U.S. Passport Basics

You must have a U.S. passport to travel outside of the U.S. and U.S. Territories. To obtain a passport you should become acquainted with the process to make it as smooth as possible. Receiving your passport does take time, it is not something that can be done quickly, even if you pay the expedited fee, so plan accordingly. If you are in need of renewing your passport, you are able to do that by mail. Please check out the website listed in number seven to become acquainted with the renewal process, as well as if you need to obtain a passport for a child under the age of 16.

To obtain a U.S. passport for the first time, you MUST appear in person with the following documents:

  1. Application Form DS-11
  2. Proof of U.S. citizenship using either a U.S. birth certificate OR a Naturalization certificate
  3. Proof of identity, you could use a previous passport, or a current driver’s license
  4. Two identical printed passport photographs with the following guidelines:
  • 2 x 2 inches
  • No border
  • Taken within the last 6 months, showing current appearance
  • Full face, and no accessories on the head or face

5. Application Fee

  • 16 and older: passport fee $55; security surcharge $12; execution fee $30; total $97
  • Under 16: passport fee $40; security fee $12; execution fee $30; total $82
  • Expedited Service add $60 per each application

6. Provide social security number

7. For additional information please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html/passport_1738.html

Processing Timeframe

  • Routine 4 – 6 Weeks
  • Expedited 2 – 3 Weeks

What’s the Status of my Application?

We are all eager to know the status of our application, especially if traveling plans have already been made. Even if you do not currently have travels plans, you should check on the status of your application to ensure that it has not been denied.

To check on the status of your application, you can either make a phone call, or go online. It will take 7-10 business days from the date of your submitted application for it to be trackable. Please wait this timeframe before attempting to track the status of your application.

You will need the following information regardless of which method you choose:

  1. Last Name (include any suffixes and hyphens)
  2. Date of Birth in the is format (MM/DD/YYYY)
  3. Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number

Online Access

To access the Online Passport Status System visit https://passportstatus.state.gov/. You can also set up email alerts on this page.

Phone Access

To contact via phone, call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY) and speak with customer service:

Monday – Friday    8:00 am to 10:00 pm Eastern Time

Saturday        10:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern Time

Passport Has Not Been Received?

If your application status states that your passport has been mailed, and you have allowed 10 business days for arrival, and you still have not received your passport, you will need to contact the National Passport Information Center. They will assist you in filling out Form DS-86 (Statement of Non-Receipt of U.S. Passport).

You must report that you have not received your passport within 90 days from the date it was issued, otherwise, you will need to reapply and pay ALL applicable fees.

My Passport Has Been Denied

Typically, a passport is denied because the applicant has incorrectly filled out the form, and/or provided documentation that was not sufficient enough. If you receive a letter in the mail, you have 90 days to send the requested information, you MUST include the last four digits of the zip to ensure proper mailing.

Correctly submitting your application and supporting documents the first time will keep your passport from being delayed. If you are unsure of something in the application process, it would be best to contact the National Passport Information Center prior to submitting your application. It will save you a lot of time, and a lot of grief.

Happy Travels!!!!


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