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How much and how long does it take to get a US passport?

The US passport allows travel to 185 countries without major restrictions, making it as strong as the UK passport. How easy is it to get one?

Update:
Chief Engineer and Head of Homeland Security, Michael Barington stamps the passport of a visitor to the Principality of Sealand, some seven miles (11 kilometres) off the coast of southeast England, on September 16, 2021.
Ben StanstallAFP

Getting a US passport is not a simple endeavor, and takes a considerable amount of time. If you are planning a holiday, it is worth checking your passport is in date to save a potential rush further down the line; you could be waiting over a month for a new one.

What are the requirements?

Firstly, and most importantly, you need to be an American citizen, not resident, to get the passport. If your visa is a non-immigrant visa, then you need to change your status and begin that process before being able to get a passport. After five years of having a Green Card, it is possible to apply for US citizenship

What about the actual process?

  1. File form DS-11, Application for a US Passport.
  2. Pay associated fees, which can be up to $175 for first time applications. A full list of fees can be found on the US government website, including a useful calculator.
  3. Wait.

So it's all done, right?

Usually, the waiting time for a passport application is between four and six weeks. However, it is possible to pay for your application to be fast-tracked, cutting the time to two to three weeks, but also costing $60 more.

However, this is all based upon usual timings and the covid-19 pandemic has increased the waiting time considerably.

For people over 16, a passport is valid for ten years, while under 16s only last for five.

What about renewing a passport?

The processing methods and time for renewals are the same as if you were applying for the first time. With a standard renewal, your passport renewal will take 4 to 6 weeks and pay no extra fees besides the $110 application fee.

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