Sunday, May 12, 2013

Applying for your Passport for the First TIME!

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As many of you know I am heading to Ecuador in a little over 4 months and I will need both a Passport and a VISA to leave the US and come back. I have never traveled outside of the US so I was super excited to finally apply for my Passport!

I decided to write a post about tips to making the process of getting your passport more smoothly so you don't get stuck having to wait longer to apply for it. I have seen people at the Post Office get sent away because they forgot something or filled in the form wrong. Talk about stressful!

So here are some tips!

  1. Determine what form you need to fill out. Are you renewing a Passport? Or getting a Passport for the first time? Note: If you are going on a mission, you will get a copy of the form in your Mission Call.
  2. Follow the instructions on the form and fill in the information. Do NOT sign the form or attach the passport photo. 
  3. Get a passport photo taken - The photo can only be 2 X 2 inches wide.
    • You can get passport photo's at Walmart, Walgreen's, the Post Office, or Costco.
    • Costco was the cheapest in my area. I paid $4.99 for 4 passport photos!
  4. Locate your evidence of U.S. Citizenship. Evidence accepted is:
    • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
    • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, state, or county. The birth certificate must include:
      • Your Full name
      • Date of Birth
      • Registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal
      • Registrar's signature
      • Date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. 
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    • Naturalization Certificate
    • Certificate of Citizenship
  5. Locate your Government ID & make copies of the front and back on 8 1/2 X 11' paper
    • Photocopy must contain images on only one-side of each page submitted.
      • If copies cannot be made on the same side of one page, you may present two separate pages; one displaying the front of the ID and the second displaying the back of the ID.
    • The paper should be free of other images and/or markings.
  6. Put everything in a manila envelop that you will need to apply for your passport
    • Passport Application
    • Passport Photo
    • Copy of your Government ID - the original must also be present when you apply 
    • Original copy of your U.S. Citizenship evidence - they will take this away from you and send it back in the mail
  7. Locate a Passport Processing location near you. You can find the closest location by clicking on the link:
  8. Travel too and apply in person at the Local Passport Processing Center. You will need to apply in person, if: 
    • You are applying for your first U.S. passport
    • You are under age 16
    • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
    • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
    • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
  9. Pay for your Passport and wait for it to come in the mail!
    • To apply for a first time Passport I paid $110.00 and a $25.00 processing fee at the Post Office.
    • I am also leaving on a mission and in the call packet, it requested that I pay for the Expedited Service which costs an additional $60.00. The good news is you will get your Passport in 2-3 weeks (expedited) instead of 10 - 12 weeks (regular)!
If you have additional questions about Passports visit:

I followed all of the steps above and had everything in a manila envelop and ready to go when I went to my local Post Office. It took me less than 10 minutes to go in, walk through the form with the postal worker, and pay. 

Good luck getting your Passport! 

Hermana Weller

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