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How to Apply for a U.S. Passport: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have recently become a U.S. citizen, you may be wondering how to obtain a U.S. passport! Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do just that. 

  1. Fill out or download the DS-11 Form: The Application for a U.S. Passport (DS-11) Form should be completed if you are applying for a passport for the first time or if you are applying for your child under the age of 16. A Renewal Application (DS-82) should be completed to renew your passport. Note that children under 16 cannot renew their passports and must apply using Form DS-11. You should not sign the application until instructed to do so by the acceptance agent. 
  2. Bring a payment method for applicable fees: You will need to pay a fee for your passport or passport card. If you are applying for the first time, and you are over the age of 16, you will pay a $130 application fee for the passport book, a $30 application fee for the passport card, or a $160 application fee for both the passport book and card. All products are subject to an execution fee of $35. The application and execution fee are paid separately – expedited service is available for an additional $60. For renewal of passport for an adult, you will have to pay the above application fee for the product you are purchasing. For more fee information, visit
  3. Bring a good passport-style photo: You must provide a passport-style photo with your passport application. The photo should be a color photo taken in the last 6 months that provides a clear image of your face. Filters commonly used on social media are not recommended. Selfies are prohibited and eyeglasses should be taken off. A white or off-white background without shadows, texture, or lines is required. 
  4. Bring U.S. citizenship documents: When submitting your Application for a U.S. Passport, you must submit primary evidence of U.S. citizenship. Your evidence must be an original or certified physical copy. A certified copy is any document that has the seal or stamp of the official issuing authority. Primary evidence of U.S. citizenship includes your most recently issued passport (expired passports are accepted) or your original U.S. birth certificate. If you were born outside the U.S., you should submit your U.S. passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship. If you cannot provide primary evidence, you must submit secondary evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a delayed birth certificate or Letter of No Record. 
  5. Bring a photo ID/ Provide a photocopy of photo ID: When applying for a passport, you must bring photo identification and a photocopy of your photo identification. The photocopy must be legible, on white 8.5”x11”, black and white and single sided. The photo identification must readily identify you. Examples include an in-state valid driver’s license (with photo), Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or current valid foreign passport. 
  6. Additional Considerations:
    • If you are applying for your first U.S. passport and you are under 16 years old; your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under 16 years old; your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged; or your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago, you must apply for your passport in person. 
    • You must submit your completed application, supporting documents, photo, and fees in person at a passport acceptance facility if applying inside the U.S. If you are applying outside the U.S., you should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate to find a location. 
    • You may renew a passport by mail or online if you already have a passport. You can also correct information in your passport or report it lost or stolen.  

For more information, be sure to visit the Department of State website