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How to apply, renew, or quickly get a passport. Also, learn how to get a passport for a child, check the status of your application, and how much it costs to get a passport.

Infographic: How to Get or Renew a U.S. Passport

This infographic provides a simple, step-by-step guide for how to apply for a new passport or renew one you have.

View a larger version of the infographic.

Apply for a U.S. Passport

Eligibility

To have a U.S. passport, you need to be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization or be a qualifying U.S. national.

Passport Book and Passport Card

Depending on where you are traveling outside of the U.S., you will need to determine if you need a passport book or a passport card.

  • A passport book is required for all international travel by air.
  • To enter the United States at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, you can use a passport book or a passport card.
  • A passport card is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book, but it cannot be used for international travel by air.

How to Apply

The application process is the same for either the passport book or card, even if you want both at the same time. You have to go in person to present your application.

From Within the United States

  • If you need to get a passport in three weeks or less, you will need an expedited process. To find out where you need to go and what additional fees you’ll pay, follow the steps to get a passport quickly.
  • If you will be traveling in more than three weeks, you can follow the regular application process and apply in person at a passport acceptance facility.

From Outside the United States

2019 wp-content 01 Index uploads Items You Need to Apply for a U.S. Passport

Renew a U. S. Passport

Every person, regardless of age, must have their own passport to travel internationally by air.

Eligibility

To have a U.S. passport, you need to be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization or be a qualifying U.S. national.

You can renew your current or expired U.S. passport 2019 wp-content 01 Index uploads unless your passport was:

  • Issued before your 16th birthday
  • 2019 wp-content 01 Index uploads Issued 15 or more years ago
  • Id Brightcove Tip Reference Quick
  • Damaged, lost, or stolen
  • Issued in your previous name and you don’t have a legal document like a marriage license to prove your legal name change

If any of these are true, you cannot renew your passport. Instead, you must apply for a new passport in person using form DS-11.

How to Renew Your Passport

  • If you need to get a passport quickly--in three weeks or less--you will need to have your passport renewal expedited and pay additional fees.
    • Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a  Regional Passport Agency. There are two options for getting an appointment:
    • At your appointment, you’ll need to provide proof of immediate travel, an expedited fee, and the items listed below to renew your passport.
  • If you will be traveling in more than three weeks, you can submit an application by mail.

If you live outside the U.S. or Canada: Contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate near you for information and forms on all passports requested from overseas.

Items You Need to Renew Your Passport

The Passport Services Office returns the official documents you submit as supporting documentation.

Tips on When to Renew Your Passport

  • Renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires.
  • Check the expiration date because certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you don't meet this requirement.
  • If you travel frequently, check the “52 page” box at the top of your passport application to receive a larger passport book with 52 pages.

For more information, see these frequently asked questions about passports

Get a Passport Quickly

You could ask and pay for expedited service if:

  • 2019 wp-content 01 Index uploads Traveling in 24-48 hoursfor an emergency such as a serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family
  • Traveling within 2-3 weeks as you are able to provide proof of immediate international travel (for example, purchased airline or cruise tickets)

For the above, you need to follow the steps for expedited service request in person:

  1. Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a passport agency. There are two options to make an appointment: 

  2. With an appointment, submit your request in person at a regional passport agency

If your trip is not within 2-3 weeks, but you need your U.S. passport more quickly than the normal processing period of 6 to 8 weeks, you can request expedited service by mail or in person at a passport acceptance facility near you.  

In addition to the regular passport application costs, the expedited service will cost an extra $60, plus any delivery costs.

Infographic: 8 Steps to Apply for a Child's Passport

2019 wp-content 01 Index uploads This infographic explains the forms and documents you'll need and where you'll need to take your child to get a U.S. passport.

View a larger version of the infographic.

Passports for Minors Under the Age of 18

All children must apply or reapply for a U.S. passport in person at a passport acceptance facility.

  • Children under 16 need parental consent and their parents must:
    • Be present with their children
    • Co-sign the application
  • Children ages 16-17 applying for a passport can do it by themselves if they have their own identification documents.  A parent will need to provide a signed statement saying they're aware that their child is seeking a passport, or attend the appointment with them.  

Find resources about passports and custody disputes and how parents may enroll their children who are U.S. citizens under the age of 18 in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).

If you are living overseas, contact a U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where you are for information on how to apply for your child's passport.

Passport Fees

Fees for renewing or getting a new passport depend on several factors such as if you are just getting a passport card or if you opt for expedited service. The passport application fee and the execution fee are non-refundable. They are collected and retained by law even if a passport is not issued. 

If you are outside the U.S. and are renewing or applying for a new passport, ask your nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate what forms of payment they are able to accept.

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Last Updated: June 17, 2019