If you are a US citizen who wishes to travel outside of the country, you will need a passport. Inside the US, you can move between states and borders with other forms of identification. But if you want to travel to England, or France, or Australia, or wherever!? You’ll need a passport.
Unfortunately, getting one isn’t quite as easy as picking up a newspaper from the store! In fact, the process can be quite lengthy, a little complicated and if you’re unlucky, rather frustrating.
However, there are ways to make the whole things much easier. You just need to know about them. So, read on to find out how to make applying for a passport- and getting one- a breeze.
Start the process well in advance
If at all possible, don’t book anything, be that your flights or accommodation, before you know that there aren’t any current delays. At certain times of the year, or due to certain events, the amount of people applying for a passport can really shoot up. If you are given an estimated time that you will get your passports by, consider the upper limit as the correct one. Don’t go by the lower limit and just hope for the best!
If you passport isn’t ready or hasn’t arrived you are faced with two unpleasant choices. One is to pay a large fee for faster processing and delivery. This only rises if you are getting passports for the whole family! The other is to forfeit any bookings you have already made, which will be an upsetting waste of money.
Find your birth certificate
In order to apply for a passport, you need to find your birth certificate. If you don’t have yours anymore, or if it is lost or stolen, you also need to factor in the time to get a new one. You can now order a birth certificate online, thankfully. The process is pretty straightforward, but make sure you will have it well in advance.
Fill in the forms
So, it’s well in advance of your trip or journey, and you’ve dug out your birth certificate. Next up, it’s time to fill in the application forms. Do so slowly, carefully and methodically. A single mistake could end up with the form being rejected, and you having to start over. You will also need a passport photograph. Be sure you follow the guidelines here. Once again, an inappropriate or unclear photograph may be rejected. Finally, you’ll also need money to pay the fee. Unfortunately, applying and receiving a passport is not free of charge, so you’ll need to be prepared for this.
Remember, it can take as much as six months for you to receive your passport in some cases. The best way to make the process nice and easy is to apply before you actually need it. Taking your time will mean you don’t need to stress about when it will arrive. It also means that if anything goes wrong with your forms, photos or fees, you have time to fix it!
Alternative, if you are renewing your passport, rather that getting your first, this guide can help.