Do I need a passport to study abroad?

Yes, on any program during which you will be traveling outside of the United States, you will need a passport. If you are even considering studying abroad and don’t have your passport, you should start applying for a passport to study abroad. This way, you won’t have any delays in your application or visa process later.

 What is your passport status? 

Getting your first passport
Renewing your passport
Getting your first passport

If you have never held a passport before, then you must go through a different process than someone who is renewing a passport.

You must follow these 9 steps:
  1. Fill out form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport
  2. At this link, you can fill it out online, and print it
  3. At this link, you can download the PDF version, print it, and fill it out by hand
  4. Submit completed DS-11 Form in person
  5. Submit evidence of U.S. citizenship
  6. Present identification
  7. Submit a photocopy of the identification document(s) provided
  8. Pay the applicable fee - Click here for payment instructions:
  9. Provide one Passport Photo
Renewing your passport

You are eligible to renew your passport via mail if the following are true about your most recent U.S. Passport:

  • It is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
  • It was issued when you were age 16 or older
  • It was issued within the last 15 years
  • It was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change

You must follow these steps:

  • Complete DS-82: Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail
  • At this link, you can fill it out online and print it:
  • At this link, you can download the PDF version, print it, and fill it out by hand:
  • Attach your passport photo to the DS-82
  • You must not bend the photo
  • You must attach it using 4 staples vertically in the corners, as close to the outer edge as possible
  • Include payment
  • Please click here for payment instructions:
  • Include your most recent U.S. Passport
  • Mail your passport application
  • It is strongly recommended that you use an envelope large enough, so as not to fold any of the documents you are sending
  • It is strongly recommended that you send your application using a traceable delivery method

Mailing Address for routine processing:

National Passport Processing Center Post Office Box 90155 Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Mailing address for expedited service, marking EXPEDITE on the envelope

National Passport Processing Center Post Office Box 90955 Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

For more information, please visit the travel portion of the U.S. State Department website, relating to passports for renewal applicants:

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use as evidence of U.S. citizenship?

You must submit one of the following:

  • Previously issued, undamaged, and fully valid U.S. Passport (5 year for minors or 10 years for adults)
  • Certified U.S. birth certificate (must meet all of the following requirements):
    • issued by the City, County, or State of birth
    • Lists bearer’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
    • Lists parent(s) full names
    • Has date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
    • Has registrar’s signature
    • Has embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal of registrar
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship
What kind of identification do I need to present?

You must present one of the following:

  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current Government ID (city, state or federal)
  • Current Military ID (military and dependents)

Please, note that If you apply at an Acceptance Facility and submit out-of-state primary identification, you must present an additional ID document, as well. For example, if you go to school in Maryland but are from Virginia, so you apply in Maryland with a Virginia Driver’s License. In this case, you must present a second ID containing as much of the following information as possible: your photo, full name, date of birth and the document issuance date.

What kind of picture can I use for my passport application?

Your passport photo must meet the following requirements:

  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • In color
  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open

Passport photos can be taken at local photo development centers, and in some drug stores and grocery stores. If you would like to take your own photo, or use an existing photo, visit to see your other options.

How do I know if I need to apply in person?

You’ll need to apply in person if any of the following qualities apply to you:

  • You are a first-time applicant
  • You are under 16
  • Your previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
  • Your previous U.S. Passport was issued over 15 years ago
  • Your name has changed and you are unable to legally document your name change
How long does it take for a passport to process?

The normal processing time is 4-6 weeks. If you haven’t got 4-6 weeks, you can pay for the expedited service, which will get you your passport in 3 weeks. There is an additional cost $60 and overnight shipping is $14.85. To check the status of your application, follow this link and click on Check your Application Status:

How much does it cost to get a passport?

If you are applying for the first time, or renewing, a passport book and card, then the price is 140 USD. If you are applying for a passport book only, then the price is 110 USD. There is an additional $25 execution fee for first-time applicants. Please note that this fee must be paid separately. See more information and costs and payments here:

Where can I apply for a passport?

If you must apply in person, you need to find the authorized passport acceptance facility nearest to you. These facilities usually include post offices, libraries, and municipal offices. At this State Department link, you can enter your zip code and find out where to turn in your application:

Some acceptance facilities also provide expedited service, but if yours does not, then you will need to find the Department of State Passport Agency nearest you. Follow this link to see the list: