Updated on October 11, 2010
C.B. asks from Dublin, OH
14 answers

I need to get a passport for my husband and myself. This is the 1st time for both of us and I was wondering if anyone had any tips? My neighbor said to just go to the post office. It also seems to be a wide range of prices. Someone already told me to skip the card and just get the regular passport book. I am not in a big hurry, but how long should I plan to wait to receive it?

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answers from Cleveland on

Go to the web site someone else mentioned--dept. of state-- for more info.

Skip the card, it is not good at so many countries. I have NO IDEA why anyone would want both???

Walgreen's was the cheapest option for photos near us.

The website may have info on how long it will take.

When you go to renew, in 10 years, if your old passport is within so many months of expiration, you can renew using a shorter form, I think. If you let it go too long, I think you have to treat it as a new application again. Not sure about that, but I think that is true--when I renewed mine the first question pertained to that.

Hope you get to use them soon!

K. Z.



answers from Toledo on

we went on a cruise last year. i went to the bmv title office to get mine done, did not have to make an appt. it cost 100.00 for adults and 85.00 for kids. i printed out the application online and had our photos done at walgreens.



answers from Sacramento on

Post office is the way to go and just do the cheapest passport. It varies on how long it takes, ask the passport person there htye will give you an idea. Be sure to fill out all of the forms fully since they wont process if it is not filled out completely.Our post office passport dept will take your pics right there and it was easy rather than having it dones elsewere and it was convenienct and not too expensive. Hope this helps



answers from Boston on

Well it depends on where you are going and if you have any plans to go out of the country again. 2 years ago we went to Canada and I don't have any plans on going anywhere outside of the country besides Canada because I will not fly (too scared :( ) so we only got the cards if we were planning on going to somewhere other then Canada at some point in time we would have gotten passports but I couldn't justify spending double the money for something I wouldn't use especially for my kids. You can print the passport application from you computer and go have a passport photo taken and then take everything right to your post office but DO NOT SIGN IT. The price differences only depend on what you get. Passport card, passport, or both, and how fast you want it processed and shipped. Oh and we had our pictures done at AAA office they were cheaper then walmart.


answers from Dallas on

My daughter and I did got ours at the post office. They did it all. I had to have a special form from my husband so I could obtain the passport for my daughter.

We were told it would be 4-6 weeks and they showed up within 2 weeks.

Hubby got his expedited and spent extra money because he had to go out of the country.



answers from San Francisco on

I and my kids have passports, but my husband is from Japan so I always want us to have the ability to go quickly if a family problem arises in Japan. Go on-line you can print out the application and it tells you what forms of identification you need. Dont sign the forms until you get there. You need passport pictures. You can get them many places. No smiling in the pictures. I would go to the post office to submit the information. It's usually the more efficient. The difference in price is the card vs. Passport and how quickly you want it returned. They usually tell you it will take longer than it does. I know when passport/card was first required for Canada & Mexico (I think Mexico, not sure), they got backed up and it took a lot longer. I think things are better now. A passport you can also use as verification for employment, not sure about the card.



answers from Indianapolis on

Drug stores, office supply stores, post offices, lots of places do them, just check around for the best price. I didn't know there was another choice other than the book!
I can't remember how long ours took. A couple weeks I think?


answers from St. Louis on

Go to the Post Office, you can take the photos somewhere else or right there in the post office ($15 ). You can choose to go to the Post Office and get a form or just complete one on-line whatever is good for you. It takes from 4 to 6 weeks to get your passports which will be sent home, and the cost is about $165 for the book. This one is more versatile. The card has some limitations.If this is your first time applying, you will need to take with you your birth certificate and another ID like your driver license.



