Obtaining a US passport takes about six weeks, so travelers planning to find US passport service for the first time will want to plan their trip to the passport office well in advance of their trip. Although it is possible to get express United States passports in about two week’s time, it is a costly endeavor which has additional associated fees. Families should be aware that all children are now required to have their own United States passports, including infants and newborns. Minors applying for a passport will need the signature of one or, in the case of children under age 14, both parent or legal guardian signatures.
US passport service can be found at more than 7,000 agencies across the country, including many United States post offices. First time applicants must apply for United States passports in person, although it is possible to renew a passport through the mail. In either case, you will need to fill out an official United States passport application and bring it in with you to your US passport service station.
In addition to a completed application, obtaining a US passport will also require some additional documentation. Proof of citizenship is required for obtaining a US passport, and this can come in one of a few different forms. A valid birth certificate, issued by the State, is acceptable. If you were not born in the US but instead became a citizen later, you will need to bring along your citizenship papers. If for any reason you do not have a birth certificate, you will to bring along a Letter of No Record issued by the state, as well as any other early school records or family records you may have access to.
If you plan to stay in the United States for a long period of time, or even for an extended vacation, you will need to be aware of the regulations regarding your stay. Any stay under a couple of months, as long as you have a valid passport from your home country, will be fine as long as you do not plan to work. If you plan to visit for a longer period of time, or plan to find work, you will need to look into the various kinds of visas, for travel and work, available for stays in the United States. When coming into the United States, be sure to have your passport with you at all times as you enter through the airport. The customs officers will need to see your valid passport in order to enter the country.
You will also need to bring along two passport photos to get your passport. Passport photos have to be 2x2 inches in size, in full color, and provide a full facial view. Avoid wearing a hat of any kind. You also want to sure and wear items such as glasses, if you normally wear glasses or a wig if you normally wear a wig. Passport photos can be taken at many travel agencies, travel companies, or copy and photo shops around the country. If you do get your passport photo at such an agency, there will be a small fee to have your photo taken.
You will also be asked to provide your Social Security number when you apply for a United States passport. Even though it is not required in order to get a passport, you could be charged a $500 fee by the IRS for not providing a Social Security number. Note, though, that your Social Security card does not count as any kind of identification card. Be sure to be fully aware of US passport law before leaving or entering the country.