How to Apply for a US Passport

You Should Apply IN PERSON if….

  • You are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time.
  • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Your previous U.S. passport has expired & was issued more than 15 years ago.
  • Your previous passport has expired and it was issued when you were under 16.
  • Your name is changed since your passport was issued and you do not have a legal document formally changing your name.
  • You are a minor child 17 or younger.

Passport Requirements for Children

For All Minors Under Age 16:

  • A minor under 16 must apply in person.
  • All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air
  • All applications for children under 16 require both parents’ or legal guardians’ consent.
  • (See Special Requirements for Children Under Age 16.)

For All Minors Age 16 to 17

  • Appear in person at the time of application
  • Have a parent or guardian present photo identification if the minor does not have identification of his or her own
  • Provide a photocopy of the same ID document that will be presented at the time of application (applicant or parent/guardian).
  • Establish parental consent

To Apply in Person for a U.S. Passport You MUST:

1. Provide Application for Passport, Form DS-11:

NOTE: Please do NOT sign the DS-11 application form until the Passport Acceptance Agent instructs you to do so.

2. Present Proof of U.S. Citizenship

You may prove U.S. citizenship with any one of the following:

  • Previous U.S. Passport
  • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state

NOTE: A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birth

Delayed Birth Certificate filed more than one year after your birth may be acceptable if it:

  • Listed the documentation used to create it and
  • Signed by the attending physician or midwife, or, lists an affidavit signed by the parents, or shows early public records.

If you do NOT have a previous U.S. passport or a certified birth certificate, you will need:

  1. Letter of No Record – Issued by the State with your name, date of birth, which years were searched for a birth record and that there is no birth certificate on file for you
  2. AND as many of the following as possible:
  • baptismal certificate
  • hospital birth certificate
  • census record
  • early school record
  • family bible record
  • doctor’s record of post-natal care


  • These documents must be early public records showing the date and place of birth, preferably created within the first five years of your life.
  • You may also submit an Affidavit of Birth, Form DSP-10A, from an older blood relative, i.e., a parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, who has personal knowledge of your birth. It must be notarized or have the seal and signature of the acceptance agent.

If you were born abroad AND do not have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth on file, you will need:

1. If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to one U.S. citizen parent:

  • Foreign birth certificate,
  • Proof of citizenship of your U.S. citizen parent, AND
  • An affidavit of your U.S. citizen parent showing all periods and places of residence or physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.

2. If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to two U.S. citizen parents:

  • Your foreign birth certificate,
  • Parent’s marriage certificate, AND
  • Proof of citizenship of your U.S. parents and an affidavit of your U.S. citizen parents showing all periods and places of residence of physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.

NOTE: The following are NOT proof of citizenship

  • Voter registration cards
  • Army discharge papers

NOTE: If you travel extensively, you may request a larger 48-page passport at no additional cost. To do so, please attach a signed request for a 48-page passport to your application.


The citizenship evidence submitted for minors under the age of 16 must list both parents’ names. Read more information on the citizenship requirements for minors under the age of 16.

3. Present Proof of Identity

You may prove your identity with any one of these, if you are recognizable:

  • Previous U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Current, valid –
    • Driver’s license
    • Government ID: city, state or federal
    • Military ID: military and dependents

NOTE: Your Social Security Card does NOT prove your identity.

If none of these are availableyou will need:

  1. Some signature documents, not acceptable alone as ID

(ex: a combination of documents, such as your Social Security card, credit card, bank card, library card, etc.)


  1. A person who can vouch for you. He/she must
    • Have known you for at least 2 years,
    • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident,
    • Have valid ID, and
    • Fill out a Form DSP-71 in the presence of the passport agent.


Both parents or legal guardians must present evidence of identity when they apply for a minor under the age of 16. Read more information on the identity requirements for minors under the age of 16.

FOR MINORS 16 to 17:

4. Provide Two Passport Photos

Your photographs must be:

  • 2×2 inches in size
  • Identical
  • Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
  • Color or black and white
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
  • Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • Taken in normal street attire
    • Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily.
    • Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline.
    • If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture.
    • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required.

NOTE: Vending machine photos are not generally acceptable.

5. Pay the Applicable Fee

See the passport fees.

Passport Agencies (25 Nationwide) Accept:

  • Credit Cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) and Debit/Check Cards
  • Checks (personal, certified, cashiers, travelers), payable to “Department of State”
  • Money orders (U.S. Postal, international, currency exchanges) and bank drafts, payable to “Department of State”

Passport Acceptance Facilities:

  • Personal checks, money orders and bank drafts at all locations, payable to “Department of State”
  • Exact cash at some locations (verify with the Acceptance Facility)

Expedite Fee: (See How to Get Your Passport in a Hurry.)


Where to Apply for a Passport in the U.S.