It's Easy to Apply for Your First PassportDecember 19th, 2011 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on It's Easy to Apply for Your First Passport
We ran into an interesting statistic today – 30% of Americans have passports. That number seems about right. New Jersey leads all states with 68% of citizens holding official passports, while Mississippi trails all other states with just under 20%. So, what’s the big deal about passports and do you really need one? At the Jetsetter Show, we believe every American should have a passport, not only for the enjoyment of international travel but the capacity to bug out if this great society of ours ever unravels completely and you decide to head for your cottage in Ecuador until things level out.
If you’ve never applied for a passport before, it’s not a huge deal. Just pay attention to the seven following details and everything should go smoothly. Keep in mind first time applicants must apply in person.
1. Form DS-11: Fill out Form DS-11. To get it, either contact the Department of State and have them mail it to you, or go online and print it out.
2. Submit in Person: To complete the process, go to the nearest passport processing agency – your neighborhood post office is a likely choice for most people – and tell them what you want.
3. Prove Citizenship: Be ready to prove you are either a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States. A birth certificate or naturalization certificate works fine.
4. Primary Identification: There are several ways to prove who you are. A driver’s license or military ID are commonly used. If you don’t have either of these, a combination of secondary documents, such as a Social Security card, credit card, and employee ID card might work as well, though photo identification is always preferred.
5. Copies: Along with the original documents, you should provide photocopies of the documents (front and back) to the processing agent. You get to keep the originals.
6. Pay Uncle Sam: Uncle Sam doesn’t work for free. Fees to obtain a passport vary depending upon your particular situation but generally range from $130 to $160, unless you are requesting expedited service.
7. Photo: Last but not
least, you must supply a color photo of yourself that measures 2 x 2 inches. This should be a recent face shot. Many post offices are set up to take the picture there if you prefer, though you should call first to make sure.
That’s all there is to getting your very own passport. Now it’s time to start filling it up with travel stamps!
The Jetsetter Show Team
Flickr / RLHyde