Any US citizen looking to travel outside the country will need a valid US passport. In the past, travelers were often allowed into nearby Canada , the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Mexico with simply a birth certificate and a piece of picture ID, but today even these countries will need to see a valid United States passport to allow you into the country. Getting passports to Mexico and the other destinations is the same process as any other, and wherever you're going, obtaining a passport can be relatively simple. However, travelers should note that it is a good idea to start the process as early as possible. Although you can obtain a passport somewhat quickly if you need to, there are fees associated with expedited service .
How to Get a Passport
Finding out how to get a passport is often the first step. Anyone applying for a passport will need documentation. Every person who plans to travel outside the country, even minors under the age of 14, will need their own passport with their own picture. To get a passport, you will need a document proving U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, expired passport, certificate of citizenship or naturalization certificate). If you have none of these documents, you will need to provide a Letter of no Record to show that there is no official record for your birth. You will also need to bring proof of identity with a picture ID, which can include a previous U.S. passport, current driver's license, government ID, or military ID. The final step in how to get a passport is to bring along two passport photos, 2x2 inches in size taken within the last 6 months. You can have a passport photo taken at many travel companies and other businesses.
How long does it take to get a Passport?
Many travelers wonder, “How long does it take to get a passport”? Once you apply for a passport, you should expect to receive the passport in the mail within 6 weeks. It is a good idea to apply for your passport as early as you possibly can. If you need your passport sooner, you can get it within 2 weeks by applying for expedited service. Additional passport and visa services fees will be added to your passport cost, and you will also be required to pay for the expedited shipping charges (overnight). The fees can be hefty, so be sure to ask yourself, “How long does it take to get a passport?” when planning your trip.
Where to get a Passport
Passports can be obtained at government buildings, including the United States Post Office, any local Municipal Court or Municipal Building, most District Court buildings, and most neighborhood service centers. Check with the US passport service online to locate the best information on where to get a passport and additional passport and visa services in your area.
In addition to information on where to get a passport in person, some travelers will qualify to renew their passport through the mail. If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you must apply in person. If, however, you are renewing a passport and were not under the age of 16 when you got your last passport, you may be eligible for renewal through the mail through most passport and visa services. Check with the US passport service for the latest details regarding passport renewal through the mail.