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How to get a U.S. Passport

Different form apply for getting a first passport, replacing a lost or stolen one, amending or renewing an existing passport. Here are some general rules. Note: a visa is not required for an American citizen traveling to Ireland.

Difficulty Level: Average      Time Required: Up to 30 days

Here's How:
  1. Pick up a passport application. Check the government pages of your telephone directory or go to the post office.
  2. If a local office isn't available, download the application from the State Department's website.
  3. Get two passport pictures (same pose) at a photography shop. Check application diagram for appropriate size.
  4. Fill out application and attach photos where indicated.
  5. Take completed application to passport office with your birth certificate or citizenship papers. Note: birth certificate must be an original, not a copy.
  6. Give a current address where you can receive mail.
  7. Ask for rush service if you need the passport in less than two weeks. (Additional fees and documentation may be required.)
  8. Wait two to four weeks for regular service.
  1. If your passport is more than 12 years old, you need a new one.
  2. Passport application fees vary, depending on the form.
  3. If you are overseas and lose your passport, contact the U.S. embassy immediately.

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