A U.S. passport is not only the most important travel document but your identity document too. It proves your identity and your U.S. citizenship as well.
Having a valid passport is a must, especially when you’re planning to having an abroad trip. If you already have one, that’s fine. But if you don’t have a passport or you need to renew the existing one, you must do it well in advance.
While applying for a new passport or renew the existing one, you need to submit some documents and here they are,
- Proof Of Identity – You can submit a valid driver’s license as a proof of your identity.
- Proof Of U.S. Citizenship – You can submit your recently expired passport as a proof of citizenship while your birth certificate and U.S. naturalization certificate can also be used as a proof of citizenship.
- Passport Application – Your passport application form must be completely filled out by hand or online. Either way you need a printed copy with original signature.
- Recent Photograph – You need to affix a recent photo with plain white background on your passport application.
- Government Fee – You can pay required fee either by check or money order payable to the Department of State.
- Proof Of Travel – In case you need an expedited service, you need to submit proof of travel showing departure within next couple of weeks.
All the documents you submit while applying for a passport should be original, unless you’re asked for a photocopy. The documents also require your original signature in black or blue ink.
And now it comes to the common mistakes you must avoid while applying for a new U.S. passport or Passport Renewal In San Francisco.
- Erroneous Application – White-out, cross-outs or any other marks on the form can void your application. So it’s better to dot the i’s and check the t’s while filling out the form. As already mentioned, don’t use anything other than black or blue ink on the application form. It’s recommended that you fill out the form online.
- Photocopy Of Birth Certificate – You must submit your birth certificate in original. It should be the state-issued long form with full names of your parents. Hospital certificates are not considered as birth certificate.
- Self-Taken Photo – Many applicants take their pictures themselves instead of getting it done at a professional passport camera outlet. Bad quality photographs, expired films, photos with head too small or too large or wrong color background are some of the key reasons for rejection. So take care of this.
- Incorrect Amount – Incorrect amount (passport fee) or the check/money order payable to a wrong name can also cause your application to be rejected. If you want to mail the application, fees should be made payable to ‘S. Department of State” for the right amount. You can make the payment by check or U.S. Postal money order. If you’re taking help of a passport agency you can make the payment by debit/credit card, money order, check or even cash for the correct amount. Application fee is non-refundable.
- Application On Behalf Of A Minor – Both the parents along with their child should be present at the passport office in San Francisco (for San Francisco residents). Consent forms should be notarized in case the parent or guardian is unable to be present.
These are just some general nitty-gritty you should know before applying for a U.S. passport or renew the expired one.