trip planning

You’ve booked the flights. You’ve reserved the hotel. Now all your trip is waiting on is you.

Before you take off on an international trip remember to double-check your passport. Do you have one? Do you need to renew it? Be sure to plan ahead, since U.S. Passports can take 4-6 weeks (expedited 2-3 weeks) to be returned to you. Fortunately, the process is pretty simple. Just follow these steps.

Apply for a U.S. Passport

Complete your U.S. Passport application (Form: DS-11) online ahead of time to save a step at the acceptance facility. If this is the first time you’re applying for a passport you will need to apply at an acceptance facility near you. In order to get your passport faster (within 2-3 weeks), you will need to make an appointment at a passport agency where you must bring your proof of travel.

Need to make an appointment at the Seattle Passport Agency? Visit here.

What you need to bring along with your completed application:

  • State-certified birth certificate, a previous U.S. passport or an original certificate of naturalization. These will be returned to you, in a separate envelope, around the same time you receive your new passport. Children under 16 must always submit an original birth certificate, even when renewing and submitting a previous passport. Hospital certificates, photocopies and keepsake certificates are not accepted.
  • One current, color passport photo. Passport photos are 2 inches by 2 inches, with a white background. Also, remember that it needs to be taken within a few months. Having to take a photo on-site can get very expensive and not the most flattering, so try and make a stop at a Bartells, CVS, or Walgreens before you stop by the Passport Agency.
  • A valid ID or Driver's License.
  • Cash, Check, or Money Order for two separate payments with each application. One payment will be to the U.S. Department of State. The other payment is an acceptance fee for the City of Seattle.

Renew a Passport

Adult passports are valid for 10 years and may be renewed by mail. If you have a minor passport and need to renew you cannot renew by mail. Many countries require that passports be valid for at least 6 months after you enter their country. Renew your passport in plenty of time for those trips or pay for expedited service.

By Mail

If your passport has not been expired for over 5 years, you may apply for renewal by mail.


If it has been more than 5 years since expiration, you need to apply for new passports in person at an acceptance facility.

In a Rush and Can’t Wait Weeks for a Passport?

U.S. Passports can take up to 6-weeks but have rush options available for just a little more. Need it even quicker? Even same day? This can be done! It’s a hefty fee, $195 ($110 for the application fee, $35 for the execution fee, $60 for the expedited fee), but the Seattle Passport Agency can turn around a Passport book within hours. We suggest you stop by as soon as the office opens at 8AM with all the necessary documentation, your passport photos, and checks, cash, or a money order - cards are not accepted.