What Passport Service Do You Need?


Several different passport services are available to U.S. citizens who travel abroad. Each service has specific requirements. You will find a brief description of these below.

New Passport

A new passport is what you need if you are applying for the first time. This also applies to those whose passport was lost, stolen or damaged. If your previous U.S. passport has expired and it was issued more than 15 years ago, you will have to apply for a new one as well.

Passport Renewal

You should apply for a passport renewal if you already have a passport that is not damaged, you received it within the past 15 years, were at least 16 when it was issued and still have the same name as in the passport. You can still renew your passport by mail if your name has changed as long as you can document the change.

Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport

Reporting a lost or stolen passport is important to help protect you against identity theft. To apply for a replacement, you need to complete the application for new passport, Form DS-11.

On question #18, you need to write your name as it appeared in your passport and the date it was issued. Give the passport number if you know it.

You also need to complete the Statement Regarding Stolen or Lost Passport, Form DS-64. You should fill out this form only if your lost or stolen passport is still valid. Answer as many questions that you can with as much detail as you can.

Passport for a Child

Stricter passport requirements for minors has made it more difficult to obtain the travel document but for zealous parents this is a step in the direction.

To apply for a child’s passport, parents or legal guardians will need to appear. When a parent or legal guardian cannot appear, you must provide either written permission from the absent parent or guardian or some other documented explanation, such as proof of sole custody of the child, an adoption decree or the death certificate of a deceased parent. This must be notarized.

For children under 16, you need to provide both proof of citizenship and proof of relationship.

Name Change in Passport

To apply for a passport name change will cost you nothing if it is within one year of issuance. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a renewal and pay the applicable fees.

If you want to change the name in your passport, you need to fill out Form DS-5504: U.S. Passport Re-Application Form, and mail it in with a certified copy of your marriage certificate or your name change court decree, your current valid passport and new passport photos.

Add Pages to Your Passport

Applying for additional visa/stamp pages for your passport has no cost unless you request expedited service. You only need extra pages if you travel extensively and have less than two to four blank pages in your passport.

To get the pages added, you need to mail completed form DS-4085, Application for Additional Visa Pages or Miscellaneous Passport Services, with your passport to the address listed on the form.

Expedited Services

Regular passport processing is done in 6 to 10 weeks, depending on the demand. Expedited services can be requested. This will reduce the processing to 2 to 3 weeks. If you need your passport quicker, you will have to make an appointment at a regional passport agency or hire a private passport expediter who can get your passport on the same day to 10 business days.