Getting or Renewing a U.S. Passport

How to apply, renew, or quickly get a passport.

Apply for a U.S. Passport


To have a U.S. passport, you must be a U.S. citizen.

Passport Book and Passport Card

Depending on where you are traveling outside of the U.S., you will need to determine if you need a passport book or a passport card.

  • A passport book is required for all international travel by air.
  • To enter the United States at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, you can use a passport book or a passport card.
  • A passport card is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book, but it cannot be used for international travel by air.

How to Apply

The application process is the same for either the passport book or card, even if you want both at the same time. You have to go in person to present your application.

From Within the United States

  • If you need to get a passport in two weeks or less, you will need an expedited process. To find out where you need to go and what additional fees you’ll pay, follow the steps to get a passport quickly.
  • If you will be traveling in three weeks or more, you can follow the regular application process and apply in person at a passport acceptance facility.

From Outside the United States

Items You Need to Apply for a U.S. Passport

  • Application Form - To complete the application for a passport book, card, or both together, first do one of the following:
    • Fill out the application online. Use the Passport Application Wizard to step through the process of filling out the application. When you’ve completed the application, print it out to take to the passport acceptance facility. Passport applications cannot be submitted online.
    • Fill out the application by hand. Download the passport application form (DS-11) and instructions and complete the application by hand, or go to a local passport acceptance facility to get a copy to fill out.
      • Whether you fill it out online or by hand, it is important that you do not sign the form until you are instructed to do so in front of a passport designated official you will meet when applying in person.
  • Personal documents - You’ll need to bring all of the following:
    • An original proof of citizenship document
    • An acceptable photo ID document
    • A photocopy of the front and back of the photo ID document
  • Passport photo - Follow the photo requirements.
  • Payment - Calculate your passport fees.

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Passport Fees

Fees for renewing or getting a new passport depend on several factors such as if you are just getting a passport card or if you opt for expedited service. The passport application fee and the execution fee are non-refundable. They are collected and retained by law even if a passport is not issued. 

If you are outside the U.S. and are renewing or applying for a new passport, ask your nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate what forms of payment they are able to accept.

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Find a Passport Facility or Location

Once you’ve completed the application, if you have to take your application to a passport facility in person:

Find out what forms of payment the facility accepts. Remember to bring the following:

If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and need a passport, contact a U.S. Embassy or consulate for information on how to apply for your passport. Expedited processing is not available when applying from outside the U.S.

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Renew a U. S. Passport

Every person, regardless of age, must have their own passport to travel internationally by air.


To have a U.S. passport, you need to be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization.

You can renew your current or expired U.S. passport unless your passport was:

  • Issued before your 16th birthday
  • Issued 15 or more years ago
  • Damaged, lost, or stolen
  • Issued in your previous name and you don’t have a legal document like a marriage license to prove your legal name change

If any of these are true, you cannot renew your passport. Instead, you must apply for a new passport in person using form DS-11.

How to Renew Your Passport

  • If you need to get a passport quickly--in two weeks or less--you will need to have your passport renewal expedited and pay additional fees.
    • Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a  Regional Passport Agency. For an automated appointment system available 24 hours a day, call 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.
    • At your appointment, you’ll need to provide proof of immediate travel, an expedited fee, and the items listed below to renew your passport.
  • If you will be traveling in three weeks or more, you can submit an application by mail.

If you live outside the U.S. or Canada: Contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate near you for information and forms on all passports requested from overseas.

Items You Need to Renew Your Passport

The Passport Services Office returns the official documents you submit as supporting documentation.

Tips on When to Renew Your Passport

  • Renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires.
  • Check the expiration date because certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you don't meet this requirement.
  • If you travel frequently, check the “52 page” box at the top of your passport application to receive a larger passport book with 52 pages.

