Getting or Renewing a U.S. Passport

How to apply, renew, or quickly get a passport.

How to Get or Renew a U.S. Passport

This infographic provides a simple, step-by-step guide for how to apply for a new passport or renew one you have.

Infographic showing the steps to renew or apply for a U.S. passport.

Infographic showing the steps to renew or apply for a U.S. passport. View a larger version of the infographic.

RENEW a passport by mail

You can renew your passport only if it's undamaged and all of the following apply:

  • It was issued less than 15 years ago.
  • You were 16 or older when you got it.
  • It’s in your current name (or you can legally document the name change).

What you’ll need to provide

  • Form DS-82
  • Your eligible passport book
  • Proof of name change if your name is different than the one on your old passport (marriage certificate or court order)
  • Color passport photo
  • Fee payment (check or money order)

For more information, see https://travel.state.gov/renew

Apply for a NEW passport in person

For any of the following:

  • It’s your first passport.
  • Your last passport was damaged or lost.
  • Your last passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
  • Your name has changed and you have no supporting legal documents.
  • It’s for a child under age 16.

To get a new passport, you must go to a local passport acceptance facility. Some passport acceptance facilities require appointments. Many provide passport photos for a fee.

Find a nearby location: https://iafdb.travel.state.gov/

Passport acceptance facilities can be post offices, libraries, or county courts.

What you’ll need to provide

  • Form DS-11
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a birth or naturalization certificate)
  • Government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license or military ID)
  • Color passport photo
  • Fee payment (check or money order)

Additional requirements for a child’s passport

  • Proof of relationship to child
  • Both parents and the child must appear in person or submit a consent form signed by an absent parent.

For more information, see https://travel.state.gov/applyinperson

For more on children’s passports, see https://travel.state.gov/passports/children

How long does it take to get or renew a passport?

Processing times change seasonally. Always check https://travel.state.gov for current estimates. Typically:

  • Routine service - 6-8 weeks (by mail or in person)
  • Expedited service -2-3 weeks (by mail or in person)
  • Expedited service at agency locations - 8 business days, based on either of the following needs:
  • Immediate life or death emergency
  • Traveling within two weeks

Requirements for expedited service at passport agency locations

  • You must show proof of emergency or upcoming travel in person at one of 26 regional passport agencies.
  • You must have an appointment. Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to schedule one.

Passport Book vs. Passport Card

Passport Book

  • Required for all international air travel
  • Valid for all travel destinations
  • Valid for travel by air,land, or sea

Passport Card

  • Valid for international travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda only
  • Costs less than the passport book
  • Wallet-size

https://travel.state.gov/passports

1-877-487-2778 / 1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD) 24/7

Brought to you by USAGOV

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Apply for a U.S. Passport

Eligibility

To have a U.S. passport, you must be a U.S. citizen.

Passport Book and Passport Card

Depending on where you are traveling outside of the U.S., you will need to determine if you need a passport book or a passport card.

  • A passport book is required for all international travel by air.
  • To enter the United States at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, you can use a passport book or a passport card.
  • A passport card is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book, but it cannot be used for international travel by air.

How to Apply

The application process is the same for either the passport book or card, even if you want both at the same time. You have to go in person to present your application.

From Within the United States

  • If you need to get a passport in two weeks or less, you will need an expedited process. To find out where you need to go and what additional fees you’ll pay, follow the steps to get a passport quickly.
  • If you will be traveling in three weeks or more, you can follow the regular application process and apply in person at a passport acceptance facility.

From Outside the United States

Items You Need to Apply for a U.S. Passport

  • Application Form - To complete the application for a passport book, card, or both together, first do one of the following:
    • Fill out the application online. Use the Passport Application Wizard to step through the process of filling out the application. When you’ve completed the application, print it out to take to the passport acceptance facility. Passport applications cannot be submitted online.
    • Fill out the application by hand. Download the passport application form (DS-11) and instructions and complete the application by hand, or go to a local passport acceptance facility to get a copy to fill out.
      • Whether you fill it out online or by hand, it is important that you do not sign the form until you are instructed to do so in front of a passport designated official you will meet when applying in person.
  • Personal documents - You’ll need to bring all of the following:
    • An original proof of citizenship document
    • An acceptable photo ID document
    • A photocopy of the front and back of the photo ID document
  • Passport photo - Follow the photo requirements.
  • Payment - Calculate your passport fees.

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Renew a U. S. Passport

Every person, regardless of age, must have their own passport to travel internationally by air.

Eligibility

To have a U.S. passport, you need to be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization.

You can renew your current or expired U.S. passport unless your passport was:

  • Issued before your 16th birthday
  • Issued 15 or more years ago
  • Damaged, lost, or stolen
  • Issued in your previous name and you don’t have a legal document like a marriage license to prove your legal name change

If any of these are true, you cannot renew your passport. Instead, you must apply for a new passport in person using form DS-11.

How to Renew Your Passport

  • If you need to get a passport quickly--in two weeks or less--you will need to have your passport renewal expedited and pay additional fees.
    • Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a  Regional Passport Agency. For an automated appointment system available 24 hours a day, call 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.
    • At your appointment, you’ll need to provide proof of immediate travel, an expedited fee, and the items listed below to renew your passport.
  • If you will be traveling in three weeks or more, you can submit an application by mail.

If you live outside the U.S. or Canada: Contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate near you for information and forms on all passports requested from overseas.

Items You Need to Renew Your Passport

The Passport Services Office returns the official documents you submit as supporting documentation.

Tips on When to Renew Your Passport

  • Renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires.
  • Check the expiration date because certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you don't meet this requirement.
  • If you travel frequently, check the “52 page” box at the top of your passport application to receive a larger passport book with 52 pages.

For more information, see these frequently asked questions about passports

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Passports for Minors Under the Age of 18

All children must apply or reapply for a U.S. passport in person at a passport agency.

  • Children under 16 need parental consent and their parents must:
    • Be present with their children
    • Co-sign the application
  • Children ages 16-17 applying for a passport can do it by themselves if they have their own identification documents.  However, it is recommended that at least one parent appears in person with the child to show parental awareness. 

Find resources about passports and custody disputes and how parents may enroll their children who are U.S. citizens under the age of 18 in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP). 

If you are living overseas, contact a U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where you are for information on how to apply for your child's passport.

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Last Updated: August 04, 2017

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