In 2019, having a United States passport means you’re the proud owner of the sixth most powerful passport in the world.
Applying for a passport is a big deal, as it grants you access to numerous adventures all around the world. However, the passport application process in the United States might be confusing to some.
What’s a passport size photo? Where can you get passport photos? We’ve got all the answers for you. Here’s our guide on how to get a passport in the United States in 2020.
How To Get A Passport In The US
1. Appy For Your Passport Early
Depending on when you apply for your passport, you’ll find that processing times can vary greatly. That’s why professionals suggest submitting your passport application a few months before your trip. If you’ve dropped the ball and need your passport fast, you can pay a fee to expedite its processing, which currently costs $60.
2. Gather Your Documents
What documents do you need to apply for a US passport? You’ll need the unsigned passport application forms (the DS-11 or the DS-82), proof of identity document photocopied front and back, and proof of US citizenship. It’s important to leave the forms unsigned as a certified agent must witness you sign the documents.
3. Take Passport Photos
You’ll need to submit a passport size photo or two along with your application. Passport photos might seem like a hassle, but you can get them taken at numerous locations. A CVS passport photo or even a Walgreens passport photo will do just fine and they crop it to the size you need. You only need one passport size photo for your application but it’s smart to take a few as you might need it later on for additional official documents.
4. Take Your Own Passport Size Photo
According to US government requirements, a passport size photo is 2 x 2 inches (or 51 x 51 mm). There’s no law that says you have to submit a CVS passport photo or Walgreens passport photo – you can take your own if you want. As long as it’s high-resolution and printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper, you shouldn’t have any problems.
5. Remember to Make Photocopies
It’s important to note that you must have photocopies of both the front and the back of your official documents. Usually, this is your birth certificate, social security card, previous passport, or another citizenship document. If you apply in-person, you’ll be asked to present the physical documents along with the photocopies. Make extra just in case.
6. Calculate Your Passport Fees
How much does a US passport cost? For adult applicants 16 years and older, the passport book costs $110 and the processing fee is $35, for a total of $145. You can request a passport card for an additional $30, but it won’t be valid for international air travel. It’s best to just stick with the regular American passport.
7. Submit Your Passport Application
Yay, you’ve taken care of the passport photos and other painstaking tasks. Now it’s time to submit your passport application! First-time applicants, minors, and applicants who may not renew by mail are allowed to submit their passport application at the Post Office or with a Passport Agency.
Or, you can mail in your documents and track your application online until your brand new passport is ready.