How to Apply For a Passport at the Post Office

Want to apply for a passport at a post office? The first step is to discover if the nearest post office has been designated by the Department of State to accept passport applications. While there are more than 36,000 post offices in the United States, there are only 9,400 or so passport application acceptance facilities. Since some of these are public libraries and county clerk’s offices, only about 25% of the all post offices can accept application forms. Contact the post offices nearest to your residence until you locate one that has a passport agent. Once you have done this, follow the follow step to apply for your travel document.

Complete Form DS-11

This form is used by first-time applicants, minors and adults whose most recent passport was issued to them when they were minors. The application can be used to apply for a passport book, passport card or both. It is important that you not sign the application. This must be done in the presence of an authorized agent.

Gather Supporting Documents

Applicants who submit Form DS-11, must also submit evidence of United States citizenship, proof of identity and a photocopy of the identification document. Most frequently submitted documents include a birth certificate and valid driver’s license although other options are available. Parents of minors must provide proof of relationship to their children.

Take a Passport Photo

Only one photo is now required. The size must be 2×2 inches. The picture must be in color with a white or off-white background. Of course, it must be recent and have a full face view. Problems with passports photos are major causes of delays in the processing of applications.

Visit Post Office

Take the completed but unsigned application form, supporting documents and the photo to the nearest post office that accepts applications. Present them to the attending agent. The agent will review the form and documents as well as witness as you sign the application.

Pay the Passport Fees

There is an execution fee of $25 that is paid to the acceptance facility. The application fee for a passport book is $110 for an adult and $80 for a minor age 15 or under. The application fee for a passport card is $30 for an adult and $15 for a minor. Applicants can request expedited service for an additional $60.

Mail the Packet

Mail the sealed packet to the address on the application form. Applicants are encouraged to use a protective packing such as a Tyvek envelope and send the packet using a traceable delivery method. Those who want their new passport sent by overnight delivery should include another $12.72 in the payment.

Routine processing is taking 4-6 weeks and expedited service is taking 2-3 weeks at the time of writing. Processing times can change due to many different variables. It is important to verify these before mailing your application to make sure you receive your passport before your next scheduled trip abroad.