Going abroad? 6 things you need to know before heading to the passport office

Go early!

Processing time for a new passport is 4 to 6 weeks; even “expedited” for an additional $60, it’s three weeks. Certain special agencies may be able to get you one within 8 days; generally, you have to be able to prove that you are traveling within 14 days to get one of these.

Travis County has a new passport office.

The Travis County District Clerk’s Passport Acceptance Facility has moved to a new and larger office located at 5501 Airport Blvd (North Entrance), Rm 220, Austin, TX 78751. It’s open from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The new office offers a larger waiting area, and free parking.

Many post offices in Austin no longer provide this service, so your best bet is the new office.

Some people can renew their passports by mail.

However, you must apply at the passport office in person if:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport
  • You are under age 16
  • Your previous passport was issued when you were under age 16; or
  • Your previous passport was lost, stolen or damaged; or
  • Your previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago; or
  • Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change.

Track down your birth certificate.

If you are applying for your first passport and you were born in the United States, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. For people born in Texas, you can obtain your birth certificate through Austin’s Office of Vital Records or through the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Remember the passport fees.

For a passport booklet and card, the fee is $140 for adults, for both new and renewing passports. It’s $110 for the booklet only. For minors (age 15 and younger) it’s $95 for the booklet and card, or $80 for just the booklet. You can travel internationally with just the passport booklet, you don’t need a card. Some people opt for the card to use at border crossings with Canada and Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, because the cards are smaller and more convenient. These fees are paid to the U.S. State Department. In addition, you’ll need to pay $25 per passport to Travis County ($35 if the district clerk takes your photo.)

Have a great trip! For more information, click here.