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If you have never had a U.S. passport before, or if you have to renew a U.S. passport, this guide is for you!

Quick Snapshot

  • Costs $165 – $245 for a passport
  • Schedule your passport appointment asap
  • Prepare documents required and fill out your application
  • Apply in-person at a passport facility
  • Wait 7-13 weeks to receive your passport

We recommend starting this process as early as possible!

SPECIAL NOTE for Prague, Seville, or Florence in Fall 2024:

If you do not yet have a passport, or if your passport expires before June 15, 2025, you need to act right away in order to have your passport in hand in time for the student visa application process.

Please refer to the Enrolled Participant Page for passport-in-hand dates for each location.


Step 1: Schedule an appointment to submit your application.

It can take several days or even weeks to get an appointment, so we recommend doing this first. This tool will show you all the passport acceptance facilities near you.  Many libraries and post offices can accept passports, but it is extremely likely that you will need an appointment.

The scheduler tool will explain how to book an appointment at your selected facility.  It is rare, but some places will allow you to walk in without an appointment.  Be sure to check in advance.

The State Department is offering some special passport acceptance fairs in select locations. You may have luck securing an appointment at one of these events. You can also use this USPS scheduling tool to book an appointment at your local post office.


After you’ve scheduled your appointment, you will need to gather several documents in order to prove who you are (identity) and that you are eligible to get a U.S. passport (citizenship).

Step 2: Locate your documentation to prove your U.S. citizenship

You only need ONE of the following documents:

  • An original birth certificate (most common)
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate with official seal
  • Your Certification of Naturalization
  • Your Certification of Citizenship
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • An expired U.S. passport
  • A valid U.S. passport that is about to expire

If you can’t find one of these documents or don’t have it, you will need to request a duplicate official record from either your state or the U.S. government.  This can add extra time to the process.

Step 3: Locate your proof of identity documentation. 

This may be:

  • Your driver’s license (NOT a learner’s permit)
  • U.S. military or military dependent ID card
  • Government employee ID card

If you don’t have one of the identity documents listed above, you may gather TWO (2) of these options:

  • Your learner’s permit
  • A state ID card
  • A social security card
  • A voter registration card
  • Student ID card with photo
  • Employee ID card from work with photo

Step 4: Locate your social security card.

Step 5: Make photocopies of both the front and the back of your citizenship and identity documents. 

You will need both the original documents and the photocopies to apply for your U.S. passport.


Step 6: Get your passport photo taken.

A passport application requires a printed photo.  This must be 2 inches by 2 inches in size, printed on photo paper, and clearly show your whole face. You may take the photo yourself but it must meet U.S. government requirements.

PRO TIP: Most pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Walmart) can take your photo for you for between $7-$18.  This might be easier than doing it yourself because they are sure to give you a photo that meets requirements.


Step 7: Complete the U.S. passport application form, also called a DS-11. 

The form is located here, and you can either fill it in online using the auto-complete tool, or print it and fill it in yourself.

TIPS for completing the DS-11 application form:

  • Use black ink only.
  • At the top, check the box for a US Passport Book and Regular Book (Standard)
  • Fill in your name exactly as it appears on your citizenship document. It is important that your name matches on all documents.
    • *Contact your Student Onboarding Advisor ASAP if you have changed your name. You’ll need extra help with the process.
  • The gender selection does NOT need to match your citizenship document.  You may select (M) male, (F) female, or (X) other.
  • Continue filling in other personal information such as address, SSN, and parent information.

As it states, DO NOT SIGN the application on Page 1.  You will wait and sign this document in person in front of an agent when you submit your application.


Woohoo! You are ready to submit your application! 

Step 8: Prepare your payment of the required U.S. passport fees.

These fees are non-refundable.

  • You cannot use a credit card or debit card. 
  • You will need a check or a money order payable to “U.S. Department of State.”
    • The amount of this check or money order will be $130, $190, or $209.53, depending on if you are applying for expedited processing or shipping.
  • You will also need a separate form of payment (check, cash, card) for a $35 acceptance fee.

This calculator tool can help you understand exactly how much you will need to pay and how.

Step 9: Attend your appointment.

A parent or guardian must attend with you if you are under 18 years old. Be sure to bring all your documents!

  • Proof of citizenship original
  • Proof of citizenship photocopy
  • Proof of identity original (1 or 2 documents)
  • Proof of identity photocopies
  • Social security card
  • Passport photo
  • Completed DS-11 application form
  • Check or money order for U.S. Department of State
  • Other payment for acceptance fee

Track the status of your application using the State Department’s Online Passport Status System.

Update the Passport Form in My Verto Portal to indicate that you’ve applied for your passport.

Step 10: Receive your passport in the mail! You did it! 

Upload a copy of your passport via the Passport Form in My Verto Portal by your program deadline for passport submission.

Communicate with your Student Onboarding Advisor about applying for a visa if you are going to Prague, Seville, or Florence and follow all checklists in your Student Portal.

Keep your passport in a safe place until you are ready to get on the plane!

Passport Application FAQ

What if I need to renew my passport?

To participate in Verto, you must have a valid passport that doesn’t expire until at least 6 months after your Verto experience ends.

You need to renew your passport if:

      • You had a passport before but it is already expired
      • You have a passport right now, but it expires before six months after the last day of your final Verto semester. This would be mid-June of the following year for a fall semester, and mid-December of the same year for a spring semester. Refer to Abroad Locations pages for exact program dates.

You are not eligible for the mail-in passport renewal process unless you are age 18 or older AND your previous passport was issued to you when you were age 16 or older, so it’s almost certain you will need to renew in person. Follow the instructions on this page.

If you do meet the criteria for mail-in passport renewal, you can find the application and other instructions here.


How long will it take to receive my passport?

It can take up to 13 weeks to get your passport back in the mail after you submit your application. Even the quickest processing (expedited) can take up to 9 weeks. You can see the most up-to-date information about processing times here. Because of this, we urge all Verto participants to apply for a passport as early as possible, and to pay for expedited processing and shipping.


Is it possible to get my passport faster?

We urge all Verto participants to pay for expedited processing and shipping; however, even expedited processing can take up to 9 weeks.  It may be possible to get a passport faster in Life-or-Death or Urgent Travel situations only at the discretion of a passport agency.   See the Get My Passport Fast page for more.