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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pay acceptance fees in person at the Post Office. You may pay by credit card, debit card, check or money order, payable to "Postmaster".
State Department payment is sent with your application package. State Department fees are paid separately from USPS fees.
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.
You may renew your passport by mail if you still have your most recent passport. The passport must be:
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.