Aug 23, 2009

What You Need to Know About the United States Passport Office

A United States passport agency is the first place you need to visit if you want to get a passport in the US. A passport is required if you want to go to any other country. This includes countries close to the US, such as Canada and Mexico. Visiting the United States passport agency can be an easy experience as long as you plan in advance and know what information to bring.

Finding a nearby passport office: Passport offices are generally located inside other government buildings like post offices or public libraries, so they can be difficult to find. The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs maintains a website with a listing of all the passport offices in the United States.

You may not need to go to the passport office: If you already have a passport that you can send in with your application and are eighteen or older, you may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. If this is the case, you can download the form from the internet and send it directly to the passport office.

Not eligible to renew by mail: If your most recent passport was lost or damaged or is over fifteen years old, if you are a minor, or you have never had a passport, you will need to visit the passport office in person. In addition, minors applying for passports must have both their parents present when they go to the office.

Gathering the necessary documents: Before you go to the passport office, you should make sure you have all the required documents. These are all listed on the website. You will need two pictures of yourself, money for fees, a document proving your identity and a document proving your citizenship. If your name has changed for any reason, documentation will be required for that as well.

Photographs: The passport office requires the pictures that you submit meet some very specific criteria. Passport offices will offer to take your passport picture for about $15. By doing this, you will ensure that your picture meets all of the necessary specifications.

Hours: Passport offices decide on their hours individually and are not just open during normal business hours. If you need to visit the passport office, it is advisable to call ahead to confirm that they are open so that you do not go there only to realize that they are closed.

Do not procrastinate: Try to get to the passport office as soon as you know you will need a passport. The application process takes a while because the government has to process and approve your passport, and then ship it to you. This usually takes the passport office about four to six weeks. If you do not have that amount of time, you may expedite the process by paying a $60 fee so that you can cut the wait time down to two or three weeks.

Employees are trained to help make this process easier for you and usually understand that this is not something you do every day. As long as you bring all the necessary materials to the office and plan in advance, the process of obtaining a passport at the United States passport office is simple and quick.

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=CL_Hendricks

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