For more information, see these frequently asked questions about passports

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Get a Passport Quickly

You could ask and pay for expedited service if:

  • Traveling in 24-48 hours for an emergency such as a serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family
  • Traveling within 2 weeks as you are able to provide proof of immediate international travel (for example, purchased airline or cruise tickets)

For the above, you need to follow the steps for expedited service request in person:

  1. Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a passport agency. For an automated appointment system available 24 hours a day, call 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.

  2. With an appointment, submit your request in person at a regional passport agency

If your trip is not within 2 weeks, but you need your U.S. passport more quickly than the normal processing period of 4 to 6 weeks, you can request expedited service by mail or in person at a passport acceptance facility near you.  

In addition to the regular passport application costs, the expedited service will cost an extra $60, plus any delivery costs.

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Name Change or Correction for a Passport

If you have changed your name due to marriage, divorce, or some other legal reason, you will need to get a new passport to reflect the name change.

Documents to Support the Name Change

See Change or Correct a Passport for more information.

Passports Issued with an Error

If you live outside of the U.S., contact your nearest U.S. Embassy.

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Passports for Minors Under the Age of 18

All children must apply or reapply for a U.S. passport in person at a passport agency.

  • Children under 16 need parental consent and their parents must:
    • Be present with their children
    • Co-sign the application
  • Children ages 16-17 applying for a passport can do it by themselves if they have their own identification documents.  However, it is recommended that at least one parent appears in person with the child to show parental awareness. 

Find resources about passports and custody disputes and how parents may enroll their children who are U.S. citizens under the age of 18 in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP). 

If you are living overseas, contact a U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where you are for information on how to apply for your child's passport.

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Report and Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport

You must report the loss or theft of an American passport immediately.

Note: Once you have reported your passport lost or stolen, it is invalidated by the State Department. It cannot be used if it is found.

If you are outside of the U.S., contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate to replace your lost or stolen passport.

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Video: A Recipe for Applying in Person for a U.S. Passport

A step by step video guide to applying for a passport in person.

0:15 You Must Apply For A Passport in Person If:

0:17 Applying for your first U.S. passport and/or under the age of 16

0:19 Previous passport issued when under age of 16

0:21 Previous passport lost, stolen, or damaged

0:22 Previous passport issued 15+ years ago

0:23 Name changed since passport was issued and unable to legally document name change

0:25 Here’s how to get started!

0:28 Step 1: Go to

0:36 Step 2: Save time and fill out the[DS-11]form online. Wait to sign until you apply in person

0:41 Step 3: Print the form

0:44 Step 4: Dig up your citizenship evidence

0:46 Examples include:

0:48 Birth Certificate

0:52 Naturalization Certificate

0:54 Consular Report of Birth Abroad

0:57  Step 5: Make a front and back photocopy of your government-issued ID, such as:

1:00 Your Driver License

1:03 Step 6: Take a passport photo!

1:17 Photo Requirements Include:

1:19 Photo must be in color

1:21 Must be 2" x 2" inches in size

1:22 Taken within the last 6 months

1:23 Plain white background

1:24 Visit for further requirements

1:27 Step 7: Bring money for passport fees

1:31 Common forms of payment are accepted: Cash, Credit/Debit Card, Checks/Money Orders

1:38 Step 8: Go to to find your local acceptance facility

1:42 Call to verify forms of payment and hours

1:45 Step 9: Visit your local acceptance facility

1:51 Remember to bring your DS-11 form, plus your citizenship and ID documents

1:57 Be ready to take the oath, sign the DS-11 form, and pay the fees

2:16 Need a passport in a hurry?

2:18 If you're traveling in less than 2 weeks, make an appointment at a passport agency

2:25 Don't be this couple... Avoid the last minute stress, and apply early!

2:28 For a more relaxed experience, plan ahead and select routine service.

2:30 4-6 weeks later your passport should arrive!

2:41 Step 10: Enjoy your trip!

2:44 For more information, visit

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Last Updated: April 24, 2017

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