Getting your passport can be one of two things. If you do it properly it can be a very exciting experience. If you are unprepared, it will just be a headache. If you are planning a trip abroad, whether it’s for a vacation, for work, or just for the heck of it you need that passport. And it will need to be valid, and up to date. If not, you will get stuck somewhere – and it might be Customs. You do not want to be stuck at Customs. Especially in another country. So, here is what you do to acquire your passport:
Apply in person
This is the best way to make sure that you are able to obtain a passport. This is especially so if you are under 18, or this is the first time that you are applying. You also have to apply in person if you have had a change of name, or if you have had a passport in the past. It’s best to apply in person so you are aware of the progression of your application. You can apply at your local US post Office.
Give yourself time
If you are going overseas in less than three months, you absolutely must apply as soon as you can. This is because sometimes it can take up to several months to receive your passport. Do not wait until the last minute, especially if you are a minor, or have recently changed your name. You will not get a passport within a few weeks (depending on how long it takes, you may get it within a few weeks, but you should never gamble on it happening), it usually takes months to receive it in the mail.
Where to go
You can get a passport at most post offices, a Passport Agency, or an Acceptance Facility (which can be looked up online). You must fill out an application called a Form DS-11, and you have to sign it when prompted by an Acceptance Agent. You cannot sign it alone. You can fill it out by yourself, but it has to be signed in front of an agent.
What to bring
Of course you will need forms of identification, that is a given, but you must know what you need. You will need:
~Birth Certificate and/or Social Security card
~Form of ID (a photo ID)
~Your filled out DS 11 form
Money for the fee
A passport photo (which can be obtained at most agencies, or a drugstore that will take them and make them for you)
Now all you have to do is wait. Your passport application will be processed and if you are not a wanted felon you will get your passport, which believe it or not is such a freeing feeling. You will have the knowledge that you can go anywhere at any time and with anyone because you have a passport. Hopefully you won’t have to wait long to get the passport. If you need any information or have further questions you should contact your agency or ask online at the passport website.