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Getting or Renewing a U.S. Passport

Please note updated changes to the passport application and renewal process due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Apply for a U.S. Passport

Please note: Passport operations continue to be affected by COVID-19. And processing times change throughout the year. Check the status of passport operations to see current processing times and more.

U.S. Passport Eligibility

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

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 for a U.S. Passport

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 three 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 more than three weeks, 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 citizenship document and photo ID document

  • Passport photo - Follow the photo requirements.

  • Payment - Calculate your passport fees.

How to Renew a U.S. Passport

Please note: Passport operations continue to be affected by COVID-19. And processing times change throughout the year. Check the status of passport operations to see current processing times and more.

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

Eligibility to Renew a U.S. Passport

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

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 do not 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

You may be eligible to submit a passport renewal application by mail.

If you need to get a passport quicklyyou will need to have your passport renewal expedited and pay additional fees.

  • To make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency, call 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793 Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 10 PM ET. The appointment line is closed on weekends and federal holidays.   
    • 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 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 six months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you do not 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

How to Get a Passport Quickly

Please note: Passport operations continue to be affected by COVID-19. And processing times change throughout the year. Check the status of passport operations to see current processing times and more.

Emergency or Urgent Travel

Under normal conditions, you can request an appointment at a passport agency if you:

  • Are traveling within 72 hours (three business days). This is only in an emergency such as a serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family.

  • Have urgent travel within two weeks. You must have proof of immediate international travel (for example, purchased airline or cruise tickets).

To make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency to submit your application in person, call 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793 Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 10 PM ET. The appointment line is closed on weekends and federal holidays.

Expedited Service for Non-Urgent Travel

If you do not have urgent travel, you can request expedited service.

Expedited service costs an extra $60, plus any delivery costs.   

Passports for Minors Under the Age of 18

The Department of State has rules to prevent children from being issued U.S. passports without the consent of both parents. It also has programs to protect children involved in custody disputes. These work to prevent a parent from taking a child abroad without the other parent's consent. 

Children Must Apply for Passports in Person 

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

  • Children under 16 need parental consent and their parents must: 

    • Be present with their children 

    • Co-sign the application

  •  16 and 17-year-olds applying for a passport can do it by themselves if they have their own identification documents. A parent will need to do one of the following: 
    • Provide a signed, notarized statement saying they know that their child is seeking a passport or 

    • Attend the appointment with them 

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

Protections for Children in Custody Disputes 

If you think your child has been abducted internationally, call the Department of  State at 1-888-407-4747. Ask to speak to a prevention officer.

The Department of State has other resources to help parents and children in custody disputes

Passport Fees

Fees for renewing or getting a new passport depend on several factors such as:

  • If you are only 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.

You can find the fees you may have to pay using these State Department resources:

If you are outside the U.S., ask your U.S. Embassy or consulate what forms of payment they are able to accept. This applies to passport renewals or applications for new passports.

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Last Updated: July 22, 2021

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