A new US passport is required for all Americans who wish to apply for visas or travel to other countries. New passports are issued to those who have never applied for one or lost theirs. There are two passport types: the passport booklet and the passport card. A booklet or book is used for border, air, and sea travel and is the comprehensive passport all citizens should have. On the other hand, a card is a convenient and handy next generation passport used for only land travels through the Mexico and Canadian border. Cards are less expensive but limited in use.
How To Apply For a New US Passport?
There are different ways to apply for new US next generation passports, but you must present yourself to the officials as you can’t apply in absentia.
Applying Within The US: If you are within the US, you will need to book an appointment with a Department of State passport agency or application center in the city where you live. Simply search for the nearest center using your zip code. On the day of the appointment, you will be asked to present the original and Photocopies of your documents. Your biometric data will be captured, and your passport will be ready in six to eight weeks.
Applying Outside The US: If you are outside the US, you can still apply for a new US passport by visiting the US consulate in your host country. The officials will take you through the process and help you with your application.
Documents Required For a New US Passport
Here are the documents you will need for a new US passport
Application Form: A duly completed application form is required for a passport application, and you can fill it out in two ways. You may fill it out online using the State Department’s application Wizard. After filling it out, print it out and attach other documents. You can also fill out the DS-11 form by hand by printing it out in PDF form and filling it out with black ink.
Note: Kindly note that you must not sign the DS-11 form, regardless of whether you fill it out by hand or online. Forms should only be signed after receiving instruction from the passport official.
Proof of Citizenship: You will need to attach a proof of citizenship document to the application, such as a birth certificate or a naturalization certificate. Any of these documents can be used to prove that you are a US citizen.
ID: A valid identity card issued by the government, like a driver’s license. A copy of the front and back of the ID card is required.
Photograph: A recent passport photograph that meets all the requirements of the State Department.
Application Fee: An application fee covering the processing must be paid. How the fee is paid depends on the mode of application.
Passport Processing Timeline
Most US passport applications take 6-8 weeks before applicants receive their new passports. The timeline doesn’t start counting until the facility receives the documents. When the agency deals with loads of applications, the waiting time may extend to 10 weeks.
Those who need to travel as quickly as possible don’t have to follow the regular application process, as this will take more time. The Department of State has an expedited process open to those who need to travel within the next two weeks. Two conditions qualify applicants for expedited processing, namely.
Life or Death Emergency: If there is a threat to life and the applicant needs to travel within the next few days, they can file for an expedited passport under the life or death emergency rule. It may be their life or a child or relative at risk. In such a situation, the agency will hasten the process and release the passport within 24 hours to 3 days.
Urgent Travel: This process is for those who need to travel within the next two weeks due to one urgent reason or another.
Under both conditions, the applicant must explain with evidence the reasons why they must travel at such short notice. If the official at the agency is convinced, they can process their application under the expedited service clause for an extra fee.
The service fee for expedited service is $60; this is different from the application fee, which is $130 for a passport book and $30 for a passport card. Also, note that there is no mailing service for new US passports, as you have to be present to apply for a new passport. So endeavor to book an appointment at the passport agency as early as possible so your application can be processed as quickly as possible so you can obtain your passport.