Easy steps on how to complete your new passport application form as well as understanding first time passport requirements.
Follow below for a simple step by step guide to understanding the process of applying for a new passport. Also read the FAQ from past travelers or ask your own question for assistance.
US Passport Application
The first step is clicking here to start the online application. You will be able to fill it out securely online at the site of the US Department of State.
Start off by selecting "First Time Passport" even if you had a child passport before. It will prompt you to fill in your personal information including date of birth and social security number.
After that you can select your processing time which will either be "regular" or "expedited". Contact one of the passport expedite services listed below if you need your passport back in less than two weeks.
Important Note: When you get to the last step, scroll down and then click "Create Form" on the bottom left corner. Once the form is created you can print it out. But wait to sign it until you have the application reviewed by the acceptance agent.
2012 New Passport Requirements
After completing the application above, prepare and gather the following supporting documents.
To qualify, you must be older than 15 and currently without a passport. If your passport was lost, stolen or damaged then follow our guidelines here.
You will need to submit a copy of your valid driver's license along with the rest of the documents.
The Passport Agency requires either the original or certified birth certificate if you were born in the United States. They will send you back both the new passport and birth certificate. If you were born outside the US, include an original document showing your proof of citizenship.
$110 is the amount that needs to be paid to the US Dept. of State. Or you can pay $170 instead if you need expedite processing. An additional $25 fee will need to be paid for at the post office to the acceptance agent.
Once you have completed the above steps, take all of the documents to your local post office. The acceptance agent will need to review and then witness you signing your application.
While the acceptance agent is reviewing your application package at the post office, you can have your passport-style photograph taken while you are there.
Travel Passport Expedite Services>
There are numerous passport expedite services available. Take some time to read reviews to make sure you are hiring a reputable company to handle your travel documents.
I recommend FastPort Passport Service. Since 2003 Fastport has provided online passport expedite service. They are a registered courier service with the U.S. Department of State, foreign consulates and embassies which enables them to secure passports and visas for U.S. citizens nationwide as needed.
Should I get a passport book or the passport card? I recommend getting the passport book. It allows you to travel internationally everywhere. The passport card only allows you to travel by land or sea within North America.
I don't know where my US passport is...how do I get back to the United States? This happens more often than you would think. The US Embassy in the country you are visiting will be able to help you out. They have a system set up to help Americans abroad who either lose their passport or get it stolen.
International Travel Reviews
I highly recommend TripAdvisor to seek out travel reviews after reading the reviews of past travelers here.
After filling out your new passport application form and getting ready to plan your exciting vacation, you will need to do some flight comparisons. Do try to keep in mind not just price comparisons but also taking a look at the overall flight time. Some international flights have long wait times with transfers which can be quite the strain on your patience.
Also consider the reviews of past travelers to see how comfortable the planes are with that airline. How much legroom will you have, how many seats are in the plane? If you are going to be on a long flight then comfort should definitely factor into the price.