Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting a Passport Book

I applied for a passport book today. Although it was not that difficult to figure out what I needed to do, it was difficult enough to warrant a summary of my own.

Before I get started, did you notice how I said "passport book" instead of just "passport"? That is because there is also something called a passport card. A passport book allows you to do everything that a passport card can do and more. The main benefit of a passport card is that it is cheaper. There are some other differences as well.

My instructions apply for
  • a native born US citizen that is
  • at least 18 years old and
  • applying for a passport (book) for the first time.
What to bring:
  1. All pages of the form on this page with the last two pages filled out.
  2. A certified birth certificate (where "certified" means that it has a raised seal). Note that it does not have to be the original. They will keep your birth certificate and mail it to you with your passport book.
  3. A driver's license.
  4. A photocopy of the front side of your driver's license on one page and a photocopy of the back side of your driver's license on a second page. If this is too difficult, they can (probably) make these copies for you where you apply. They did where I applied.
  5. Two recent pictures of yourself that satisfy many requirements (see step 6) or just apply at a location that can take your picture for you (see below).
  6. The ability to pay a $75 application fee (via check or debit card) and a $25 execution fee (via check, debit card, or credit card).
Finally, bring these materials to an "acceptance facility", which is otherwise known as "a place to apply for a passport". I recommend that you find an acceptance facility that can take your picture "on-site" since their requirements on the pictures are so strict.

See you abroad.

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