How to Apply

The steps to apply for a passport

There are five main steps to apply for a passport. The Department of State provides detailed information about each step. Before you submit your application, you should review their information to ensure you have everything that you need.

Note: these instructions are for individuals who are applying using the DS-11 form. If you are renewing your passport (using form DS-82), you need to follow different instructions, and are not required to appear at a passport acceptance facility.

  1. Complete the passport form, DS-11 (please do this before you come to our office)
  2. Gather your supporting documents
  3. Have your picture taken (you can do this in our office)
  4. Calculate your fees
  5. Submit your application (you can schedule an appointment or walk in)

Frequently asked questions

We understand that you may have several questions about submitting your passport application. We've put together a list of questions you may have. If your question isn't answered below, contact us.

  • How can I obtain a certified copy of my birth certificate?

    The National Center for Health Statistics has a list of how to obtain a birth certificate for each U.S. state and terrority.

    Find your state
  • Can you help me obtain visas for visiting other countries?

    We are not able to assist you with obtaining visas to visit other countries. You should contact the embassy or consulate for the country you wish to visit, or use a visa service.

    IU faculty, staff, and students have access to a negotiated contract with CIBTvisas. This company can help you obtain visas. If IU is paying for the visa and you desire to use a company, you need to use CIBTvisas. Learn more.

  • What's the difference between a passport card and book? Which do I need?

    A passport card is a full passport that has limited use: you can only use it when visiting certain countries in the Americas by land or sea. You cannot use a passport card when traveling internationally (to any country) by air.

    A passport book is what many would consider the "traditional passport." The restrictions on the passport card do not apply to the passport book. The downsides of the passport book are that it is more expensive and larger than the passport card.

    Learn more about passport cards versus books
  • How long will my application take? Should I pay for expedited processing?

    The Department of State maintains current processing times for passport applications. You should review their times, with the understanding that it does not necessarily represent a guarantee. Ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to expedite your application.

    If you are affliated with IU and need rush service, you can use a negotiated contract with CIBTvisas. This company can help you obtain a passport in as little as one day. Learn more.

  • Why was my passport application declined?

    We do not have any information about your passport application after it is submitted. The Department of State makes all decisions about passport applications. If your application is denied, they will contact you about your application decision.