Getting a US passport is a little more difficult than renewing a state-issued document like a driver’s license, or registering for certain services online. Although the US Department of State has a website with practical information, there is currently no way to apply directly for a first-time passport book or even a renewal online.
Can I Apply for a Passport Online?
However, that’s not to say a lot of the work on a passport application can’t be completed online. The State Department’s website has a form filler option to reduce the amount of handwritten information, but these must still be printed when it comes time to send in the application. In addition, applicants usually need to provide proof of immediate travel; an email showing a flight confirmation is sufficient.
Three ways to apply for a US passport
What can you do after filling out these forms online, then printing them? There are currently three options for receiving a US passport book or card. The first one is designed for travelers really cut short on time or in transit: applying in person at an American embassy abroad or a regional passport office in the US. The second is for mail-in applications directly to Washington DC. Both these methods require form DS-11 or DS-82, with two passport-sized photos, fees, and identification.
The third option is to entrust your application to a third-party passport agency like Travel Visa Pro. While it’s possible to visit one of our nine staffed offices across the US in person or ship your documents through one of our new pick up and drop off locations, TVP also allows our clients to purchase any passport service on our website, after which time a staff member will be in touch to discuss options for getting the required documents to the passport office.
What can you do online with your passport?
Just because the US Department of State isn’t currently set up to accept passport applications online doesn’t mean there aren’t a few services you might appreciate as a frequent traveler.
Mobile Passport Control allows US citizens to speed through customs if they have the Mobile Passport app set up on their phone or tablet. Though technically not a “passport”, as you’ll have to hand over your card or book to immigration after Customs and Border Protection, the passport app is still a handy online service.
All passport application forms, from DS-11 for first-time applicants to DS-82 for renewals, can be filled out online on the State Department website (https://pptform.state.gov/), but these must be printed to be submitted. However, if you’ve lost your US passport or had it stolen abroad or at home, you can report this loss online with Form DS-64.
If you’re planning on traveling abroad for short- or long-term, the State Department recommends you register your trip online with them, so you can be notified of potential safety concerns, and have a point of contact if you’re missing or delayed. Travel Visa Pro offers this service as well.