The Process Of Getting A Passport Is Quite Easy

by erin on May 6, 2011

A major portion of world wide travelers are Americans now, whatever the purpose- commercial or personal. Getting a passport is essential as it is the most valuable official paper that enables such travels. This document acts as an identity card besides the fact that it enables hassle free travel to anywhere in the world for whatever purpose.

Simple Process

That being the case, one may expect that getting a passport is a huge task for a lot of citizens, especially if they are first timers. They are confused about the procedures. The process is actually not so complicated.

Passport Services

Passport services, a division of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, is entrusted with the responsibility of issuing as well as renewing passports of US citizens. It runs sixteen offices spread across the US. In addition to these offices, around nine thousand secondary units for issuing and renewing passports also function in various parts of the country. All present day passports are biometric containing physically readable and machine readable portions.

Required Documents

A certified copy of the birth certificate is a prerequisite for applying. If you had one before a copy of the existing document will suffice. Citizens born in other countries should produce required papers from the Consular Report of Birth Abroad to prove their claim to US travel documents.

Application Form

The process begins with filling the application form. An application form must be obtained from the US Postal Service. It can be downloaded too. There are different types of forms to be used depending on the nature of the travel document applied for. New applicants and those who got their previous passports before they were sixteen years old need to fill Form DS-11. Applicants not belonging to these two categories have to fill Form DS-82 and send it by mail. In the case of lost or stolen passports, Form DS-64 is to be filled and submitted in order to inform the matter to Passport Services of the Department of States.

Service Fees

The fee required to be paid for the services is dependent on the nature of services that are needed by you. Two small photos are also needed. Countries where you need a visa to enter may ask for more photographs. So it is better to be in possession of more photographs.

Wait Time

Once the form is submitted and the fee paid, a period of about five to six weeks is taken by the authorities for processing the application and delivering the document through mail. It may even take more than that during peak seasons when the number of applicants are more. People who can not wait that long can go for expedited services wherein a travel document can be made available in two weeks time if you are ready to pay a huge sum including delivery charges. In emergency situations, however, you can get one within a day.

New Changes

There may be changes in the requirement of various documents. Rules for issuing or renewing the US passports are decided by the Passport Services of the Departments of State. These may change from time to time. For getting an urgent passport, we need to keep abreast of such changes.

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