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Passport Guidance

Who Pays for Passport Fees?

Typically, Swarthmore students pay directly for all passport application and processing fees.  Passport fees are not eligible for reimbursement by the Global Engagement Office. 

On January 25, 2024 (4:00pm to 8:00pm in McCabe 104) the Passport Authority will be on-campus at Swarthmore College (open to students, faculty, and staff). Passports initiated on this date will not be free -- however, during this visit, the U.S. Passport Authority will be accepting payment via credit card, which is not typically possible as a form of payment. 

Swarthmore periodically provides a "Free Passport Day" to provide free passports to participating Swarthmore students.    Under no circumstances, will the Global Engagement Office assume the cost of expedited processing. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport?

The processing time for U.S. passports can vary throughout the year based on the volume of applications received.   You can find information on the current processing time online, but as a general reference, should assume a minimum of 8-10 weeks for standard processing. 

Once you have applied, you can subscribe to email updates by U.S. Passport Authority about your application status, and learn more about each status update.  Note: It may take 2 weeks from the day you apply until your application status is “In Process.”  If your passport status update says “Not Available,” your application and supporting documents are still in-transit.

Who Needs to Apply In-Person and What is Required? 

Are you applying for your first passport?  Was your previous U.S. passport issued when you were under the age of 16?  Was your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged?   Or was your previous U.S. passport issued more than 15 years ago? 
If so, you must apply for a passport in-person, at either a Swarthmore organized event or at an official U.S. State Department Passport site. 

Detailed instructions are available on the U.S. Department of State's Passport site.   You must submit your completed application, supporting documents, photo, and fees, in person at a passport acceptance facility. It is the applicant's responsibility to check with the facility to see if you need to make an appointment.  If you wish to apply at a post office, you must make an appointment directly on USPS.com.

Below is a summarized overview of the materials that will be required. 

lIST OF Required Materials for Applying In-person

1) Complete Passport Application (Form DS-11)
Use one of 2 options below:

  • Complete using the online Form Filler. Do not sign this form until you are instructed to do so in-person. 
  • Print PDF Form (single-sided) and complete using black ink.  Do not sign this form until you are instructed to do so in-person. 

You can select the gender marker you would like printed on your U.S. passport. The gender you select does not need to match the gender on your supporting documentation such as a birth certificate, previous passport, or state ID.  You can select male (M), female (F), or unspecified or another gender identity (X) as your gender marker.  Applicants requesting an X gender markers are advised by the U.S. Department of State to use the Form Filler rather than the PDF form. 

2) Proof of U.S. Citizenship (Original Only)
Choose one of the following:

  • Certified Birth Certificate (If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, you can request a copy from your state of birth.). Your Birth Certificate must meet the requirements below:
    • Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
    • Lists your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
    • Lists your parent(s)' full names
    • Has the date filed with registrar's office (must be within one year of birth)
    • Has the registrar's signature
    • Has the seal or stamp from the city, county, or state which issued it
  • Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate
  • Consular Report of U.S. Citizen Birth Abroad 

3) Proof of U.S. Citizenship (Photocopy)
In addition to the original or certified copy of your U.S. citizenship, you must submit a photocopy of the document.  Photocopies must be: Legible; single-sided;  on white 8.5” by 11” standard paper

4) Original Government-Issued Photo ID (must be current)
Examples of acceptable IDs:

  • In-state, fully valid driver's license or enhanced driver's license with photo (if you have an out-of-state license/ID, see instructions below)
  • Government Work ID 
  • U.S. military or military dependent ID
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards and Native American tribal photo IDs

Note #1:  If you plan to use one of the following as identification (in-state, fully-valid learner's permit with photo, in-state fully-valid non-driver ID with photo, or temporary driver's license with photo) you may be asked to present an additional ID such as your Swarthmore OneCard.

Note # 2: Some states now issue digital ID documents (also known as mobile driver's licenses or mobile IDs).  Digital IDs will NOT be accepted when applying for your U.S. passport. 

5) Photocopy of  Current Photo ID
Clear photocopy of the front and back of the photo ID you are using (in addition to bringing original)

6) Photocopy of Swarthmore ID (only if applicable)
If you present an out-of-state ID, you must present an additional ID verifying proof of Pennsylvania residency.  A photocopy of your Swarthmore ID can be used for this purpose.  Please also bring your One Card with you to the appointment. 

