A passport is the ticket to travel the entire world! Each of U.S. citizens, including children, are required to obtain passports in their own names for identification while traveling abroad and also for re-entry into the United States. Unless specifically authorized by means of a passport issuing office, no person may have more than one legitimate, or possibly valid, U.S. passport of the same type at any 1 time.

Following is a summary of the passport application process compiled from information provided by the U.S. State Department. You can find checklists of all of the materials necessary for every kind of program and download the appropriate forms in Passport Software and Types.

When Do I NOT Need a Passport?

A passport is required for all global air travel and for many land or sea travel too. However, there are a few exceptions:

-- U.S. taxpayers on cruises that begin and end at exactly the same port from the U.S. will only have to display evidence of citizenship, like a birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. (You may still need a passport to enter additional foreign states throughout the cruise.)

-- A passport card may be utilised in lieu of a passport by adults traveling from sea or land between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. See below for more information on the passport card.

Notice: A spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol informs us that copies of birth certificates are okay if you are unable to bring your original. Also, for adult cruise passengers, even when the name on your birth certificate does not match the one on your driver's license (by way of example, if the former gets your maiden name along with the latter your married name), it's a good idea to bring together documentation of your name change -- like a marriage certificate.

First-Time Passport Applications

If you are applying for your first U.S. passport, then you must apply in person at either a regional passport service or at one of those thousands of facilities across the nation that take passport applications (such as courthouses and post offices). To find the nearest passport agency or facility, use this research tool from the U.S. State Department.

When you apply, you Will Have to provide the following documents:

-- Proof of identity (photo ID with signature) such as a previous U.S. passport, a Naturalization Certificate, a valid driver's license, or a valid government or military identification card. You'll also need to supply an 8 1/2 x 11 inch photocopy of this document (both front and back).

-- One passport photo taken within the previous six months. The photos must be two ×two inches with your mind sized between 1 and 1 3/8 inches. Pictures have to be a front view, full face, taken in normal street attire without a hat or dark glasses, with a plain white backdrop.

-- A completed passport application form DS-11 containing all of the requested information except your signature. This form has to be signed in the presence of an authorized executing official. You may fill out the form online, but note that you must print it out in the end and apply in person; there is no online program at this moment.

Passport Card

The State Department has developed a less costly alternative to the traditional passport known as the passport card. This card isn't valid for any international aviation, but may be used rather than a passport for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. The wallet-sized card contains an identification chip that can be read by a scanner around 20 feet away, and costs $65 for adults and $50 for kids.

Passport Fees

Passport charges for an initial 10-year passport are $145 if you're 16 years old or over, and $115 for a five-year passport if under 16. Passport renewal charges are $110. Some amenities accept payment via credit and debit cards; call ahead to be sure.

Expedited Passports

Ordinary expedited service through the State Department takes about two to three weeks and costs $60 and any delivery prices. If you are expediting a renewal by email, make sure you write"EXPEDITE" clearly on the outside of this envelope.

If you are in a rush and you don't live near one of those passport agencies, you might also want to think about working with a passport and VisaExpeditors.com.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a writer; illustrator, columnist and an editorial fellow. My previous work includes roles in digital journalism and content writer. I did graduation in Journalism.