Where to Apply for Your United States Passport
Any travel outside of the United States requires a passport. It is a legal document stating your citizenship status, along with a current photo and full name. Several agencies provide passport services, from post offices to U.S. embassies.
Passport Acceptance Locations Near You
Regional Passport Agencies
Depending on the state, the federal government offers facilities that specialize in passport services. Because they are limited in number, most patrons only search out these agencies if they need a passport immediately. If you had a death in the family, for example, and you need a passport as soon as possible to attend the funeral in another country, passport agencies have the ability to generate documents quickly. They usually charge for expedited documents, however.
Ask your local library if they are approved for passport services. The government works with local agencies to make the passport process smooth without a lot of long lines. Set an appointment at the library to begin a first application, especially for minors. Parents and children must present themselves in person to obtain passport documents for the first time.
One of the most common facilities for passport documentation is the post office. As a federal entity, the post office quickly accesses your information to process passport requests. Many post offices offer passport photos at the same time. You must present the official with two pictures of yourself in a specific size format. To avoid visiting another facility just for photos, make an appointment at the post office to obtain the photos and passport during one visit.
Outside The United States
Locate a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain a passport when you are traveling. Usually you only need to contact them if you lost your passport. They try to locate it, but typically you receive temporary documents to get you home.
Purchase your passport at least 6 to 8 weeks before your travel dates. You avoid rush fees and have a legal document for proof of residency. It must be renewed periodically, based on your age, but a current passport is helpful to have if you have unexpected business in another country. If you are traveling in less than 30 days you may need an expedited passport service.