Aug 23, 2009

Applying For a US Passport and Completing the Passport Application Form

As one of the many people who are considering applying for a U.S. Passport, you'll not be surprised to learn that there is a specific application form that must be completed.

This form is one that you'll want to become very familiar with as it holds the key to a smooth and quick processing of your passport request.

The form you'll need is called DS-11: Application for U.S. Passport. It falls under the authority of the United States Department of State and can be located for download from their web site. This form is also available to pick up at any of the over 8,000 passport acceptance facilities throughout the U.S.

One nice feature of the online version is that you can use your computer to fill in all the blanks. The US Department of State web site has this option, which allows online entry, so the printed copy will be clear and readable. Also, you'll be able to check your work carefully before printing, avoiding unnecessary waste.

The first part of the DS-11 gives a good explanation of other things you'll need to submit with your application such as proof of citizenship and other photo identification at time of submittal. Processing fees are also discussed so you won't be caught unprepared for the costs of a passport.

There's also a section which discusses the new "electronic passport" which has become recently available. This section gives details on this new type of passport and discusses the advantages and security features. Take the time to read it all as you may find this type of passport best suits your needs.

The form is broken down very logically asking for your name, residence, date of birth, etc. One thing to be sure to notice is how the dates must be entered. The month and day are 2 digit values, but the year must be 4 digits, such as "1975", not "75". Small mistakes like that can cause your application to be rejected.

A passport photo box is outlined on the left side of the form and this is where your official passport photos will be attached. You'll need to have these taken at a passport office that is authorized to print passport photographs, as they must meet strict size and setting guidelines.

Lastly, the application form discusses supporting documents that have to be submitted along with the form with details on each. Be sure you provide an original certified Birth Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization Certificate, whichever is applicable. Copies are not accepted and your original documents will be returned to you with your passport.

Understanding the passport application form and all its requirements will pay off with a speedy and smooth passport process. You'll have your passport within 3 to 4 weeks and will be glad you took the time to learn. You'll soon be helping your friends who also want a passport and they'll benefit from the time you spent.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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