Plan ahead: Applying for a passport can be a long process. Allow at least ten weeks to process your application, or you could face steep fees and last-minute approvals that could have you sweating it out right before you’re supposed to depart.
Have important documents ready: You need a proof of citizenship (i.e. a birth certificate) and proof of identity (i.e. your driver’s license or government-issued ID). Send in original copies of these documents with your passport application.
Get photo-ready: A passport photo must be provided with your application. Among other specifications, it needs to be a specific size (2x2 inches), taken within the last six months and with a neutral expression. While you can take the photo yourself, we recommend putting the smartphone away and having a professional passport photo service take it for you. Most chain drugstores offer this service at a very reasonable price.
Complete the paperwork: Fill out the DS-11 form and bring it to the nearest acceptance facility.
Calculate the fees: For adults, your first passport book will cost $135. A minor (under age 16) passport book is $105. Passport card options are less, but can only be used when traveling to certain countries by land or sea.
Track the application: You can easily keep track of your application’s status online.