although it may seem overwhelming, we will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Passport wait times are long right now due to pandemic-related backlogs and delays. For standard processing, the current passport processing times are 13 weeks. The US Department of State recommends that you apply for a passport at least 4 to 6 months before you need it.
Do you need one faster? You can get one sooner, but you will need to pay extra for expedited service. It can take up to 10 weeks for your passport to be issued unless there is an emergency. Moral of the story: You should apply for your passport well in advance of when it will be needed.
Are you unsure if your passport needs to be renewed or if you should start fresh? Here’s your cheat sheet.
- Have you ever had a passport? Apply for passport renewal
- Apply for a new passport if your last passport expired and was issued prior to you being 16.
- Is your passport from more than 15 years ago Apply for a passport renewal.
- If your old passport was stolen, lost, or damaged, apply to get a new one.
- Congratulations if your passport, if it is still in good condition and was issued before you turned 16 or older, but less than 15 years ago, is unaffected. You can also renew your passport via mail.
How to Apply for a US Passport
- Register as soon as you can to get your passport.
Due to delays and backlogs caused by pandemics, the current passport wait times can be unusually long. To ensure you get your passport on time for your trip to Europe, apply at least four months in advance.
- Choose your passport type.
Technically speaking, you can apply for either a passport book (or a card) to obtain a passport.
The traditional passport, the passport book is often the best choice for most travelers. This passport book is valid for international travel, whether by air, sea, or land.
- Take your photo
For them to use in your passport book, you will need to submit a photograph. There are about a trillion rules that govern the composition and details of your photo. Your passport may be delayed if you fail to meet all the requirements.
- All the documents that you will need are available.
You will need to attach a few documents along with your application. You must submit the original, undamaged document along with a paper copy.
- Proof that you are a US citizen
Only one of these documents is required. It must be original and unaltered.
- U.S. passport that is fully valid and undamaged (it’s okay if it’s already expired).
- U.S. birth certificate that meets these requirements:
- Issued by the state, county, or city of birth
- This list contains your full name, birth date, and birthplace.
- List your parents’ full names
- The date must be filed with the registrar’s bureau (must be within a year of birth).
- Included the signature of the registrar
- The seal of the issuing authority
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad/Certificate of Birth
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Photocopy of proof of citizenship
You will need to attach a photocopy of any documents that you use to prove your citizenship. Copy must be legible on white 8.5×11 inch standard paper. You must provide photocopies of the front and back of any document on separate sheets.
- Proof that you are an individual
To present your ID at your appointment in person, you will need to bring a photocopy and also a physical copy. A valid expired, or fully valid, US passport book, card, or driver’s license, as well as a certificate or naturalization, are the most common forms of ID. You can find the complete list of acceptable ID documents for a US passport if you don’t possess any of these. Remember that you will need two forms of identification if you are bringing a second form of ID.
- Recent color photograph
With your application, you will need to include a passport-sized photo of yourself. For more information, see the above.
Complete the Application Form (DS-11)
The DS-11 standard passport application form is for first-time applicants. It is only two pages long and very simple. It can be filled out online and printed, or you can print one and fill it in by hand. You will need to bring a printed copy along with any supporting documents to your appointment.
To submit your application, you can go in person
All applicants for a passport for the first time (and everyone who isn’t eligible to renew via mail) must submit their documents in person at a passport acceptance facility. Many post offices will accept passport applications.
After you have submitted your passport application, along with all required documents, you will be able to check the status online. You will receive your new passport along with any supporting documents submitted that weren’t photocopies. These documents may be sent in separate mailers. Your passport is now an important document and form of identification.
How to renew your US passport
It is usually very easy to renew your passport. You can also renew your passport by mail if you have a standard renewal.
As a reminder, passport renewals can be done by mail if:
- Your passport is in your possession and it’s not damaged
- Your passport was issued within the last 15 years and was issued when you were 16 years old or older
- You can either document the name change or your passport was issued under your current name.
Here are the steps:
- Complete the DS-82 application form
The passport renewal application looks very similar to the original. The PDF passport renewal form can be downloaded or filled out online and then printed a copy.
- Take your photo
To submit your passport application, you will need to send a new passport photograph (taken in the last six months). This may be an option if your passport photo is not as good as we are.
- Collect all necessary documents
You will need to submit your printed and completed application along with the following:
- A recent color passport photo
- You will need your most recent passport. They will mail it back to you. All stamps that you have collected will be yours to keep.
- Any documents relating to name changes (i.e. If applicable, a marriage certificate
- The applicable fees by money order or check
When is the best time to renew my passport?
Most countries require passports to be valid for at most 6 months after the date of travel. If you are traveling in August, and your passport expires on January 1, you should renew your passport before your August trip. According to current timelines, this would mean that you apply for a passport in April (almost one year before the expiration date). You should renew your passport immediately if it is not too late. Remember that some countries require a 6 month validity period. So make sure you check your passports before booking your flights.
How can we quickly get a new passport?
You can call to make an appointment at a local passport agency center if you have a qualified reason. You can call to schedule an appointment at your local passport agency center if you have a qualifying reason. For example, there are two types: Life or Death Emergency Services or Urgent Travel Service. Last-minute passport services are not available for walk-ins.
Online passport application possible
Unfortunately, you cannot apply online for your passport at this time. Some renewals and first-time applicants must apply in person. Most renewals are available by mail.
What date will my passport expire?
Your passport is valid for ten years if you are 16 years old or older at the time it was issued. Minors below 16 years old can have their passports for five years. Your passport book will contain the issue date as well as the expiration date.
If you are looking for a Renew Expired Passport in San Antonio, then we at Texas Passport Center offer services like New Passport, Passport Renewal, Add Extra Passport Pages, Lost or Stolen Passport, and many more. We give our services in Houston and the surrounding regions of Texas.
Texas Passport Center offers all passport services and several passport processing options depending on your situation. Whether it’s your new passport, or you need to renew passport in Texas, our professionals are well versed in the details of the passport application process.