How to get a passport

A passport is an internationally recognized document that identifies the bearerís identity and country of origin. A valid US passport is required for entry and exit in most foreign countries. The US Department of State is the only agency authorized to grant or validate a US passport, but they are not difficult to obtain.

To get a passport for the first time, you will have to go in person to a passport acceptance facility. These facilities include Federal, State, and probate courts, Post Offices, a number of county and municipal offices and even some public libraries. You will be required to have two photographs of yourself, proof of US citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driverís license or state ID card.

Be sure to gather your documents prior to appearing in person and be sure to verify that your documents are acceptable before appearing. You will also want to check if an appointment is necessary, as many facilities require one. Once you appear at an issuing facility, you will be required to fill out a form. Forms are available online from the US Department of State, but you must not sign the form before an Acceptance Agent instructs you to do so. Application forms request information such as name, address, physical characteristics, and family history. A recent photograph will also need to be attached.

For a minor to acquire a US passport they must also appear in person and parental consent is normally required. The total fee for obtaining a first-time passport for individuals 16 and over is $97.00 and the total for anyone under the age of 16 is $82.00. Renewal of passports for people over 16 costs $67.00. For additional information on obtaining a passport you should contact government agency in your area or visit the US Department of Stateís website.