Passport FAQ's

How do I get a passport?

 Apply for your passport several months before your trip.  First-time  applicants, minors, and applicants who can not renew by mail can submit their passport application at the Post Office.  The U.S. State  Department website explains what you need to bring with you.

  • Application forms (unsigned)
  • Proof of identity document and a photocopy of the front and back
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship document and a photocopy of the front and back


  1. Complete Form DS-11 Application for U.S. Passport on the State Department website.
  2. Print your completed application.
    DO NOT SIGN YOUR APPLICATION.  A Postal employee must witness your signature.
  3. Have a passport photo taken.
    NOTE: Many Post Offices with passport services can also take your photo. Call to confirm your Post Office takes photos.
  4. Photocopy your proof of identity and U.S. Citizenship documents.
  5. Calculate your fees.
    • Post Offices accept credit cards, checks, and money orders for Post Office acceptance fees.
    • State Department fees are mailed with your application. You can  pay with a personal check, certified check, cashier's check, traveler's check, or money  order, payable to "U.S. Department of State."

 Post Offices have set hours for passport services. Many require an  appointment. Use the Find USPS Locations tool to find the nearest Post  Office offering passport services. 

Do I need a passport?

You need a passport for  International travel by air, sea, or land. 


US Citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end in the  same U.S. port) and travel to destinations in Mexico, Canada,  Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda are able to re-enter the United  States with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card.   Acceptable proof of citizenship includes an original or certified copy  of a government issued birth certificate (raised seal and signature)  and a laminated government issued picture ID (typically, driver's  license), Consular Report of Born Abroad Certificate, or a Certificate  of Naturalization.  NOTE: Baptismal records and certificates issued by a  hospital are not acceptable.  Just because you do not need a passport to return to the U.S., does not  mean you do not need one to enter one of the foreign countries on  your itinerary.

Passport cards are accepted  Entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean, and Bermuda. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel.  

Do I need a passport card?

We recommend you get a passport card to carry with you. This eliminates the worry of your passport being lost or stolen.

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND  you  have a photo copy of your passport in the case it is lost or stolen. 

How long will it take to get my passport?

We recommend you get your passport as soon as possible. On average it takes 4-6 weeks to get your passport in the mail.  

If you are cutting it close, and are traveling within 2 weeks or need a foreign visa within 30  days, you must apply at a Department of State passport agency. You can make an appointment online or call 1-877-487-2778 (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY). 


To get a new passport application processed within 2–3 weeks, submit  your application at a passport acceptance Post Office and pay for  expedited processing and overnight delivery.

  •  Prepare Your Application Package as listed above.
  • Add the expedited processing fee of $60, payable to the U.S. Department of State, to your other fees.
  • USPS mails your application package to the State Department for  processing.  You can purchase Priority Mail Express® to expedite  delivery. Cost varies by location.
  • Purchase overnight return delivery for $15.89, payable to the U.S. Department of State.

How much does a passport cost?

 First-time passport applications have two types of basic fees, the  application acceptance fee and the application processing fee.  Passport  photos and fees for faster processing are extra.

Postal Service

Pay acceptance fees in person at the Post Office.  You may pay by credit card, debit card, check or money order, payable to "Postmaster".

  • $35.00 - Post Office acceptance fee
  • $15.00 - Post Office photo fee (if needed)

Department of State

State Department payment is sent with your application package.  State Department fees are paid separately from USPS fees.

  • State Department Fees
    State Department passport fees vary. Calculate passport fees online.  The prices below are what we usually see. 
    • $145 - applicants 16 and older
    • $115 - applicants under 16
    • $110 - renewals by mail
  • State Department Payment Methods
    NOTE: You may not pay State Department fees with credit or debit cards.  You may pay with:
    • Personal, certified, cashiers, or traveler's check, payable to "U.S. Department of State."
    • Money order payable to "U.S. Department of State."  You may purchase a money order at the Post Office with a debit card.

How do I renew my passport?

If you are renewing passport using Passport Renewal Application  Form DS-82, Post Offices do not need to review or process your  application. You can mail your renewal application directly to the State  Department yourself.

  • Adult passports are valid for 10 years and may be renewed by mail.
  • Minors' passports may not be renewed by mail.
  • Many countries require that passports be valid for at least 6  months after you enter their country.  Renew your passport in plenty of  time for those trips or pay for expedited service. 


You may renew your passport by mail if you still have your most recent passport. The passport must be:

  • In your current name (name changes are explained on Change a Passport)
  • Issued within the last 15 years
  • Issued when you were age 16 or older 
  • Undamaged other than normal "wear and tear"
  • Submitted with your renewal application

If your passport does not meet all these requirements, do not mail  your renewal application. You must prepare the same application package  as a first-time passport applicant.


  1. Complete your Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82 on the State Department website.
  2. Print and sign your DS-82 form.
  3. Have a passport photo taken.
    NOTE: Many Post Offices with passport services can also take your photo. Call to find out if your Post Office takes photos.
  4. Calculate your passport renewal fees.
  5. Collect your most recent passport, completed and signed application, renewal fees, and name change documents, if needed.
  6. Choose your envelope.
    • Use an envelope large enough to fit the application without folding it.
    • Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail service both provide free envelopes large enough to hold your application.
    • Address the envelope to the location for your state. See page 2 of your DS-82 form.

How do I check the status of my passport

Click here, and we'll take you there!