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How to apply for your first US passport: step-by-step instructions


Alina Prikhodko

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Being a migrant in the USA is not easy. You need to understand all the subtleties and nuances of paperwork, know your rights and responsibilities. What can we say about renting an apartment, health insurance and a work permit! Secret nyc shared the algorithm of actions when applying for a US citizen passport.

Many migrants live on a green card and when they receive citizenship, the question of a passport arises, because you can only get to your homeland or travel abroad if you have a US passport. There is no right or wrong time to get it. The main thing is that it is there when you need it.

1. Determine where you will need to apply for your passport

Those receiving a U.S. passport for the first time will need to apply in person at a post office or passport acceptance facility. If you have a passport that was issued to you before the age of 16, or you had a passport but it was damaged or lost, you will also need to apply in person.

2. Fill out the application for a US passport

You need to fill out the form online. Do not sign the form unless asked to do so by the passport acceptance agent. Then print the completed form without signature.

3. Gather all your documents

To apply for a passport, in addition to the original and photocopy of your U.S. citizenship document, you will need an original and photocopy of your identification document.

Proof of citizenship can be:

  • birth certificate,
  • certificate of citizenship,
  • consular confirmation of birth abroad or birth certificate,
  • certificate of naturalization,
  • An intact US passport with full validity.

Valid identification includes the above-mentioned proof of citizenship, as well as a valid driver's license, trusted traveler ID, government employee ID, US military ID, and others.

4. Prepare for special situations

Some scenarios may require additional steps and documents when applying for a passport. For example, you are applying for a passport for your child, choosing a new gender category, applying for a special passport, or your previous passport is damaged or stolen.

5. Take a passport photo

Candidates can take a photo at home (have someone else take it as selfies are not allowed) or go to a nearby photo shop. The submitted passport photograph must have been taken within the last six months of submitting your passport application. Read all the tips on how to take the right passport photo and examples here.

6. Pay passport fees

When applying for a passport, you must pay an application fee (price varies) and a processing fee ($35 is standard). The total cost depends on what exactly you are applying for: a passport card, a passport book, or both. More information about fees can be found find here.

7. Make an appointment where you apply

You can apply for a passport while in the States at your local post office, library, or government office. Find all participating application locations can be done here. However, if you are planning to travel in the next three weeks, we recommend making an appointment through a passport agency/centre to speed up the process.

8. Track your application status

Monitor the status of your passport application through email updates, the online passport status system, or mail. Please note that it may take about two weeks before the application status is changed to the new “in progress”.

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