One of the best investments you’ll ever make, in my opinion, is applying for your passport. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. It opens up the world to you, offering you an endless supply of new destinations, experiences and opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. Imagine having a wonderful but unexpected opportunity to travel someplace you’ve ALWAYS wanted to go, but you can’t, because you don’t have your passport. How disappointing! Don’t let that happen to you!
With the world on pause, now is a great time to apply ....because once travel does open back up, you won't want to wait!
How and where you apply depends much on how soon you need your passport and why you need your passport. How fast you receive your passport also depends on a number of factors.
So let’s delve right into the intricacies of passport applications. There are 5 steps to apply:
Fill out or download your form.
Submit supporting US citizen documents.
Submit 2 good photos.
Pay your passport application fees.
Submit your application.
What form should you use? This passport wizard will prepare you to apply for a U.S. passport, whether it’s your first time applying, you need to renew, or you want to get a passport for your child. Form Finder
Read more below on where and how to apply.
PROCESSING TIMES Right now, the processing times (as of the date of this article) is 10-12 weeks for a routine passport application. Expedited applications are taking 4-6 weeks. Expedited passport processing can be used for renewing a passport or for first-time applicants.
WHERE TO APPLY Where to apply depends on when you need your passport.
LESS THAN 4 WEEKS FROM TODAY: If you have urgent international travel plans within 72 hours (3 business days) and want to expedite your passport at an Agency or Center – a limited number of appointments are available here: Passport Agencies – Restrictions apply
Passports for minors: Children under 16 must apply for a passport in person with two parents or guardians.
Fill out Form DS-11.
Obtain a copy of their birth certificate.
Provide 2 photos.
16 and 17 year olds can apply themselves, but be aware parental awareness needs to be established, either by a parent accompanying them, or a signed statement okaying their passport application. A photocopy of the parent(s) signing the document must accompany the statement.
You cannot renew your child’s passport. Passports for children under age 16 are only valid for 5 years. Passports for applicants age 16 and older are valid for 10 years.
Giving yourself enough time and being organized make getting your passport a fairly stress-free process. Once you do have your passport, you will be exposed to new cultures and can escape to anywhere your heart desires.