How to Get a New Passport

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U.S. Passport
U.S. Passport (Image: U.S. Dept. of State)

The passport is the basic and essential document for travel abroad. Airlines won't even let you board an international flight unless you present one at check-in. Whether you are a first-time world traveler or an old hand who has a passport that is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, here's what you need in order to get a new passport.

Complete form DS-11 (see Resources below).

Gather evidence of American citizenship. This can be furnished either through a certified U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate or a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship. Your driver's license will not be enough.

Appear in person at a legal acceptance facility. Lists of local acceptance facilities are available from the Department of State (see Resources below).

Present legal identification. Beyond proof of citizenship, you will need to prove who you are. This can be done with a valid driver's license, government or military ID, or a Naturalization Certificate.

Provide two passport photos.

Pay the $100 application fee. Expedited service is an extra $60. Checks, credit and debit cards, and money orders are accepted, but usually not cash.

Download and fill out form DS-82 (see Resources below).

Submit by mail. If you are renewing your passport within the United States or Canada, simply mail the form to the Department of State (see Resources below).

Appear in person at a U.S. Embassy. If you are abroad, renewing your passport requires you to appear in person at the local Embassy.

Report it missing or stolen at (877) 487-2778, between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST Monday through Friday (excepting Federal holidays).

Download and fill out both form DS-11 and form DS-64 (see Resources below).

Appear in person and submit the forms at an acceptance facility or a U.S. Embassy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once issued, a passport is valid for 10 years. If you fill your passport's pages up with visas and entry-exit stamps, you do not need to replace it. Instead, submit it to the Department of State or a U.S. Embassy for extra pages.
  • Unless expedited, expect getting a new passport to take several weeks.

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