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How Do I Get an Official Passport?

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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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The method of securing an official passport depends largely on the issuing jurisdiction's laws. Different countries and states have their own procedures for passport application; there are, however, several requirements that remain fairly consistent regardless of the applicant's current location. In most countries, individuals will need to prepare several certified official documents in order to confirm their identities, as well as confirmation on the official nature of their travels. Most, if not all, applicants will also need to make personal appearances at their countries' designated foreign affairs or travel departments. Individuals working in governmental and military positions will often get assistance in securing an official passport from their respective departments.

An official passport is issued to individuals who need to travel to fulfill certain services to the state; as such, these documents are often issued at no cost to the applicant, unlike regular tourist passports. In order to apply for one, individuals should first apply for a government-controlled task that requires foreign travel. This could involve medical missions, diplomatic business, or military service, among other responsibilities. Although some of these tasks are open to volunteers from the public, most of these require personal affiliation with a government agency.

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Applicants will need confirmation that their travels are for official business. This often comes in the form of certified documents issued by a government official. In some cases, a government-issued identification card will suffice; in others, a direct phone call from the office to the issuing body is enough to clear an individual for application. These occasions are relatively rare, however, making official documentation the best means of confirmation.

The rest of the procedure is usually the same as the process for acquiring a regular tourist passport. Applicants for an official passport will need to prepare a number of government-issued documents including, but not limited to, a birth certificate, a state-issued driver's license, and a tax certification. Travel agents recommend that applicants prepare several copies of these documents, as some travel departments keep submitted files.

Applicants will also need to schedule an appointment for any personal appearances that might be required. Some departments might require the appearance for an interview, or to simply sign the passport and pose for an identification photo. Processing and delivery times vary on the applicant's country and location. An official passport might also be issued to the applicant's spouse and any accompanying dependents, if applicable. Individuals with an official passport should also ensure that they possess the corresponding visa for their destinations, as both documents are required for travel.

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Feryll
Post 4

When I went to Europe I waited until the last couple of weeks to go to the local county office to apply for an official passport. The lady in the office told me I would have to wait a month for the passport to return. This was too long, so I called one of the official passport offices, which was about 10 hours driving time from me, and asked whether I could go there and get my passport sooner.

They told me that I could, but they also told me that if I sent the information and application through the local county office then the passport would most likely be back in time. So I did this, and the passport was back in a little over a week.

Sporkasia
Post 3

@Laotionne - I don't know where you plan to travel or why you are traveling, but there are no fee passports available for some people. If you meet the requirements for one of these then you can get your passport virtually free. However, most people are not eligible for these types of passports, so you would need to check out the guidelines and rules to see whether you should even take the time to apply.

Animandel
Post 2

@Laotionne - Yes, passports did take a big jump in price 10 years ago, or thereabouts. I think this was just another way for the government to make more money. However, when you look at how long a passport lasts and you break down the cost by the number of years the passport will be valid before it expires then you aren't paying very much per year.

Laotionne
Post 1

Why have the prices for getting passports in the U.S. gone up so much. I got a passport years ago and it was very inexpensive. Actually, my mother got the passport for me because I was a little girl at the time, but anyway, the price was reasonable. Now I need to replace my expired passport and I am going to have to pay much more than I expected.

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