7) Passport Photo
Pictures must  meet specific photo requirements

  • Must be color photo, 2” x 2” in size.  Photo should be taken within the last 6 months from a front view, with a plain and light background. 
  • You can purchase passport photos near Swarthmore at: CVS, Walgreens, or UPS Store - call ahead to confirm).  Some passport acceptance facilities provide photo services for an additional fee. 
  • Alternately, you can take your own photos (carefully read requirements in link above)
  • Do not attach or staple your photo to the form. The acceptance agent or passport employee accepting your form will review the photo and staple it.

8) Passport Application Fee 
The total cost for new initial passports ($165 in 2024). When applying using Form DS-11, you will pay two separate fees - an application fee and an execution (acceptance) fee.

  • The application fee ($130 in 2024) will be processed by the U.S. Department of State.   Submit a check (personal, certified, cashier's, traveler's) or money order payable to "U.S. Department of State."  Print the full name and date of birth of the applicant on the front of the check or money order.   Do not cancel your check or money order after you have applied.
  • You cannot pay the passport application fee using a credit or debit card.
  • The execution/acceptance fee ($35 in 2024) must be paid separately to the acceptance facility.  To pay the separate $35 fee to the acceptance facility, contact your acceptance facility to learn what form of payment they will accept. Some locations accept: personal checks and money orders, cash (exact amount only), or credit cards (note: the facility may add a surcharge to cover the cost of the credit card transaction).

 

Who Can Renew by Mail and What is Required?

Do you currently have in your possession a passport that was issued when you were 16 years of age or older?  Was it issued within the last 15 years and issued in your current name?   Is your existing passport undamaged (beyond normal wear and tear) and able to be submitted with your other application materials? 
If all of the above are true, you are eligible to apply for a passport renewal by mail.   

You cannot renew at a passport acceptance facility.   Even though some post offices are also passport acceptance facilities, postal employees should not review your Form DS-82 renewal application and supporting documents before you mail it.  

Your passport does not have to be expired for you to renew it.   In fact, it is recommended that you renew your passport well ahead of planned international travel, even if your passport has a few months of validity left on it.  Many countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.

Important note: When you receive your new passport, the number on the document will be different from the number on your previous passport. 

Detailed instructions are available on the U.S. Department of State's Passport renewal site

Below is a summarized overview of the materials that will be required. 

LIST OF Required Materials For renewing a passport

1) Complete Passport Application (Form DS-82)
Use one of 2 options below:

  • Complete using the online Form Filler. Do not sign this form until you are instructed to do so in-person. 
  • Print PDF Form (single-sided) and complete using black ink.  Do not sign this form until you are instructed to do so in-person. 

2) Most Recent Passport (Actual Passport)
Your U.S. passport book and/or card must meet all of the requirements listed on the U.S. Department of State website.

  • Your old passport book and/or card will be returned after the renewal is processed;  it will come in a separate mailing up to 8 weeks after your completed passport arrives.
  • Once you receive your new passport, your old passport is not valid for international travel. However, if your old passport is linked to a valid visa, you can still use the valid visa. You MUST travel with both your new and old passport in this case.

3) Name Change Documents (Only if Applicable)
If the name you are currently using is different from the name on your most recent U.S. passport, you must provide a certified copy of the legal name change document. (Examples include marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-ordered name change).

  • Your name change document will be returned to you in a separate mailing from your new passport.

4) One Passport Photo
Pictures must  specific photo requirements

  • Must be color photo, 2” x 2” in size.  Photo should be taken within the last 6 months from a front view, with a plain and light background. 
  • You can purchase passport photos near Swarthmore at: CVS, Walgreens, or UPS Store - call ahead to confirm).  Some passport acceptance facilities provide photo services for an additional fee. 
  • Alternately, you can take your own photos (carefully read requirements in link above)
  • (If applying by mail; and not at an on-campus event) Staple the photo to the application. Please use 4 staples vertically in the corners as close to the outer edges as possible. See example of attached photo provided on the State Department website. Do not bend the photo.

5) Passport Application Fee 
The  application free for a passport renewal ($130 in 2024) will not include not a separate execution/acceptance fee . 

  • Send a check (personal, certified, cashier's, traveler's) or money order payable to "U.S. Department of State."  Print the full name and date of birth of the applicant on the front of the check or money order.  (See example on State Department website).  Do not cancel your check or money order after you have applied as you may have to pay additional fees.
  • You cannot pay online or via credit card for passport services at this time.