It’s a new season, full of fresh beginnings, and perhaps your teen travel on their own this year. Having a passport means that you are ready for any new adventure that comes along. Applying for a passport can feel a bit intimidating for a teen. Don’t worry, we’ll take the mystery out of applying for a passport so that your kids can take advantage of whatever adventure presents itself!
The thing to remember when learning how to apply for your passport is, time is money And you get to keep more of it in your pocket if you can plan ahead of time and have your passport in hand MONTHS before it is time to go. The process itself can feel overwhelming, but if you take one step at a time, you’ve got this!
First, determine if you will need to fill out form DS-11 or DS-82.
Fill our form DS-11 if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
- You are applying for your first passport
- You are under age 16 or your original passport was issued before you turned 16.
- Your previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Your previous passport was issued over 15 years ago.
If none of the conditions above apply to you, then you can renew by mail using form DS-82.
1. Fill out the Passport Application Form
You can complete a DS-11 online. Print it out, but do not sign it. You will sign the form when you go to the issuing agency, most likely a local post office. If you would prefer to fill out the paper work with pen – Click here to get the PDF.
2. Provide evidence of U.S. citizenship (must be original, not a photocopy).
- Birth certificate – Issued by city, county, or state of birth. Lists your full name, date and place of birth. Lists our parents’ full names. Has the date filed with registrar’s office within one year of birth and has the registrar’s signature.
- Fully valid, undamaged U.S. passport. (It’s okay if it’s expired.)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Provide a black and white photocopy on 8 1/2 x 11 white paper of the front and back of the U.S. evidence of citizenship you are providing. Photocopies should be legible and single sided.
3. Present ONE of the following forms of ID.
- Fully valid, undamaged U. S. passport (Okay if expired.)
- Fully valid U.S. driver’s license
- Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
- Government employee ID
- Military or military dependent ID
- Valid foreign passport
Make a copy of each ID that you present.
4. Get a Passport Photo
Honest, I have always gone to CVS or the post office and had them take a picture for me. It’s less than $10 and always “follows the passport rules”.
5. Take it to an Office for Acceptance (you must come in person)
After you have gathered all of the above-required documents, you may apply for a passport in person. Click here to see where they can accept your passport information. If you are getting it for your kiddos, you BOTH must be there – in person with the minor. (Yep, but #worthit.)
Further details about U.S. government passport rules can be found by clicking HERE.
Take it a step further:
Maybe international travel isn't on your agenda for now. It still never hurts to know the process. Print off the form and have them fill it in. The more applications your teen completes, the less intimidating it will be to fill out forms.
Also, consider having a conversation with your teen. Does your teenager want to travel internationally? If so, where? Why would they choose that destination and what would they do while they are there? Now might be a great time to brainstorm travel or Foreign Language goals. Be sure to make your goals SMART ones!
Applying for a passport plants seeds that the world is bigger and worth exploring! And travel and foreign language acquisition builds critical thinking skills, creativity, communication skills and finally, collaboration skills. It also opens up scholarship possibilities!
So, while you might not have plans to travel yet, applying for a passport is a fantastic life skill that will position your kids to be ready when opportunity knocks!
Head into Adventure! True North Homeschool Academy's World Geography Class!
Using virtual field trips, students will be transported to museums, exhibits, zoos, and historical landmarks all over the world to discover Geography in a unique and robust way! Each week there will be an opportunity to explore and learn about a variety of topics from some of the most famous museums & exhibits in the world. Students will complete various projects, such as virtual scavenger hunts, “guided” tours, and independent exploration and summary reports.enture!