7 Steps for U.S. Passport Application and Renewal in 2021

Looking to get a new passport? Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started!

Step 1: Get your passport photo.

For all passport applications, you will need two 2”x2” passport photos taken.

So you may be asking where you can get a passport photo taken. Well, AAA has you covered. With competitive pricing and a fast process, we’ll have you in-and-out in no time. That is unless you stick around for AAA’s countless other travel services, like foreign currencytrip insurance or to speak with a AAA Travel agent to start planning your next big trip!

 Schedule a passport photo appointment at your local AAA Travel Store.

Step 2: Fill out your U.S. passport application or renewal form.

To continue the passport application or renewal process, you need to complete and submit the correct form. You will need a different form based on different needs:

· New passport application (first-time applicant): DS-11

· Children under 16 years of age: DS-11

· Children 16-17 years of age (only valid for five years): DS-11

· Passport Renewal: DS-82

· Lost or Stolen: DS-64 and report immediately.

You can print your application form off travel.state.gov or ask your local AAA Travel store for a form.

Step 3: Prepare your supporting documents.

Have your supporting documents ready for submission. You cannot get your passport processed without proof of citizenship. Examples of these are:

· Your birth certificate

· Full valid U.S. passport (if renewing)

· In some cases, a birth abstract. 

· Certificate of Naturalization

· Certificate of Citizenship 

In addition to your proof of citizenship, you must provide a valid form of photo ID. It must be a physical copy, not digital. You will also need to submit your former passport (undamaged) for renewal.

Step 4: Make an appointment with a passport service location.

Finding a location that processes a passport might be closer and easier than you think. Many post offices, clerks of court, public libraries, and other state, county, and municipal government offices can accept passport applications for regular and expedited processing times. Some are even available for walk-ins – no appointment necessary!

*For emergency, you must contact the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs to apply. Appointments are extremely limited due to limited staffing caused by COVID-19 and are only for life or death situations regarding immediate family members. Processes take 72 hours (within three business days) to complete.

Step 5: Pay the passport application fees.

Not the most fun step while applying for a passport, but just as necessary. Paying passport application and renewal fees are required if you want the application processed. While pricing varies based on timing, shipping and type of passport, you can always expect to spend upwards of $100. 

Go to Travel.state.gov and use the passport calculator to factor in all variables and know what to expect before you need to pay.

Step 6: Play the waiting game. 

Prepare to wait, wait, wait on your passport. Processing times for passports are still being affected by the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what used to be a shorter process has now extended by double the amount of time processing took in 2019. Here’s what to expect in wait times:

· Normal processing: 10-12 weeks

· Expedite processing: 4-6 weeks

· Life-threatening situations: 3 business days

Step 7: Receive your new passport!

You’ve finally got it! Your passport should arrive at your home or PO address for you.

For both new applicants and renewals, don’t panic if you receive your new passport and citizenship documents (old passport, birth certificate, etc.) at different times. That’s common. You should receive these within ten business days of each other. 


For more information regarding passport applications and international guidelines, please visit travel.state.gov.

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