Do you need a new passport? If you’re 16yrs or older, born in the United States, and never had a passport (or a child passport only) – yes, you need a new passport. There are many instances however where those who have had a passport must apply for a new passport again. Applying for a passport can be confusing and very time consuming if you don’t have the right information. The first step is to make sure a New Passport is what you really need. Each passport service that you need has different forms to fill out that coincide with each process.

Filling out the wrong forms or filling them incorrectly can cause delays and/or suspension of your application.

New Passport Eligibility

DS-11 passport form

DS-11 Application

You will need to apply for a New Passport and fill out a DS-11 form if:

    • You are applying for your First US Passport
    • Your Passport was issued more than 15 years ago
    • The applicant is under the age of 16
    • Your passport was issued when you were under the age of 16
    • Your Passport has been Lost, Stolen or Damaged
    • Your name has changed and you do not have legal documentation to verify the new name

New Passport Application

Now that you have established that you need New Passport services let’s get started! The first step is going to be to fill out your DS-11 application. Although you can acquire this form at the post office the best way to fill it out is online. This causes less errors and reduces the chance of a suspension. If you do fill it out by hand make sure it is done in black ink and that the writing is legible.

New Passport Documents

Next you will need to get all your Documentation together. You will need to bring all the following Documentation with you to the Acceptance Clerk:

    • Proof of Citizenship – State issued Birth Certificate or certified copy. Expired undamaged Passport.  Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization papers. All these Documents must be originals and will be returned with your New Passport.
    • Proof of Identification – Back and front copy of your state issued ID or driver’s license. ID must have been issued for 6 months or longer this includes renewals. If your ID has been issued for less than 6 months or you do NOT have an ID you will need Secondary forms of ID.
    • Government Fee – Money order or check (not starter checks) for the total that is specified on the product service and fee page of your DS-11. Amount varies depending on which products you order as well as what service time you need.  The check should be made out to the US Department of State. Do NOT abbreviate this as it will cause delays in your service.
    • Passport Photo – (1) passport photo. Must be 2″ x 2″ with white background.
    • DS11 Application Completed application printed and unsigned.

Passport Acceptance Agent

Finally once you have all your documentation together you are ready to head to the Acceptance Clerk. This will be the person that checks to make sure you have all the proper documents, goes over DS-11 application and then verifies your identification and has you take an oath. You will then sign your application and all your documents will be sealed in an envelope. From there they will either mail it out or if you are using an expediting company you will take it with you.

Common New Passport Questions

Can my passport application be denied?

Passport applications may be denied or rejected for several reasons. The most common reason is missing the necessary documents - if the Birth Certificate (when required), the Letter of Authorization, proper photographs, correct fee, or the itinerary. Also, passports will be denied for the following reasons: outstanding child support, outstanding felony/criminal warrant (not including civil infractions or parking tickets), or prior felony conviction that prohibits international travel. Please be advised that the Department of State has the right to request additional documents at their discretion.

Can U.S. passport forms be copied or faxed?

No. You must use the original forms downloaded from the State Department website.

Do I need a US passport?

American citizens require passports to exit and enter the US and all other countries in the world. It is required that you carry the correct identification while traveling abroad. You will need a passport to travel every time you leave the United States or its territories. There is one exception to this rule for American citizens, traveling by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda - a passport card can be used.

How long is my US passport valid?

A passport's validity is generally determined by the applicant's age. In the US, passports issued for adults ages 16 and older are valid for 10 years. Children 15 years of age and under receive passports valid for 5 years. There are two primary exceptions to this rule: a second passport is valid for 2 years and an emergency passport is valid for 1 year. In some instances, when replacing a lost passport, for example, the Department of State may issue a passport with lesser validity (usually 1 or 2 years).

What is a Passport Acceptance Facility?

A Passport Acceptance Facility is a place where you can apply for a US Passport. In general, they are located within your local post office or county clerk.

What is a passport?

A passport is a document, normally in the form of a small book that has several functions. A passport enables a person to travel outside of the borders of their home country. Although a passport does not automatically grant the holder the right to enter any country, US and Canadian passport holders can travel to many countries without obtaining any further documentation (such as visas) prior to taking the trip. A passport also functions as proof of citizenship, so a person holding a U.S. Passport is internationally recognized as a US citizen. In cases when visas are required, the visa stamps or stickers are placed on the pages of the passport. Border control officials will also stamp the pages of the passport with entry and exit stamps upon entering or exiting a country.

What legal reasons would prevent me from obtaining a passport?

If you are currently on probation, owe more than $2,500 in child support, are wanted for arrest and have been summoned to appear in court on charges, or are currently in prison.

Why do I need to appear in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility?

If you are applying for a new passport or replacing a lost passport, you must appear in person at the nearest Passport Acceptance Facility. This is necessary for the Acceptance Agent to verify your identity. You will be asked to swear an oath that you have been honest in your application, and you will need to sign the application in front of the Acceptance Agent (do not sign the application before you get there!). Once the Acceptance Agent is satisfied and your identity has been confirmed, he or she will seal the appropriate documents into an envelope.

Why would a traveler need a second passport?

Second passports are often requested by those who travel frequently. If you are unable to wait for a visa to be issued you may request a second passport in order to travel while getting a visa for your next destination at the same time. Another reason to apply for a second passport is for travelers who have Israeli stamps in their current passport but who also need to travel to countries where any evidence of travel to Israel will bar you from entry. When approved, second passports are usually only issued for two years but may be extended.

Common Passport Documentation Questions

I was born abroad. How do I get a birth certificate?

If either or both of your parents is/was a U.S. citizen when you were born abroad, either or both of your parent(s) should/should have registered your birth at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and, obtain/received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240. This form is good enough to be a legal proof of birth and U.S. citizenship.

What if I cannot find my birth certificate?

If you have had a previous passport, you can do a file search and the passport agency will look up your old passport for a fee of $150 and a letter requesting a file search; you can use an old, in good condition passport for proof of citizenship; you can also order a birth certificate on-line or obtain one from the county you were born in.

Where can I get a copy of my Birth Certificate?

An official Certificate of Birth should be on file in the locality where the event occurred. The Federal Government does not maintain files or indexes of these records. These records are filed permanently in a State’s vital statistics office or in a city, county, or other local office. To obtain a certified copy of the Birth Certificate, write or go to the vital statistics office in the State or area where you were born. For expedited services you can use Vitalchek (www.vitalchek.com) or Vitaldocs (www.vitaldocs.com).

Will I get my birth certificate back?

Yes, all your legal documentation will be returned to you. Sometimes it is included in the same envelope with your passport, however occasionally they will follow in a separate mailing.