International Programs

Before You Go: Passport Information

You must have a passport to leave from and return to the United States. Apply now for a passport if you do not have one, or renew your passport if it has expired. If you already have a passport make sure that it is valid six months beyond your stay abroad. Do this now, as the process can take several weeks.

If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you must apply in person. You can apply for or renew your passport at over 4,500 passport acceptance facilities nationwide that include many federal, state and probate courts, many post offices, some libraries and a number of county and municipal offices. These designated facilities are very convenient because they are located near your home. We recommend that you start by contacting the largest post office or courthouse in your area. You can find information on the web about how to obtain a US passport at: Passport Services and Information »

If you need your passport urgently, you are advised to go to one of the passport agencies listed below in person. Note: you will probably need an appointment, so we advise you to call ahead.

Los Angeles Passport Agency
Federal Building
11000 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000
Los Angeles, California 90024-3615
Telephone: (310) 575-5700

San Francisco Passport Agency
95 Hawthorne Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-3901
Telephone: (415) 538-2700

The following items are needed to obtain a US passport:

  • Proof of Citizenship: A previous US passport, naturalization papers, or if you were born in the US, a CERTIFIED copy of your birth certificate bearing the seal of the city, county, or state custodian of records. Hospital birth records are not acceptable. Make sure that you have the proper documents to avoid delays in getting your passport. Bear in mind that obtaining out-of-state birth records can take as long as six weeks.
  • Proof of Identity: (previous passport, current and valid Driver's License, government ID, military ID, student ID).
  • Two recent identical passport photos.
  • Be prepared to pay a fee ($100 as of 2/1/08) by cash, check or money order. Not all passport agencies accept credit cards.
  • Complete application form DSP-11 (Do not sign it until the Passport Acceptance Agent tells you to do so.) These are available from passport agencies, acceptance facilities, and on the Internet from the US State Department.
  • Know your Social Security number. You do not need your card, but you do need to provide your Social Security number. After you receive your passport, sign it and keep it in a safe place until your departure. Send a photocopy of the pages of your passport with your photograph and personal information to OIP by May 15. It is also a good idea to make a photocopy of the pages with your photograph and personal information for yourself. Keep this copy separate from your passport.