How To Obtain USA Passports

by garrett on September 13, 2011

American passports are required whenever entering or leaving this and other countries. This is a requirement all over the world and it is date stamped upon entering foreign locations. This identifies the length of time you are allowed to visit as well as providing identification if requested by authorities or other entities. It must be in your possession at all times.

Where Are You Going?

At one time, it was very easy to visit Canada by showing your driver’s license at the border. Because of terrorist acts in various places, a passport or passport card is now required. This identification must be shown to Canadian authorities upon entering the country and to American authorities when re-entering.


All new passports must be handled by an authorized agent of the U. S. Government. They are located in a number of places, including post offices, court clerks, public libraries and other places. Applications from outside the U. S., for minors under 16, for those 16 and 17 and for diplomats as well as no-fee passports require special handling. In addition, standard processing time is 4 to 6 weeks. However, it is possible to have it expedited (2 to 3 weeks) for an extra $60 fee.

First Time Passports

If this is the first time a passport is being requested, an application, available online or from the authorized agent, must be filled out. It can only be signed in the agent’s presence. At that time you must also show your Social Security card, evidence of citizenship, other identification and a photo for the passport. Some places, such as the post office, can provide a photo for a fee.

Evidence Of Citizenship

Under the “evidence of citizenship” required documents, there are a number of options. They include one of the following: a certified US or birth abroad certificate, a naturalized or citizenship certificate or a previously issued passport (undamaged).

Passport Renewal

Other procedures are possible if renewing a passport. For example, renewing by mail is possible under the following conditions. Your current passport must be undamaged, issued within the past 15 years and when you were 16 years or older. It is surrendered along with other documents as required on the application form. People who are not current on child support payments cannot obtain a passport.

Lost Or Stolen Passports

Making a visit abroad can provide new adventures and be very exciting. Unfortunately, sometimes this document, required to return to this country, is either stolen or lost. Should this happen to you, it is necessary to go to the nearest U. S. Embassy or consulate and make application for a new one. They can issue a limited validity certificate. However, this will not allow you back into the US. A special application must be made and it takes several weeks to obtain the legal document required to re-enter the US.

Having USA passports is a privilege and provides the freedom to travel to many places throughout the world by boat, land or air, experiencing adventures often only dreamed of. As such, it is a very valuable possession that needs to be protected at all times. It identifies you as a citizen, allowing you to come and go as you please. Make sure you know if you need a passport or a USA passport card.

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