How The Process Works
Applying for an initial or replacement passport is not a complicated task. However, the process does require the correct paperwork for each type of passport. Following page instructions and using the checklists provided ensures that applicants have the correct documents and types of identification needed for acquiring a passport.
Passport Application Forms
Individuals find the various passport application forms online under each passport product page. The site allows applicants to print blank forms and fill them out manually. Applicants may also fill the forms out online by typing in the required information and printing the completed form.
· Whether applying for a new passport, or a replacement for a stolen or lost passport, applicants must NOT sign the DS-11 form until instructed to do so when standing before the acceptance agent or a county clerk.
· Print each form on its own page. Do not create double-sided documents. Make sure to print the number of forms required. Some documents require two identical copies.
· The signatures on all forms must match. Applicants cannot allow other people to sign documents for them. Sometimes people’s signatures change over the years. When this happens, individuals must provide current identification having the updated signature.
· Application forms and identification documents must appear neat without corrections or any signs of damage. Agents will not accept coffee stained, torn or wrinkled papers. Using correction fluid is also not acceptable.
· Use blue or black ink pens when filling out or signing documents.
Follow the checklists and acquire the necessary forms for each individual passport product. With the exception of the “add passport” page and the “passport renewal” page, applicants must provide extensive forms of personal identification and proof of citizenship. Identification documents include the printed front and back of a driver’s license that is more than six months old. Applicants must also provide three additional forms of identification that bear the individual’s name, picture or signature.
Parents applying for a child passport must provide proof of their identification in addition to supplying proof of relationship to the child. These documents may be in the form of birth certificates or court documents. Parents must also take care to provide signatures where needed regardless of the age of the child.
Before appearing before an acceptance agent, applicants must ensure that they have accumulated all of the necessary documents and filled out the forms properly. Individuals must also sign and date forms in the appropriate areas. Place all of the documents in an envelope, along with the government fees. Address the envelope and write “To Be Opened by the U.S. Passport Office Only.” Do not seal the envelope.
The process generally requires two separate fees, which means using two separate checks or money orders. Applicants must be aware that facilities do not accept “starter checks” from new bank accounts or checks written by third parties. Applicants fill out the first check to the U.S. Department of State with the amount required for the particular type of passport. The acceptance agency requires an additional fee of $25. The “pay to” or name on this check must remain blank until the agent or county clerk instructs the applicant which individual or department requires the fee.
Appearing at the Acceptance Facility
Individuals typically take the envelope containing the required paperwork and fees to a county clerk at the local courthouse or to the post office. The acceptance person reviews all of the documents and witnesses the signing of the passport application form. Once reviewed and signed, the agent seals the envelope with the documents and the U.S. Department of State fee.
· If not processing the paperwork at the post office, individuals must inform the agent that they are hand carrying the application. If the agent displays reluctance in returning the envelope, suggest that he/she refer to page 31 of the Passport Agent’s Manual, specifically under “Hand-carrying of Executed Applications.”
· Once sealed by the acceptance agent, do not reopen the envelope. Doing so invalidates the application.