Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

Requirements for Obtaining Your United States Passport

Are you applying for your United States passport? If so, this is an exciting process, but there are a few things to watch out for. Here is our overview of the process.

If you are applying from within the United States:

You must apply in person using Form DS-11 if at least one of the following is true:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport
  • You are under age 16
  • Your previous passport was issued when you were under age 16
  • Your previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
  • Your previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago

If none of the above statements apply to you, you may be eligible to Renew using Form DS-82.

If you are applying from outside the United States:

If you live in another country, you will need to use Form DS-11 and have to apply in person at a United States embassy or consulate.

Necessary Documents:

Documents you will need to submit with your form include:

1.Proof of United States citizenship: Evidence of United States citizenship must be submitted with your application.

If you were born in the United States, you can submit a previous U.S. passport or certified birth certificate. Passports that are limited in validity will need to be supplemented by other evidence. A birth certificate must include your full name, date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records (state, county, or city/town office), and the full names of your parent(s).

If you were born outside the United States, you will need to submit Submit a previous U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or evidence described below:

  • If you claim citizenship through naturalization of parent(s), submit:
    • The Certificate(s) of Naturalization of your parent(s)
    • Your foreign birth certificate (and official translation if the document is not in English)
    • Proof of your admission to the United States for permanent residence
    • Your parents’ marriage/certificate and/or evidence that you were in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent
  • If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to at least one U.S. citizen parent, submit:
    • Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240), Certification of Birth (Form DS-1350 or FS-545), or your foreign birth certificate (and official translation if the document is not in English)
    • Proof of United States citizenship of your parent
    • Your parents’ marriage certificate
    • An affidavit showing all of your U.S. citizen parents’ periods and places of residence/physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.
  • If you claim citizenship through adoption by a U.S. citizen parent(s), submit:
    • Evidence of your permanent residence status
    • Forms on your full and final adoption
    • Your United States citizen parent(s) evidence of legal and physical custody

2. Proof of identity: You must present your original identification and submit a photocopy of the front and back with your passport application.

3. Recent color photograph: Photographs must meet passport requirements, showing a full front view of the face and bring 2×2 inches in size. Most establishments that offer photo services know these requirements.

4. Fees: The fees depend on a few different factors, but generally, these are $110 for the passport application + $35 execution fee for a total of $145.

Passport Validity Periods

If you are 16 years of age or older, your new United States passport will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue. If you are under 16 years of age, your passport will be valid for five years from the date of issue.

Have a question about the process for applying for a United States passport! We can help you with your application! Reach out to us to get started!