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How to Renew or Apply for a Passport

• Your passport was lost, stolen or damaged. (If it was lost or stolen, you must also complete form DS-64.)

• Your old passport expired and was issued more than 15 years ago or when you were younger than 16.

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• Your name has changed since your last passport was issued and you do not have the legal documentation to prove it.

• You are a minor, 14 to 17 years old. Parental consent or accompaniment may be requested, especially if the child does not have ID. (For younger children, consent by both parents or legal guardians is required.)

Application materials include form DS-11, but unlike the mail-in, do not sign it until the passport official gives the word; proof of U.S. citizenship, including a birth or naturalization certificate, among other official documents; personal identification, such as a valid driver's license or military ID; two 2-by-2-inch passport photos taken within the past six months; and payment of $85 (16 and older) or $70 (younger than 16).

Where do I go to apply in person?

There are about 6,000 facilities nationwide, including many federal, state and probate courts, post offices, libraries and county and municipal offices. The department's Web site (iafdb.travel.state.gov) will help you locate outposts in your neighborhood. In D.C., for example, the post offices at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and 4005 Wisconsin Ave. NW provide such services, but only during specific hours -- so check ahead.

I'm in a hurry -- my trip is in two weeks!

For expedited service, you can apply by mail or in person at a passport agency -- but only if you are leaving within 14 days. For the former, send in the requisite materials plus an additional $60 and overnight delivery costs. Write "expedited" on the envelope, and include your departure date and travel plans on the application. For the latter, make an appointment with a Passport Agency and bring with you all of the necessary documents, plus plane tickets or an airline itinerary and the extra $60. Tip: Due to occasionally fluky mail service, if you are leaving in six days or less, don't risk the postman and apply in person. In Washington, the center is at 1111 19th St. NW and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can schedule an appointment via automated service at 202-647-0518.

For even faster -- but costlier -- service, employ a private company that can deliver your passport in a jiffy, say 24 hours. Instant Passport, for one, lists turnaround times of one to six business days ($149, on top of government fees) and seven to 20 days ($109). Info: 800-284-2564, www.instantpassport.com. Other firms include American Passport Express (800-841-6778, www.americanpassport.com) and PassportsVisaExpress.com (888-596-6028, www.passportvisaexpress.com).


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