A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.
To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driverís license.
Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. There are also 13 regional passport agencies, and 1 Gateway City Agency, which serve customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.
You'll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time: if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession; if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago; if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16; or if your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen.
For more information on applying for a passport for the first time, visit How to get a passport.
You can renew by mail if: Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged; you received the passport within the past 15 years; you were over age 16 when it was issued; you still have the same name, or can legally document your name change.
You can get a passport renewal application form by downloading it from this site.
If your passport has been altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.
For more information on renewing a passport, visit How to renew a passport.