If you are ever planning to travel outside of the United States, you will need a passport. You can get or renew a passport at many United States Post Office locations.
What You Need To Get a Post Office Passport
There are several things that you need in order to get a passport at the Post Office. First, you will need two forms of identification. Those forms of identification might include:
- A Picture ID
- A Valid Driver’s License
- A Military ID
- A Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization
- A Birth Certificate
You will also need two photographs of yourself for the passport and related paperwork. The photographs should be taken against a white background and they should be 2 inches by 2 inches square. Some Post Office locations will take those passport photos for you when you get there, but not all locations have the cameras and other equipment required to do that. So, you should call your local branch office and see if they take passport photos on site or not.
Filling Out the Post Office Passport Application
When you are ready to get a passport, you can download, print, and fill out an online application. To do that, just visit https://www.usps.com/shop/apply-for-a-passport.htm and follow the instructions there in order to find the right form. There are a couple of different forms that you could need, depending on your situation. For example, if you are under 16 you will have to fill out a special form. You can get that information from the Post Office website or from the Department of State website.
If you don’t want to fill out the passport application online, you can get it at your local postal branch, instead. The clerk at the counter should be able to help you find the form that you need.
Prepare Ahead of Time
The time it takes to process a passport request varies, but it can take 4 weeks or more. So, you should definitely apply for a passport long before you ever need one. It is nearly impossible to get a passport on short notice. However, you can get expedited passport service, if you have to. Nevertheless, you should know that even the expedited service can take around two weeks.
If you want to know how long your Post Office passport application is likely to take to process, you should look at the current processing times. You can find a list of those processing times at http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/processing/processing_1740.html.
Renewing Your Passport
If you already have a passport and are interested in renewing your passport at the Post Office, just fill out the appropriate form online and bring it to your local Post Office or pick up the form at your local branch, fill it out, and bring it back. You may also need to have new passport photos taken, depending on how old your passport is and a few other factors. Visit http://www.usps.com to learn more about obtaining or renewing a passport.
If it is time to get a new passport or renew the one you have then there are many offices of the United States Postal Service that have everything you need to accomplish this goal.
You can simply visit your local post office to get the passport application or you can go online and use the services there to print off an application and then take it to the post office yourself. You can find the applications to download and print at www.USPS.com
What to Do If Passports Aren’t Offered Locally
It is good to know that not every post office in America offers this service. To find an office that does it is a good idea to go to https://www.usps.com/shop/apply-for-a-passport.htm and then use the PO Locator Tool to find the nearest one to you. There is a drop down menu that asks you to select the Passports option from a list under Location Types.
You can also renew your passport by mail if you meet all of the criteria listed on the U.S. Department of State website. If you are not qualified you have to obtain a DS-11 application and make a personal appearance before an acceptance agent at a Passport Acceptance Facility.
To determine if you are eligible you need to go to the Travel.State.Go website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs and read the information there carefully. The URL is http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html.
You many not be able to apply online if your most recent U.S. passport is damaged, was issued when you were under the age of sixteen, if it was issued more than twenty years ago or if it was issued under a different name. If you are missing any of this criteria then you definitely must apply in person and forgo the idea of applying through the post office entirely.
Plan Ahead to Get the Passport On Time
The United States Post Office and the United States government in general is notoriously slow when it comes to renewing passports so you really need to plan ahead if you want to get it in time for a trip. It is recommended that you apply several months ahead of your planned date to leave the country or you may not get it in time. The busiest times of the year to apply for a passport are Spring and Summer so apply for your post office passport well ahead of that.
To help you keep track you can access updates about how long it takes for the government to process both their routine service and expedited service passports. You can access these updates on the U.S. Department of State Consular website at http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/processing/processing_1740.html. where you will be told if they are experiencing delays due to high volume processing and roughly how long it takes to process a routine application.