The world is a wide and wonderful place, but you can't go outside the US without an official passport. Even travel to Canada and Mexico needs the right paperwork these days. Here's how to get your passport in New Orleans in time for your trip.
Time Required: Several weeks, except in cases of emergency
- You must apply in person if:
- You are applying for your first U.S. passport
- You are under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport were lost, stolen, or damaged
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
- Your name has changed since your US passport was issued and you are legally unable to document your name change
- Absolutely everyone, including babies, must have a passport. There are special requirements for:
- Getting a passport in New Orleans generally takes about six weeks after you apply. If you absolutely have to travel within two weeks, or if you have to obtain a foreign visa within four weeks, you're in luck, as we have a New Orleans Passport Agency. Read through the online directions thoroughly, as you will need to make an appointment.
- If you have a dire emergency and must leave the country ASAP, call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
- The first step for getting your passport is to fill out the form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport, which you can download here. Do not sign the form until you submit it, as the agent taking your application must witness your signing. At that point, you will also have to provide your Social Security number.
- You will have to get a passport photo at one of these New Orleans locations. Alternatively, you can take your own photo, but you have to do it right. See these guidelines.
- You will also need both proof of US citizenship AND proof of your identification. For proof of citizenship, you need a previously issued, undamaged US passport, a certified birth certificate, a report of birth abroad or certification of birth, a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship. For proof of ID, you can use that same passport or naturalization certificate, or a valid driver's license, current government ID (city, state or federal), or a current military ID (military and dependents).
- Finally, you will need to pay your fees. The basic adult passport fee is $100, less for children, more if you have special needs. Acceptible forms of payment are:
- VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
- Debit/Check Cards
- Checks (personal, certified, cashiers', travelers')
- Money Orders (US Postal, international, currency exchange)
- Bank Drafts
- Use this site to find the nearest passport agency.
- Renewing your passport is easier and can be done by mail if your current US passport:
- Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
- Was issued when you were age 16 or older
- Was issued within the last 15 years
- Was issued in your current name or if you can legally document your name change
- If you're getting one because you've changed your name, you can probably still do it by mail. See these instructions.
- To renew your passport by mail, download Form DS-82, Application for a US Passport by Mail. All the instructions you will need are on the form.
- Once you have your US passport, treat it as a valuable document. Passport fraud is a serious offense, and passport theft is a sad fact. When you travel, leave a copy of your passport with someone back home and put another copy of it in your luggage to help you if it's lost or stolen.
What You Need
- Passport photo
- Proof of US citizenship
- Proof of identification
- Form of payment
- Completed application