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Travel

5 Steps to Getting a Passport

Getting a passport may seem like a pretty common, straightforward procedure, but that really depends on where you live. If you live in Europe, having a passport is almost considered expected as people in Europe frequently travel between countries. However, if you live in America, this is not the case. In fact, in America, only about 35% of citizens have a passport.

So how does one even obtain a passport? Read on to find out how to get a passport.

Step 1: Gather Your Documents

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First, you will need to begin gathering documents. These include your, birth certificate, photo ID and proof of citizenship. If you are applying for a passport on behalf of a minor you must also bring your proof of relation.

Step 2: Fill Out the Forms

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Fill out all passport application forms. These can usually be obtained at your local post office and filled out before you go in for your passport. Make sure you have all the information accurate as any discrepancies can delay the time it takes for you to receive your passport.

Step 3: Get your Photo Taken

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Next, you will need to get your photo taken prior to arriving at the passport agency. You will need to submit two photos when applying. Passport photos must meet very specific requirements, so it is best to get these taken somewhere that specifically offers passport photos rather than attempting to use a photo you may already have.

If the photo does not meet very specific regulations including dimensions and rules regarding the background, it will be rejected.  Submitting a photo that does not meet regulations will cause delays and you will have to go through the process of submitting the photo.

Step 4: Find a Passport Facility

passport stamp facility authority

You will now need to locate a facility to process your passport. Depending on how quickly you need it, you can either go to an acceptance facility or a regional agency. At an acceptance facility, you can expect an average turnaround time of around 6 weeks, so if you have planned in advance, this is the best option.

But, if you are traveling soon and need a passport in a hurry, you will need to go to a regional agency. If you have proof of international travel, a regional agency can have a passport

Step 5: Pay the Fees

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Finally, be prepared to pay all fees related to getting your passport. Call ahead to find out what the total fees will be and what forms of payments the location accepts. Applying several months prior to your expected departure date will significantly reduce fees. If you require rush processing and delivery this can double the cost.

Getting a passport does not need to be difficult or overwhelming. In reality, it is quite straightforward. Simply ensure that you have all required documents and that all paperwork is filled out correctly. The best thing to do is apply as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time in case any issue happens to arise as well as to reduce fees.

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