With the ongoing economic and political uncertainty in the United States, it’s a good idea to have a passport ready so that you can leave the country in an emergency or if you want to find more profitable work abroad. You also need it if you just want to go on a vacation abroad. You now have to have a Passport to enter and leave the US no matter what due to Homeland Security regulations implemented after 9/11. Yes, you even need a US Passport to go to Canada or Mexico.
If you are U.S. Citizen and you need to get passport, the steps are relatively simple. These directions are for people who have never had a passport before and are getting them for the first time. Getting a passport is only mildly involved.
Basically the onus is on you to prove who you are and that you are a US Citizen. You can through the process and get a Passport at most major Post Office branches. You can see which Post Offices can do Passports on the official USPS Website. Be sure to select Passport Application locations. If you are applying for a US Passport for the first time, you will need to apply in person.
You will need:
- Download the US Passport form and fill it out: State Department Passport Forms Website
- You’ll need to show your birth certificate or other proof of your citizenship
- You’ll need proof of ID (driver’s license, state issued ID)
- Acceptable Passport Picture (See form for guidelines)
- Go in person and Apply
- Pay the fees, $75 Application fee plus $25 at the Post Office ($100)
- You should get your new Passport in 2-3 months as look as everything checks out.
- When you get your passport in a couple months, be sure to go through it and read is carefully so that you understand what exactly the document is and your rights and privileges as a US citizen while your abroad. You also have to sign it for it to be valid.
If you need a Passport in a much shorter period of time, there are services that can rush the process for you. But you will have to pay handsomely for the service. The State Department can also issue US Passports in an emergency situation (like if you got robbed while abroad). Enjoy traveling internationally. You are joining a select club. Only a fraction of Americans bother to get Passports and with it you can go almost anywhere in the world (accept where US Citizens are barred). It’s an incredible freedom to know that you can go almost anywhere and be protected under international law.