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Q: Acquiring a U.S. passport ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Acquiring a U.S. passport
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: devouredorchid-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Feb 2004 21:55 PST
Expires: 19 Mar 2004 21:55 PST
Question ID: 308231
I need to know the fastest, cheapest, and most trust-worthy of
acquiring an American passport. Situation: My boyfriend wants to
accompany me during Spring Break to London and he needs to get a
passport (he's a native-born American citizen) by early March. Thank
you!
Answer  
Subject: Re: Acquiring a U.S. passport
Answered By: hailstorm-ga on 18 Feb 2004 23:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
devouredorchid,

I will assume that your boyfriend does not and never has had a
passport.  Unfortunately, due to the timeframe of your request, there
is not much that can be done for the "cheapest" portion of your
request.  A passport generally requires six weeks processing time, and
your boyfriend will need it in under two.  However, it is possible to
get a passport in under two weeks time.

First of all, it's important to get everything necessary for the
application together.  If the paperwork is insufficient, valuable time
will be wasted in going back to file the application a second time. 
The necessary items required to apply for a passport are:

1) The completed application form.  For first time applicants this is
the DS-11 form.  The form can be downloaded and printed out from the
Bureau of Consular Affairs website at
http://travel.state.gov/DS-0011.pdf (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to
view and print.  This can be downloaded free of charge from
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html )

2) Proof of United States Citizenship.  Without a previous passport,
your boyfriend will require a copy of his birth certificate to meet
this requirement.

3) Proof of Identity.  This is generally either a drivers license, or
a Federal or State Identification card.  If for some reason he doesn't
have this, he will need to bring a witness who has known him for at
least two years to the application center.  The witness must prove his
or her identity and complete and sign an Affidavit of Identifying
Witness (Form DS-71) before the acceptance agent.

4) Two recent photographs.  From the text of the application form:
"Submit two identical photographs of you alone, sufficiently recent to
be a good likeness of you (normally taken within the last 6 months),
and 2 x 2 inches in size. The image size measured from the bottom of
the chin to the top of the head (including hair) should not be less
than 1 inch and not more than 1-3/8 inches. Photographs must be clear,
front view, full face, taken in normal street attire without a hat or
dark glasses, and printed on thin paper with a plain light (white or
off-white) background. They may be in color or black and white. They
must be capable of withstanding a mounting temperature of 225
Fahrenheit (107 Celsius). Photographs retouched so that your
appearance is changed are unacceptable. Snapshots, most vending
machine prints, and magazine or full-length photographs are
unacceptable. Digitized photos must meet the previously stated
qualifications and will be accepted for use at the discretion of
Passport Services."

5) The passport processing fee is $55. In addition, a fee of $30 is
charged for the execution of the application. These fees may be paid
in the following ways: Checks (personal, certified, traveler's), major
credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover), bank
draft, cashier's check, or money order (U.S. Postal, international,
currency exchange. All fees should be payable to the "U.S. Department
of State".

6) In addition, it would be a good idea to include any purchased
airline ticket itineraries or such to show when you will need to have
your passport received by.

The passport will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue except
where limited by the Secretary of State to a shorter period.

Renewal applications can be done through the mail.  However, since
this will be your boyfriend's first application, he will have to
submit this in person.  There are over 5,000 places in the United
States where one can apply for a United States passport.  You may use
the following U.S. Department of State application to determine the
closest center to your boyfriend:

http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/

However, as mentioned before, the "normal" method of obtaining a
passport requires about six weeks from the time of submission to the
time the passport is received.  To receive a passport in two weeks or
less, he will probably have to submit his application at one of the 13
Passport Agencies in the United States.  These are located in Boston,
Chicago, Connecticut, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New
Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and
Washington D.C.  Addresses, phone numbers, operating times, and links
to individual Passport Agency web sites can be found from
http://travel.state.gov/agencies_list.html

Please note that now, most Passport Agencies require an appointment in
advance.  So he should call in advance to the Agency he will go to
before going.

In order to receive the expedited service, there will be an additional
$60 application fee in order to process the request in three business
days.  Finally, on top of this, it is advised that he pay for the
overnight delivery to have the passport shipped to him as soon as it
is completed.

In summary, the fastest and most trust-worthy way of getting his
passport is to carefully acquire the required information, fill out
the required forms, make an appointment with his nearest Passport
Agency, and pay for the expedited service.  This will require $145 for
the passport application fees, plus overnight shipping, plus any costs
required in obtaining the required documents, such as the copy of his
birth certificate or the two photos required.  If your boyfriend lives
in an urban area but not close to a Passport Agency, it's possible to
also request the expedited service from his local passport acceptance
facility and pay for two-way overnight delivery.  This will require a
few more days, but he will still receive the passport much quicker
than through the ordinary service.

Unfortunately, the only way the process becomes cheaper is if he
agrees to accompany you out of the country at a later time.

Good luck!

Google search terms used:
-------------------------
obtain U.S. passport

Sources cited:
--------------
Bureau of Consular Affairs Website
  http://travel.state.gov/
  http://travel.state.gov/passport_easy.html
  http://travel.state.gov/passport_expedite.html
  http://travel.state.gov/passport_obtain.html
  http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html
devouredorchid-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
thank you!!!

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