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How Do I Apply for a Passport Online?

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  • Written By: Rachael Cullins
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The United States government currently does not allow citizens to apply for a passport online. The U.S. Department of State does make nearly all of its passport forms available electronically so that most people can fill out the forms electronically before printing and mailing the materials to a passport office. Security reasons prevent the entire passport process from being electronically available in addition to the need to submit printed passport photos. The agency does allow applicants to check their passport status online.

A passport applicant may begin to process his or her passport online via electronic forms, but the process of applying depends on the applicant’s current passport status. Those who have never had a passport must submit passport photos, proof of citizenship, a social security number, and various forms and pieces of identification to the U.S. government. The same rules apply to those who have lost their passport. Children under age 16 must apply in person and may not complete any portion of their passport online or by mail. All children, even infants, need a valid passport for international travel.

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Those who wish to renew a passport or need a new passport due to a name change that can be legally documented can complete part of the renewal process online. Renewal forms are available for electronic completion but must still be mailed to the U.S. Department of State along with the applicant's previous passport. Even those living or traveling abroad who need a passport cannot apply for a passport online. Instead, the passport must be requested in person at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country in which they are living or visiting.

Even though it is not be possible to apply for a passport online, an applicant can check the status of his or her passport application online. The U.S. Department of State’s passport website includes a link for checking a passport status under the “Contact Us” section. The status of a passport will be e-mailed to the requester. The State Department also provides an e-mail address for any additional passport-related questions.

The U.S. does not allow people to apply for a visiting visa online either. The need for a visa simply to visit the United States is waived for 35 countries, but for the others, must be applied for in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This policy is not true for all other countries. For example, the United Kingdom allows prospective visitors to apply for a visa via the Internet.

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