Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I apply by mail?
You may only apply by mail if you are renewing a passport AND your renewal meets all these conditions: The issue date of your last passport was less than 15 years ago; You were 16 or older when it was issued; Your name is the same, or you can submit name-change documentation (marriage certificate or court order); You can submit your most recent passport; It is undamaged. If you answered yes to all of the questions, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/renew-by-mail. If you answered no to any of the questions above, then you must apply in person. You must apply using Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport
- What form should I use and how do I get them?
- For a Regular Passport, use DS-11: Application for Passport. This form is available online or at our office.
- The form must be presented and signed in front of an Acceptance Agent.
- You must use this form IF one of the following applies:
- You have never had a U.S. passport,
- You are under age 16,
- Your most recent passport was lost or stolen,
- Your most recent passport is more than 15 years old.
- The passport application forms are double-sided. Although the second page requires no data from the applicant, it contains important information, official legal statements, and is a required part of the application form. Read the form before completing.
- If you are applying because your passport was lost or stolen, you will also need to submit Form DS-64.
- Where can I get my pictures taken for my passport?
The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors now offers passport photo services. Passport photos are $10 for two color photos. No appointment is necessary.
- What if I need a passport immediately?
The San Diego Regional Passport Office provides emergency passport services. Hour of operation are from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers are required to have an appointment AND need to show proof of travel within two weeks. Appointments can be made 24 hours a day via the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. All customers seen in the Regional Office will be charged an expedited fee of $60.00. Emergencies do not require an appointment, but proof is required such as a death certificate, etc. The San Diego Regional Passport Office is located at 401 West A Street, 10th Floor, San Diego, CA 92101.
- What is the difference between a Passport Book and a Passport Card?
- Passport Book: U.S. Passport Books are valid for travel by United States citizens anywhere in the world, although travel to certain countries and/or for certain purposes may require a visa.
- Passport Card: The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air. Like the traditional passport book, it reflects the bearer's origin, identity, and nationality and is subject to existing passport laws and regulations. All U.S. citizens may apply for a passport card.
1) If you have a U.S. passport book and are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for the card by mail. You can use Form DS-82 to renew your passport book at the same time that your apply for your passport card.
2) If you have never had a U.S. passport book or are not eligible to use Form DS-82, you must apply in person using Form DS-11.
3) All passport cards will be returned using First Class Mail. Passport cards cannot be shipped to you using overnight delivery.
- How much does a Passport Book cost?
Please visit our fees page for more information.
- How much does a Passport Card cost?
Please visit our fees page for more information.
- How long does it take to receive my passport?
Passports are usually received within 4 – 6 weeks of submitting the application. If you will need visas from foreign embassies, allow more time. To find out the status of a pending application, visit http://travel.state.gov to check the status of your application online. Or you may call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778; TDD Users: 1-888-874-7793 or e-mail email@example.com. The National Passport Information Center is a toll-free service. Customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. Automated information is available 24/7.
- What if I need it sooner than 25 business days?
If you must have your passport in less than 25 business days, an Expedite Process is available. The Expedite Fee is $60, payable to U.S. Department of State. Two-way overnight mail ($34.84 total) is strongly recommended. Using Expedite Service and overnight mail, you should receive your passport within two to three weeks. If you need your passport immediately, you can schedule an appointment with the San Diego Regional Passport Office. Hour of operation are from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers are required to have an appointment AND need to show proof of travel within two weeks. Appointments can be made 24 hours a day via the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. All customers seen in the Regional Office will be charged an expedited fee of $60.00. Emergencies do not require an appointment, but proof is required such as a death certificate, etc. The San Diego Regional Passport Office is located at 401 West A Street, 10th Floor, San Diego, CA 92101
- Must I have a social security number?
Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 requires that passport applicants provide this information. Passport Services gives this information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) routinely. An applicant who fails to provide the information is subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS. If you have questions, call the nearest IRS office.
- How can I find the status of my application?
To find out the status of a pending application, visit http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html to check the status of your application online. Or you may call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778; TDD Users: 1-888-874-7793. The National Passport Information Center is a toll-free service. Customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. Automated information is available 24/7.
- How can I change the name on my passport?
To request a name change, a correction to the descriptive data printed on the passport, or an extension of the validity of a limited passport, submit form DS-5504, Application for a U. S. Passport Application (Name Change, Data Correction and Limited Passport Book Replacement), along with the passport that needs the change.
- Can my foreign-born child become a citizen?
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), Public Law 106-395, applies to certain foreign-born children. If eligible under this law, these children will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship, provided they meet certain conditions. Please visit http://www.travel.state.gov.
- How can I get in touch with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)?
The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services has a national customer service center. For information on immigration matters, call 1-800-375-5283, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. or visit www.bcis.gov.
- How can I get more information regarding travel abroad?
The Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. State Department, maintains a web site with information on various topics that may interest you. Please visit http://travel.state.gov for more information.
- What is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative? And when do new passport requirements go into effect?
On June 1, 2009 the second phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) went into effect. Travelers are required to have a passport book, passport card, or other travel documents approved by the Department of Homeland Security in order to be able to re-enter the U.S. when returning from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea ports-of-entry. The first phase of this initiative, which went into effect in 2007, required passports for re-entering the U.S. by air in those locations. The passport card is different from a passport book because it was designed to meet the requirements of the land and sea phase of the WHTI. The passport card is valid in border communities where crossing the border is a daily occurrence. The passport card is not valid for international air travel. The passport card may only be used at U.S. and sea ports-of-entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. You will need a passport book for international air travel.