answers from Topeka on

My husband and I both applied for a passport last year as we were planning on traveling outside the country. We both went to the local post office to pick up our cost each of us $100 to get the passport ( We both got the "book" as opposed to the "card" but I don't know if that makes a difference in the price). My husbands passport took about 5 weeks to get to him but for some reason mine came a lot quicker...less than 3 weeks. You need to allow at least 6 weeks before you are going to be needing your passport for travel.
As soon as you get your passport, take the little card that comes with it that lists the number on your passport and put it somewhere that if something should happen to your passport that you can report it and get it replaced.
I don't think there is a wide range of is all handled through the govt. and should be really standard. If someone is going through another source to get a passport then they are paying more for THEIR services...but it is such a simple process that you should just go to the main post office in your town and do it yourself!!



answers from Cincinnati on

I believe the card is only good for travel to Mexico and Canada. An actual passport will serve you much better if you ever plan to do any international travel.

My husband is Dutch and we travel internationally frequently. Getting a passport is a very simple process. Your local post office will have the paperwork you need. Most drug stores, like Walgreen or CVS can take a passport photo. Get the paperwork, fill it out, and gather all necessary documents (this will be listed in the form). Then take it to your local post office and they will process the documents.

Typically, the process takes about 6 weeks to complete before you have your new passport. It will be good for 10 years. There are really not "tricks"... it's just a matter of providing the necessary information and turning it in.


answers from Norfolk on

Read all the information, collect all your materials, have your forms filled out as much as possible, have your birth certs or what ever documents are required for proof of citizenship (because our son is a minor, and Dad had to work, we had to have a notarized form stating my husband gives permission for our son to get a passport - without this form, both parents or guardians must be present with the child at application time or you must present proof you are the sole guardian), have your passport pictures with you (we got ours at Wallgreens), have what is needed for proper payment (we used personal checks - the post office we went to did not take credit cards), and then wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to possibly stand in line a long time.
My husband got his passport a few years ago for work. Our son and myself got ours this last summer and it turned out we got them on the very last day before rates went up, so maybe the line was longer than it otherwise would have been. I was very surprised how many people standing in line did not have needed materials with them.
We were going on vacation in six weeks (and wanted to make day trips to Canada) and I didn't want to take the chance that there could be a hold up, so I paid to expedite, and we got everything mailed to us (there were 3 separate mailings - the passport books, the passport cards, and then the birth certs returned to us) in 10 days. It was a pleasant surprise because they said even with expediting it could take 2 to 3 weeks. Non expediting they say can take up to 6 or 8 weeks (and some times of the year are just busier than others).
Everything you need to know is here:



answers from Cincinnati on

Use the website to fill out the form before going to the post office.
Definitely go to Walgreens for photos, much cheaper.
I think I saw someone mention the total cost of about $165. That sounds about right. You pay the post office $25 to submit it. $110 for the state department to process it. And, you pay for postage to send it there and back.
Unless you plan to travel frequently to Canada or Mexico, you can skip the card. I think it's really meant for business people who travel back and forth from those two countries frequently and would rather keep the ID in their wallets instead of keeping track of the book.
It should only take a few weeks. Seems to me that it was less than a month for us to get ours.


answers from Orlando on

I think the only range in prices is getting the picture taken. As far as I can see that should be the only range in price. My husband and I just went to the post office to get it done. It was quick and easy, check with your post office before you go, because some will only do it during certian days and times. You don't want to go there and wait just to find out you need to come back. Our post office let us make an appointment and we were in and out.

Just as someone else said my husbands took about 5 weeks to get to us mine got to our house about a week and a half after getting it.Apparently they process women faster! Just kidding!! It's been a few years but I think ours were about 80 dollars.



answers from Los Angeles on

To speed up the process, take your photos somewhere else (most drugstores can do it). Also, find the application online, print it out and bring the completed copy with you, along with the pictures, to the post office.

Also, many post offices only do passports during designated hours, so check before you head down there. Just because they are open, they might not process passports at all hours.

If you have kids that also need passports, now or in the future, know that both you and your husband (along with the child) have to be present when you submit the application. Oh, and I agree that you might as well get the full book and not just the card. You never know when or where you'll want to travel in the next 10 years and this way you'll be prepared.

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