The first thing you do when applying for a passport is print and fill out Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport. Then, take your completed form to an Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency.  Do not sign the application until an Acceptance Agent gives you permission.  It is important to remember to include your Social Security Number on the form.  Failure to do so may result in delays or even denial of your application.

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Evidence of U.S. citizenship also must be submitted along with your application.  The following are some examples of both primary and secondary proof of citizenship.

Primary evidence of citizenship:
  •  Previously issued, undamaged, U.S. Passport
  •  Certified Birth Certificate issued by the city, county, or state
  •  Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  •  Naturalization Certificate
  •  Certificate of Citizenship

If you cannot provide primary evidence, you must provide secondary evidence of citizenship:
  •  Baptismal certificate
  •  Hospital Birth Certificate
  •  Census record
  •  Early school record
  •  Family bible record
  •  Doctor’s record of post-natal care

When you apply for a U.S. passport in person, you must also present one form of acceptable identification.  The following are examples of primary and secondary identification.

Primary Identification:
  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Current government identification
  • Current military identification

If you cannot provide primary identification, then you must provide secondary identification:
  •  A combination of documents such as: Social Security Card + credit card + employee ID + library card
  •  A witness that must be present at the time of application + known you for 2 years + be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident + have a valid ID + have Form DS-71 Affidavit of Identifying Witness filled out in the presence of a Passport Agent

You must present a photocopy of each identification document in addition to the original document. Photocopies must be on plain white, 8 ½ by 11” standard paper, with the front and back of the identification document visible.  Each photocopy must contain images on only one side of the paper; you may present multiple separate pages.

Finally, you must pay the application fee and provide a photo that will appear on your passport.

Minors age 16 and under have slightly different requirements.  See "How to Apply for a Minor's U.S. Passport” for more information.

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