USPS around the United States accepts first-time applicants as well renewals for passports for the US Department of State. Few of the locations can even take a photo for your passport. You can find the Find USPS Locations service to find certain passport services. Though some of the offices allow walk-ins for passport acceptance, others will need an appointment to provide services.
This article talks about the steps required for applying for different passports and their relevant information.
First Step: Collect Necessary Documents Early
If you are applying for a passport for the first time, make sure that you apply a few months prior to your trip. You can choose to either apply through mail or go to the Post Office in person to apply. The United States State Department requires you to bring the following documents with you.
- DS-11 application form
- One 2”x2” color photo for the passport
- Supporting documents for citizenship evidence and identification
- Determined amount of fees
Second Step: Fill Out & Prepare the Documents
The US State Department website provides the following preparations for the mentioned documents.
- Fill out the DS-11 Passport Application Form provided on the website of State Department
- Print the filled-out application, however, do not put down your signature on it yet as an employee of the Post Office will need to see you write it
- Take one passport photo according to the mentioned measurements (many of the offices can take your photo, so you can call them to enquire beforehand)
- US Citizenship and identity document photocopy
- Calculate and take the mentioned fees with you (Post Offices will accept money orders, checks, and credit cards as acceptance fees)
Third Step: Look for a Post Office
There are specific hours at Post Offices for the passport services, and many of them will need an appointment. You can use USPS’s location tool on their website to locate a Post Office with passport services nearby.
Post Offices have hours set specifically for all passport services. Most of these require people to book an appointment. Utilize the Find USPS Locations tool to get to the nearest Post Office that offers passport services. To use the tool, go to the Find USPS Locations on the USPS website. Then from the Location Types, select Passports and then enter an address or a ZIP code. Choose a range for mileage and then refine the search based of your preferences. (i.e. photos, appointment or walk-in) Finally click search to get your desired results.
How to Get A Passport at Urgent Basis?
If you require a first-time passport within two to three weeks, submit the application for passport at a Post Office and pay them for the expedited processing as well as the delivery service of one to two days for quicker return shipping. Follow these steps:
- First prepare the necessary documents as directed in the second step
- Then add the $60 fee for expedited fee which will go to the US Dept. of State
- Priority Mail Express can be purchased for expediting delivery to the State Dept to process the application (the cost depends on the location)
- Purchase the delivery service of one to two days for $16.48 to make shipping quicker
In the case you need your passport within two weeks, you have to apply at a passport agency of Department of State. You can call 1-877-487-2778 or set up an appointment online.
For first-time applications, there are two types of fees that need to be provided – the processing fee and the acceptance fee for the application. You will need to pay extra to take photos at the Post Office and/or processing the application faster.
You can pay the Post Office using credit or debit card, or through money order or cheque payable to “Postmaster”. The Post Office acceptance fee is $35 and the photo fee is $15. They send the payment for the State Dept. with the application and the payment is different from the fees of USPS. Remember that you cannot pay the State Dept. using debit or credit cards, and they accept only traveler’s, cashier’s, certified, and personal cheque that are payable to the “US Department of State”. They also take money order that you can purchase from a Post Office.
The specific fees are:
- Passport Book – Form DS-11, Application Fee $110, Acceptance Fee $35
- Passport Card – Form DS-11, Application Fee $30, Acceptance Fee $35
- Passport Book & Card – Form DS-11, Application Fee $140, Acceptance Fee $35
To check the progress of your passport application, you can check on the website of the State Department after seven to ten business days of submitting your application at the Post Office. You can also call them for updates.
Renew a Passport by Mail
First Step: Prepare & Apply Early
To renew your passport, you will need to fill out the Application Form DS-82 of Passport Renewal. Unlike the DS-11 you don’t have to process or review your form through the Post Offices, and it can be directly mailed to the Department of State by the applicant.
- There’s a 10yr validity of adult passports that can be renewed through mail
- You cannot renew minor’s passports through mail
- Many of the countries require the passport to be at least valid for six months
Second Step: Ensure Eligibility for Renewal
You are eligible for passport renewal through mail in the case you have the most current passport still. It has to:
- Be under your present name
- Be issued in the past fifteen years
- Be issued at the age of 16 or older
- Be undamaged apart from the usual wear
- Be submitted with the application
Unless you meet all of these requirements keep from mailing the renewal application as you would have to follow the second step of the first-time application.
Third Step: Prepare the Documents
You will have to prepare the necessary documents for you application as follows:
- Find and complete the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82 from the State Dept. website
- Print the filled-out form and then sign it
- Take one passport photo and gather the required fees as stated on the website
- Gather the most current passport and previously mentioned documents
- Pick any envelope that is big enough for form without having to fold it
- Address this envelope to your state’s location
- Finally mail the package using any of the recommended USPS services with delivery tracking
- USPS Express Mail (for overnight delivery requests)
- USPS Priority Mail with Signature Confirmation
- USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation
How to Get A Renewal at Urgent Basis?
Similar to the first-time application, you will have to pay an extra $60 expedited service fee and mail through Priority Mail Express for faster renewal. Also, there is the $16.48 delivery service for one to two days for quicker return shipping.
Unlike the first-time application, you don’t have to pay acceptance fees for the renewal application.
The specific fees are:
- Passport Book – Form DS-82, Application Fee $110
- Passport Card – Form DS-82, Application Fee $30
- Passport Book & Card – Form DS-82, Application Fee $140
You can use the receipt’s tracking number to track your application’s arrival, if you used a tracking service of USPS. Check on the State Dept. website to see progress after 7-10 business days of application or simply call them.
Passports for Minors Under 16
Although similar to the first-time application, the application for minors under the age of 16 has specific requirements when it comes to applying for passports.
- The application must be submitted in person
- Parents must be present for consent for issuing the passport
- The minor’s citizenship and identity information need to be provided
- Legal evidence of parental relationships needs to be provided
- These passports are valid for five years only
The specific fees for passport applications for minors under 16 are:
- Passport Book – Form DS-11, Application Fee $80, Acceptance Fee $35
- Passport Card – Form DS-11, Application Fee $15, Acceptance Fee $35
- Passport Book & Card – Form DS-11, Application Fee $95, Acceptance Fee $35
USPS Passport Application Progress
You can track the status of the application through the State Dept. website after seven to ten days of submission or call them.