Passport Issuing Authority
Everything you need to Know about US Passport Issuance
American citizens need US passports when visiting another country. At that time, passports are stamped with a date that records how much you longer you are staying in that country. It helps establish your identity whenever the authorities of another country ask for your identity. And, you will have to show it while returning home. Now, you must be thinking who is the issuing authority for US passports? So, read ahead to know the answer.
US Passport Issuing Authority
It sounds too easy when you hear people apply for passports and take it from their post office. In fact, the process is a serious cup of tea. The US Postal Service is not responsible for processing your passports. The power behind your US passport is the US Department of State. So, the State Department's Passport Service has the issuing authority for US passport.
They are responsible for receiving, reviewing and deciding whether to grant the application or not. US passports are proof of identity for American citizenship. With the help of passports, you can visit other countries in the world without any hassle. It also gives you a smoother entrance to your home again. As per matter of fact, about nine thousand passport agencies in the US.
In these agencies, you can submit your application for your passport. The agencies include various post offices, city and country government offices and public libraries. However, the personal information of people, as well as design in US passports, have changed over the years. At present, the information includes a photograph of the passport holder, his or her date of birth.
It also includes a chip to store all sort of this information. The chip is designed to read electronically. And, it also ensures the safety of the information because they are too difficult to forge. As per matter of fact, US passports are valid for ten years for adults whereas for under 16 children, it is valid for five years.
Brief History of Passports
The word “passport” is derived from two French words, “passer” and “port.” The meaning of “passer” is to enter or leave. Similarly, “port” means a harbor. The passport was the term used to grant permission or license to pass through city gates or port of realm. The history of passports dates back to 450 BC. During that time, it was like a legal document for safe passage outside the borders.
Researchers suggest that during the reign of Henry fifth around 1414, the king granted document for safe passage to English subjects and also to foreigners. Since then, various modifications came across for passport, and today it has become a proof of identity for an individual when visiting other countries.
Interestingly, future passports will introduce embedded microchips. It will also include biometrics like fingerprints, photographs and iris patterns. Many countries are introducing this technology for advanced passports. And, Malaysia is the first country to adopt this advance technology. Countries like Japan, Australia, the UK, Sweden, etc. have recently introduced technology for their citizens.
What are the requirements for US passports?
The passport issuing authority requires a list of items when you are applying for US passport. They need these items and documents to ensure your identity which needs to be genuine. So, here are the items you will need while applying for US passport.
1. Application Form:
You will have to fill an online application form to apply for a US passport. It is available in both online and offline means. If you want to go for an online option, you can fill the form and take its printout for further proceedings. Similarly, for offline or by hand application download the application form and fill in all the information. However, do not sign until the passport designed officer tells you while you meet him in person.
2. Personal Documents:
The documents that you will need for the passport application process are as follows:
Citizenship documents in original.
Photo Id which must be acceptable.
Photocopy of the front side and back side of your citizenship document.
3. Passport Photograph
You need to have an acceptable passport photograph that must clearly show your face.
You will have to calculate your passport fees according to the fee calculate provided on the official website.
If you want the US passport issuing authority to grant your application, you need to be a US citizen by birth. However, a person with naturalization can also apply for the same. If you do not have any of the above then, you need to be a qualifying US national.
Passport book & Passport Card
You will have to think about what do you want a passport book or card. It is because both are different. You will require a Passport book for all international travel that you wish by air. On the other hand, you will require a passport card when you want to visit countries with a land border to the US. You also need it for entry through seaports from countries like Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bermuda. However, the passport card is less in cost than a passport book. But, you will not need it while international travel that you wish by air.
How to apply for US Passports?
If you need to apply for US passport, you need to follow some steps for a hassle-free application. And, if you already have applied previously and want to renew it, you can read further to know the details.
To apply for US passport, you need to fulfill the eligibility criteria at first place.
The process for both passport card and passport book remains the same. You will need to go in person to present your application for US passport to the passport issuing authority.
Application inside of US
If you need a passport in more than three weeks, you can apply in person at the passport issuing agency.
If you need a passport within two weeks, it will involve an expensive process.
Application outside of US
You can visit the US embassy for the application of the passport. If not, you can also take the help of a consulate for passport application.
Steps to follow to apply for US passport
Fill-in the application form for US passport. You can choose between an online and offline means.
Bring all the documents as mentioned while going in person to the passport issuing authority.
Sign as instructed before the passport issuing officer.
These are the steps for new passports. So, if you already have one, you can read ahead to know how you can renew your application.
US Passport Renewal
You can renew your passport in every circumstance, except:
If your passport is issued before you turned 16.
If the date of issuance of your passport is before 15 years.
If your passport is damaged, stolen or lost.
If your passport was issued s per your previous name. And, if you fail to provide legal documents in support for your name change, for instance, a marriage license.
If any of these comes out to be true in your case, unfortunately, you can not apply for your passport renewal. Instead, you will have to apply for a new passport.
Steps to Apply for passport renewal
If you meet all the criteria for US passport renewal, you can certainly renew it.
If you need to get your passport within two weeks, it is a costly process. In this case, make a call to the National Passport Information Centre to schedule an appointment. You will have to provide the reason for immediate travel, documents, and fee.
If you need to get a US passport after three weeks, you can simply submit your application through the mail.
Here are the documents and items you need while going for the appointment. You need to carry the filled application form, your recent photograph, and fee.