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Mar 052013
 

Passport Day is the State Department’s annual, no-appointment-needed, passport event and it takes place this year on Saturday, March 9th.  Unfortunately, because of the U.S. budget problems, Department of State passport facilities will not be participating this year.  However, you can still apply for a passport at many facilities such as post offices, libraries, and various government buildings.  You can get the address of a location near you and their hours of operation from the Department of State Passport Acceptance Search Site.

The primary benefit of this event is that U.S. citizens may renew or apply for a passport without making the usually required appointment.  In addition, you can get a passport on a Saturday.  This is particularly helpful for parents with children as you don’t need to miss work or school to apply for your child’s passport.    Passports for children under the age of 16 expire every five years and both parents must be there to sign the paperwork.

How to Renew Your Passport on Passport Day

You may want to get to the passport facility early as it is possible you will have to wait in line.   In 2012, over 57,000 passport applications were received on this one day alone.   Some New York locations sported lines that at times ran clear around-the-block.

Make sure you have everything you need before you arrive, especially if you’re applying for your first passport.  To expedite the process, we suggest filling out your application ahead of time, printing it, and then bringing it with you, unsigned.

It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process a passport application, although for an extra $60 you can expedite the process and get your documents in about half the time.

You should check out the Department of State Passport website for detailed information on what you will need to bring but below are the basics.  You can also get passport information by phone, in English and Spanish, by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.

Form DS-11

Form DS-11 is the official application for a U.S. passport and it is required for all first-time passport applicants, and for adults who were issued a passport before the age of 16 or have not renewed their passport for 15 years or more.

Proof of Citizenship

You must be a citizen of the United States and submit proof of your citizenship when you submit your application. There are several acceptable documents, including a certified U.S. birth certificate, a previously issued U.S. passport, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship.

Identification

Proper identification is required. Acceptable forms of identification include a naturalization certificate, a previously issued U.S. passport, a valid driver’s license, a current government identification card or a current military identification card. You must have the identification with you, as well as a photocopy of the front and back of your identification when you apply.

Passport Photo

You will need to bring a passport photo which must be two inches by two inches and in full color taken in front of a white background. Your head should be 25 to 35 millimeters from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head. The photo should also be no more than six months old and taken directly from the front.  There are many locations that will take a passport photo for you including many drug stores and camera shops.

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