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Do you know how to get a passport?

Before you set out to apply for a visa for travel, you must know how to get a passport.

Your passport, an official Government document obtained from the United States Department of State, serves as an proof of identity and is also crucial to verify your citizenship.

Since January 23, 2007, you need to obtain a valid passport for travel not only to distant foreign countries but also to travel between U.S. and Canada, Central America, South America, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

If you applying for your first U.S. visa, be aware that it’s going to take quite some time to get it. You must therefore apply for a passport well in advance before your scheduled date of travel.

Although the current passport rules apply only for air travel, travelers will be expected to carry a passport even for crossing land borders from January 1, 2008. These changes in regulations will apply to all American citizens who have returned from other countries.

To begin with, you need to fill out application forms as per the United States Passport Application and Renewal Guide instructions when applying for a passport.

In case you have changed your name, you will have to furnish a certified copy of the legal document that confirms your name change along with your photographs.

Submission of passport application is pretty simple and you may either visit the passport agency personally to submit the form or you may also mail it to a recognized passport facility. In case you prefer to mail your application, make sure that you attach an identity proof with your application.

You may expect to receive your passport within a period of thirty to forty two days. However, in case of emergency or if you require a passport urgently, you may obtain it within ten to fourteen days against an expedite fee.

Make sure that the entire application procedure is in tune with the U.S. Passport Application and Renewal Guide, which is a vital document.

For obtaining your passport urgently, you may consider one of the three options listed below:

  • Send your passport application via mail through the County Clerks Office or the USPS.

  • Personally visit a Passport Agency – You may get your expedited passport in less than twenty-four hours if you are lucky. However, this will greatly depend on the rush and the particular passport agency. With million of citizens struggling to get an expedited passport each year, this period may vary.

  • Contact a US passport courier service for expedited passport to represent you in the passport agency.

Passport fees (as per U.S. Department of State as on March 8, 2005)

Age sixteen and above - $97
Below 16 years of age - $82

For expedited passport - additional $60 for every application.

Passport renewal is required before it expires usually fifteen years from the issue date. If you are a American citizen staying in a foreign country, you need to renew you passport at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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Passport and visa services.