The US Passport

March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

What is a US passport ?

A US passport is an internationally recognized travel document that confirms the identity and nationality of the passport holder. A U.S. passport is required for one to enter and exit most foreign countries. The U.S. Department of State is the sole authority that issues or verifies United States passports.

How long is the passport valid?

If you are 16 years or older when you got your passport, it is valid for ten years. If you are 15 years or younger when you got the passport, then it is valid for 5 years.

Where do I Apply?

You can apply for a passport at nearly 9,000 facilities nationwide that include many Federal, state, and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries, and a number of county and municipal offices. For more emergency cases, additionally there are 13 regional passport agencies and one Gateway City Agency that are designated to serve individuals who are to travel within 14 days, or who need foreign visas for their travel. In such cases, appointments are required.

Can all immigrants apply for a US passport?

No. Only those who were conferred American citizenship can apply for a US passport. Note that immigrants applying for US citizenship should file Form N-400, Application for Citizenship.

Applying in Person:

You have to apply for your U.S. passport in person if you applying for the first time. In addition to this, you should also apply in person if

  • your passport expired and is not in your possession;
  • your passport has expired and you got it more than 15 years ago.
  • your earlier passport was issued when you were below 16 years old.
  • you had a current U.S. passport and that it is lost or stolen.

If you are below 14 years old, you should appear in person, and be able to provide legal consent of your parents or legal guardians. It means that you (the minor) must either be accompanied by both guardians OR one guardian who can provide the other guardian’s notarized statement of consent OR one guardian who can submit sufficient evidence of being the soul authority to apply for the passport..

What to Bring:

To apply in person, you have to provide the following:

  • The appropriate Application Forms
  • Current Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • Current Identity Proof
  • Two Passport style photographs
  • Social Security Number
  • All the appropriate Fees

If you are below 14 years old, in addition to proof of U.S. Citizenship, you should also be able to provide proof of relationship to appearing parents/legal guardians.

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