VACATION TIME: What you need to know about getting a passport

Austin
US Passport

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number of passports that have been processed through the Austin General Mail Facility this year is slightly up from this same time back in 2018.

U.S. Postal Service spokesperson said from January to March of this year, 2,516 passports have been processed, as opposed to 2,281 that were processed in that time period in 2018. To help families prepare for their summer vacation, the postal service is holding a passport fair in Austin on Saturday.

Appointments are not required for the event on Saturday, which provides families with convenience, a spokesperson said.

What you need to know

Because there are not appointments, you are encouraged to get there early. They will take applicants of a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum capacity is reached. 

All applicants must be there in person, and this goes for minors too. Minors do need to have both of their parents there, otherwise, a notarized authorization by the parent who isn’t there is required. 

What you need

  • Proof of American citizenship: This can be a birth certificate issued by a city, county or state, a naturalization certificate (a hospital-issued birth certificate alone won’t be accepted), a consular report of a birth abroad, a certificate of citizenship or a previous U.S. passport. 
  • A clear photocopy of proof of American citizenship:  You’ll need to present this at the time of passport acceptance. If the document is two-sided, bring a copy of both sides. 
  • Proof of identity: You’ll need a clear copy both front and back. It must be either a driver’s license, (it can’t be a learner’s permit or temporary license), a previous U.S. passport or passport card, a certificate of naturalization with an identifiable photo attached, a certificate of citizenship with an identifiable photo attached, an official U.S. military or military dependent ID card, a government employee ID card (federal, state, municipal or county) or a current valid foreign passport.

Cost

For new applicants who are adults, the general application fee is $110, plus you will have a $35 execution fee. If you’re just renewing it, it’s only $110.

For children under 16-years-old, there’s an $80 application fee as well as a $35 application fee.

Check out the Department of State’s fee calculator for specifics. 

Common Misconceptions

A common mistake people make when getting their passport is assuming any photo can work, and a spokesperson said it ends up slowing down their process. 

“One of the main reasons that passport applications are denied is due to an inappropriate photograph,” said Albert Ruiz. “Our postal passport clerks are trained on how to take passport photos and what can and cannot be accepted.”

If you are planning to go to the fair on Saturday, passport photos will be taken for a $15 fee. 

But if you decide to take your photo somewhere else, here’s more information on what photos are acceptable.

How long it takes for you to get your passport

On average, it will take about four to six weeks for your passport to arrive. Expedited service takes two to three weeks. 

To check the status of your passport, you can go to the Department of State’s website. 

Passport Fair on Saturday, April 13

If you’d like to fill out the application ahead of time, download a copy of the application here.

The passport fair is at the Austin General Mail Facility on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The facility is located at 8225 Cross Park Drive.

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