Who should get a passport? Well, I believe everyone should have a passport. You just don't know when either business or pleasure will cause you to need to travel overseas. Although it isn't a pleasant thought, an emergency or death involving friends or family outside the U.S. may also result in a need to travel. Even people traveling to Mexico and Canada now need proof of citizenship, and a passport fulfills that requirement.
Obtaining a passport in Phoenix can take more than six weeks from the time you apply, so if there's absolutely any chance that you will leave the U.S., you should get a passport well before any anticipated travel to avoid the stress of a last minute crisis.
You can obtain a passport application at many locations around the greater Phoenix area. Here are some general tips about passports for U.S. citizens. Keep in mind that everyone's situation or circumstance may be unique, and a call to the passport office in that case is your best bet.
1. Do I have to apply for a passport in person?
You must apply for a passport in person if any of the following apply to you:
- This is the first time you are applying for a passport, and you are a US citizen.
- You are under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
- Your passport is damaged, lost or stolen.
- Your passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
2. Where can I get passport forms and applications?
Passport forms can be obtained from the City Clerk's Office of the city in which you reside, designated Post Office locations, clerks of court, county/municipal offices, or travel agencies. You can see a set of local links for various cities in the Phoenix metro area below. You can also check online at the U.S. Department of State Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page.
3. What do I need to get a passport?
For a first time application, you must bring the application, proof of U.S. citizenship, proof of identity two passport photos, and the fee. You can check here to find out what the acceptable forms of proof and I.D. are. Some places where you apply for the passport might not take credit cards, so bring your checkbook or cash just in case. The fee for a passport is around $165. You must also have a Social Security number.
4. I have a passport that will expire soon. How do I renew it?
If you are just renewing your passport and it was issued less than fifteen years ago, obtain a DS-82 Form. You must complete the form in black ink. The instructions for completion and mailing are located on the back of the form. Renewal costs about $140.
5. Do I need a passport if I'm just driving to Rocky Point or other cities in Mexico?
No, you can just get a Passport Card. The Passport Card allows people who are traveling from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to return to the U.S. A Passport Card is not acceptable for air travel. If you are flying, you need a Passport Book. Many people in Arizona travel to Mexico often and drive back and forth across the border. In this case, you might want to get both a Passport Card, which is easier and more convenient to carry, as well as a regular Passport Book, in case you have other international travel needs or intend to fly back from Mexico. A Passport Card costs about $55.
6. My name has changed. How do I change it on my passport?
If you already have a passport but your name has been legally changed, you can get a new passport by following these instructions.
7. Can I take the passport photo with my own camera?
It used to be that you had to go to an 'official' passport photo store to get an acceptable passport photo. That's still probably the safest and easiest way to go, but other options are now available. Still, you just can't snap a photo with your disposable camera, or take a digital picture of yourself and print it out, and assume it will be accepted. If you are determined to take these pictures yourself, here are the photography guidelines.
8. Can I download passport forms from my computer?
Passport application forms are available online. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully.
9. I need my passport sooner than 6-10 weeks. Can I get it faster?
If you need a passport within 2 weeks, you must schedule an appointment by calling toll-free at 1-877-487-2778, 24 hours/day. There will be an extra fee for this service. The Western Passport Center in Tucson only serves customers who are traveling, or submitting their passports for foreign visas, within 14 days.
10. I have an emergency. Can I get my passport in less than 2 weeks?
If you need a passport in less than two weeks, call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. Warning: a business meeting is not an emergency--we're talking about life or death emergencies.
11. Should I use a passport service to get my passport?
There are many passport service companies that say they will assist you with obtaining a passport. If they are charging you a fee for the service, make sure it isn't something that you can do without their help. An example of when you might need the help of a service would be for a rush passport, where you can't travel to a regional office.
After you get your passport, make sure you keep it in a safe place where it won't be lost or destroyed. If you don't travel often, your safe deposit box might be a good place for it. Make a few copies of your passport. Keep one in your checked luggage when you travel, and keep one with a friend or relative that can be reached at home in case yours is lost or stolen while you are traveling.
Phoenix Area Passport Offices
Last updated: January 2014