Getting ready to go abroad? Step 1: get a passport! Don't worry though, it's really easy.
Between knowing where to start and what documents you need, does getting your passport seem a little intimidating? The process can actually be pretty stress free, but we've got some tips to help make it that way for you.
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Getting Your U.S. Passport
You'll get started on the State Department's official website. They have a handy little step by step helper for getting your passport right here. That link can get you started for whatever your situation is, whether you're getting a passport for the first time, renewing, changing your name, etc.
Get Your Application Prepared
If this is your first time getting a passport, you do need to apply in person, but you can get everything ready ahead of time.
This page walks you through everything you need to do before you go in to apply, step by step. It explains everything in detail on that page but in a really quick nut shell so you know what to expect, you'll need to...
- Fill out your application online + print it out
- Have proof of US citizenship — usually your birth certificate is easiest (you'll need both the original and a photocopy of it)
- Have an ID — usually your driver's license is easiest (you'll need both the original and a photocopy of it)
- Have one passport photo (here's cheap places to get them)
- Payment for the fee — for first time passports, it's $110 + $35
Apply In Person
Now that you have all the requirements compiled for your application, you just need to locate the nearest place where you can submit your passport application.
This locator will help you find the closest place to you. Then just head in during their business hours to get er done!
Hey ILP Volunteers — keep your receipt! You'll want to email a copy of your receipt to our office.
Track Your Passport Status
After 7-10 business days, you can track the status of your application right here.
How long will it take before you get your passport? It can vary depending on how busy their offices are, but it's usually 6-8 weeks (as of 2019 when this post was written). If you need a passport faster than that, there is an option to pay a fee to expedite things.
Ready for an international adventure?
If you are looking for more travel tips, check out these ILP blogs or you can click below to talk to someone who has been on a semester with International Language Programs before! They can tell you all about their service abroad, more about the ILP countries, and can give you tips on how to pay for a semester abroad — we have tons of fundraising tips and discounts.