How to Obtain a U.S. Passport for a Permanent Resident

Passports provide proper identification for international travelers.
Passports provide proper identification for international travelers. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Prior to traveling internationally, it is required that you obtain a United States passport if you don't already carry one. Passports provide information such as your name, address, birth date and nationality-- as well as a photo -- to help customs officials in both the United States and other countries easily identify you. Obtaining a U.S. passport for a permanent resident requires a proper application and payment of fees.

Apply in person to obtain a United States passport. Use the U.S. Department of State's website at to find locations in your area where you can apply for a passport. Generally, these are U.S. Post Offices or passport offices.

Obtain and fill out the application for a U.S. Passport -- form DS-11 -- online or at the designated passport agency in your area. After filling the form out online, print it out, as you must submit it in person for filing. Do not sign the form until the representative at the office tells you to do so. The representative at the passport center must witness your signature.

Get a passport photo taken. The photo must be in color, 2-by-2 inches in size, printed on photograph paper and taken within the last six months. Do not wear a hat, sunglasses, uniform or unusual clothing in the photograph, so that you are easily recognizable.

Submit the form in person, along with proof of your U.S. citizenship, current identification and passport photograph. A birth certificate, previous U.S. passport, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship will provide citizenship. A valid driver's license, government or military identification card, naturalization certificate or previous U.S. passport provides proper identification. For all identification forms, you must provide photocopies of the front and back of the document with your passport application. If you do not have any of these forms with you at the time you submit your passport application, the agency will not accept your application.

Pay the passport application fee. The fee is dependent upon what type of passport you applied for, as well as whether you have requested delivery of the passport be expedited to your residence.

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