Travel Tuesday Tip: Apply For Your Passport Before You Go To College

Various forms of identity license, social security and passportApply for your passport BEFORE you go to college. 

Here’s why:  You’ll save time, possibly some money, and a lot of headaches if you apply while you are still living at home.  You will have easy access to required documents such as your birth certificate, and you’ll have more time, too. It also will be one less detail you’ll have to take care of should you decide to study abroad or travel outside the US for student trips or spring break.

Something else to consider, too, is whether your intended time abroad will require a visa. Find out more here.

RELATED: 5-Minute Guide to Study Abroad

Here’s what you need to know before you apply:

  • Cost:  $110 app fee + $25 execution fee (bring a check with you to the processing office, some centers or government departments may not accept debit, credit cards, or cash)
  • Timeline: Expect it take to  4-6 weeks for the government to process your application
  • Photo:  It only takes about 10 minutes to pop into a drugstore or other retailer with passport photo processing services to get a photo that meets US government specifications.
  • If you’ve never had a passport: Adult First Time Applicants (age 16 years and older) need to apply in person to the designated government center in your area. All first-time applicants must apply in person at a Passport AgencyAcceptance FacilityU.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • If you have a passport that you used as a child, you may need to renew. Be aware that some requirements won’t let you travel with one that is close to expiration (that’s right — even if it’s not yet expired), so read up on international travel before you wind up needing to pay to expedite, or worse, having to miss a travel opportunity!

 See also:

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Updated July 2019

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