With a few exceptions, a passport is required for all US citizens to depart and enter the United States and to enter most foreign countries. Persons who travel to a country where a US passport is not required should be in possession of documentary evidence of their US citizenship and identity to facilitate reentry into the United States. Travelers should check passport and visa requirements with consular officials of the countries to be visited well in advance of their departure date.
Application for a passport may be made at a passport agency, many federal and state courts, probate courts, some county and municipal offices, and some post offices. The thirteen major cities with US passport agencies are Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Norwalk, Conn., Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
All persons are required to obtain individual passports in their own names. Neither spouses nor children may be included in each other's passports. Applicants age 14 years and older must appear in person before the clerk or agent executing the application if it is their first time applying. For children age 13 and under, a parent or legal guardian may execute an application for them.
First-time passport applicants must apply in person. Applicants must present the following items at a passport facility:
Passport renewals can be handled through the mail in some instances. You may apply by mail if:
In order to apply for a renewal by mail, you must fill out and submit Form DSP-82, which can be obtained at a passport facility or downloaded from the Web site. Attach to it the following:
Normal processing time for a passport application is 25 working days. However, it is recommended that you apply for your passport several months in advance of your planned departure. If you will need visas from foreign embassies, allow more time. If you need to leave in a hurry, you may expedite the process for an additional fee of $35 per passport. When requesting expedited service, two-way overnight mail for each application is strongly suggested. If you are applying by mail and wish to have your processing expedited, clearly mark the envelope Expendted. You should receive your passport in 7-10 business days if using expedited service and two-way overnight delivery, depending upon the reliability of your overnight service.
If your passport is lost or stolen, report the loss on Form DSP-64 when you apply, in person, for your new passport. If you are abroad, report the loss immediately to local police authorities and the nearest US embassy or consulate. Remember to write your current address in the space provided in your passport, so that, if it is found, it can be returned to you.
The State Dept. suggests you make two copies of the identification page-one to leave with a friend or relative at home in case of an emergency, and one to keep with you in the event that your passport is lost or stolen while abroad. This will make it easier to get a new passport, should it be necessary. It is also a good idea to carry two extra passport-size photos with you.
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