Children younger than 16 traveling to the above destinations by land or sea can still use their U.S. birth certificate (original or copy) or another proof of citizenship to reenter the States. Also, U.S. passport cards valid for sea and land crossings (note: not air) are acceptable for travelers of all ages. Cost is $55 for first-time adult passport applicants, $40 for those younger than 16 and $30 for valid passport holders. For application info, go to travel.state.gov/passport.
Acceptable alternative documents include Trusted Traveler Cards (i.e., Fast Cards), U.S. Military ID with travel orders and Native American photo ID cards.
How much advance time do I need to apply for a passport?
It can never be too soon. If your passport is nearing its expiration date, renew as soon as possible, because some countries require passports to be valid for six months after a traveler’s entry or return date. Passports issued to travelers 15 and younger are valid for five years; for those 16 and older, 10 years.
Processing time in mid-May was four to six weeks for regular service and two to three weeks for expedited.
Can I apply by mail?
Not if you’re a first-timer. Mail-ins are for renewers whose old passports were issued within the past 15 years and haven’t been damaged or stolen. The passport also must have been issued after your 16th birthday.
To renew a passport, place a DS-82 application form (available on the State Department Web site, at post offices and at travel agencies), your most recent passport, one 2-by-2-inch photo and a check for $110 made out to the U.S. Department of State in an envelope. If your name has changed, also include a certified copy of the legal document specifying the change (e.g., marriage license, court decree, etc.). Mail to National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90155, Philadelphia, Pa., 19190-0155.
Who must apply in person, and what is the process?
You must apply in person if:
●You’re a first-time applicant.
●Your passport was lost, stolen or damaged. (If lost or stolen, you must also complete form DS-64.)
●Your old passport expired and was issued more than 15 years ago or before you turned 16.
●Your name has changed since your last passport was issued and you have no documentation reflecting the change.
●You’re 14 to 17 years old. A parent or legal guardian (with his or her own ID) must be present if you do not have acceptable identification. Parental consent is required for children 16 or younger. Both parents must appear and present acceptable identification and proof of relationship (e.g., their names on the child’s certified birth certificate).