Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Obtain a Passport

First of all apply early as it will take up to six weeks to get it. Even if you are traveling somewhere that doesn't require a passport (such as in the U.S.) having one for identification can make check-ins at airports faster.

Step 1

Download, print and complete Department of State form DS-11, "Application for a U.S. Passport." Provide your name, address and other personal details, as well as your parents' names and birthplaces. Sign and date your application.

Step 2

Have two passport-size photos taken at a local photo studio, pharmacy or a store such as Wal-Mart or Target. Avoid wearing glasses or styling your hair in extreme ways to ensure foreign border officials can always recognize you based on your usual appearance. Affix the photos to your passport application using a paper clip.

Step 3

Obtain copies of your Social Security card and birth certificate if you lack them. Visit one of several Social Security administrations in and around Winston-Salem -- locations exist in Greensboro and Asheboro, for example -- to apply for a copy of your Social Security card. Order a certified copy of your birth certificate from the county in which you were born -- Forsyth County if you were born in Winston-Salem. These documents establish your identity and citizenship, both of which you must verify before being granted a U.S. passport.

Step 4

Deliver your documents to a local branch of the U.S. post office that processes applications, of which there are seven locations within 20 miles of Winston-Salem's city center. In Winston Salem there are 3 locations - Hanes Mall post office, Northpoint post office and on the campus of Winston State University. Allow between four to six weeks for delivery of your U.S. passport, keeping in mind that you have the ability to track your application on the State Department's website.

Happy Traveling!

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