Ten Tips for Completing and Submitting U.S. Passport Applications by Mail or Drop Off

  1. Complete your DS-82 or DS-5504 application online using the Passport Wizard:  Fill out your application online and print the 2D barcode.
  2. Sign and date the application:  Unsigned and undated applications cannot be processed and require a new original signature page to be sent by mail/drop box.
  3. Include your correct Social Security number on the form or attach the Social Security declaration if you have never been issued one:  U.S. law requires you to provide the correct Social Security number, if you have been issued one.  If you have never been issued a Social Security number, you must submit a signed and dated statement.  Do not submit the declaration if you have been issued a Social Security number as it will significantly delay the processing of your passport.   The signed and dated statement should include the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct:  I have never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”  For a DS-5504 submitted for a minor (under the age of 16), print, fill out, sign, and date this Social Security declaration.  Do not write your Israeli or Palestinian Authority ID number, if you have one, on the application in place of the Social Security number.
  4. Submit valid passport photo (without glasses):  Passport photos older than six months or that do not meet passport photo specifications cannot be used.
  5. Include most recent passport:  If you do not have the current passport to submit, you are ineligible to apply for a new passport using the DS-82 or DS-5504, and you must make an in-person appointment.  It will be returned to you along with the new one.
  6. Include the entire printed payment confirmation email/sheet from pay.gov (for DS-82 applications):  Personal checks, bank checks, and cash cannot be accepted.  Make sure you pay from the link on our website here.
  7. Include correct mailing address, mobile phone number, and email address on your application and courier delivery form (if submitted through drop box):  If you mail in your application, we will prepare a courier delivery form using the address and phone number on your application.  Both Israel Post Courier and Aramex arrange delivery and payment through text message so it is important that the cell phone number is correct and can receive text messages.  If there are any issues with your application, the ACS Unit or the Western Passport Center will attempt to reach you through the email listed on your application.  Several applications remain unprocessed because applicants do not answer their phones or answer their emails to resolve pending issues.
  8. If you list “Jerusalem, Israel” as your place of birth on your application, circle either “Jerusalem” or “Israel” to indicate your place of birth choice for your passport:  If you write “Jerusalem, Israel” as your place of birth on your passport application without circling either Jerusalem or Israel it will significantly delay the processing of your application.  For more information, see here.
  9. Include a photocopy of your passport you are renewing:  The image of the biodata page on the photocopy must be the exact same size (neither shrunk nor enlarged)
  10. Submit name change documents with handwritten English translations:  If you are changing your name because of marriage or divorce, you may submit a complete copy of the marriage certificate or divorce decree.  If you have an official name change order, you must submit the original order and include one copy.  If any of the documents are not in English, please include a legible translation in English.  It does NOT need to be professionally translated. Any original documents submitted will be returned to you with your new passport.