Wondering what is needed to get a passport? The Swift team lets you know exactly what you’ll need so you can obtain your passport quickly
Your passport is an essential document for travel outside of the United States. Passports are necessary for entering foreign countries as well as returning home. Your passport is a legal form of identification, which is why the application process can be a bit arduous. If you have questions about how to apply for a passport, how long it will take to receive, or whether you need to replace an old passport that is expired or damaged, read on to learn more basic facts about US passports.
When should I apply for a passport?
The first thing you should ask yourself when applying for a passport is when precisely you need it. If you have a trip coming up in two or more months, you should be able to apply for a passport through your local post office without any trouble. If your trip is less than two months away, most passport offices offer an expedited service that will let you get your passport back in two to three weeks. However, if you need your passport in three weeks or less, a standard passport office is not going to be able to help you. If you find yourself in this situation, contact Swift Passport Services immediately. In many cases, we can provide expedited passport services so you have appropriate travel documents within a matter of days.
What is needed to get a passport?
The process for obtaining a passport isn’t too complicated, but it can be a bit daunting if you’re not sure what you’re up against. Make sure you’re ready to complete your passport application by having these documents ready:
- Proof of US citizenship – In order to prove that you’re a US citizen, you’ll need to bring your original long form birth certificate or your original certificate of naturalization. An expired US passport that is undamaged and in good condition can also be used to prove your citizenship. Photocopies of these documents will not be accepted. You must bring the original or a certified copy in order to satisfy the proof of citizenship requirement.
- A filled out passport application – The government application form that you need to complete is dependent on if you are getting a passport renewal, first time passport, replacing a lost passport, or getting a minor a passport.
- A passport photo – This is where a lot of people run into trouble. You have to make sure that your passport photo meets specific requirements, or it will be rejected. Your passport photo should be taken within the last six months, 2″ x 2″ in size, have a white background with no foreign objects visible, and be in color. The photo should contain your entire head, but not your body. Your ears should be visible, and you must be facing forward. You can have a passport photo taken at your local post office, or you can take one yourself if you’re sure it meets all of the above requirements.
- Payment to the US Department of State – Passports aren’t free. Make sure to bring a money order or personal check; credit cards are not accepted.
If you have more questions about how to obtain a passport, or if you need a new passport in less than three weeks, call Swift Passport Services at (877) 917-9438. We can help you avoid passport problems and get your travel documents in a matter of days so the only thing you have to worry about is having a great time on your upcoming trip.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.