Six years ago I obtained my first adult passport, however it wasn’t my first passport. I got my first passport when I was a child. Tomorrow I will finally use my passport to travel out of the country. Everywhere you look on social media it seems as if friends are flashing their passports. The US passport gives you access to so many different countries, so Americans often consider their passport a status symbol of softs.
In 2012 I stumbled upon the Passport Party Project, a grassroots effort led by fellow California native Tracey Friley. Tracey put out a call for bloggers to attend the annual Passport Day in New York. At the time I was publishing a blog called Uptownflavor and I thought that it would be for my readers to learn how to go about obtaining a passport. I attended the tour on March 10 and applied for my passport on the same day. I had my passport in my hand within a week. It was processed in 3 days! One of my recommendations is to get your passport during what is considered the slow season. If you wait until right before summer break or the holidays when most people travel you are setting yourself up for frustration. I wrote about my experience touring the passport facility and getting my passport on Black Atlas and Examiner.com (both now defunct online publications).
By participating in the Passport Party Project and Passport Day, I learned that the number of Americans traveling internationally was significantly lower than citizens of other countries like the UK and Canada. Over the past six years the number of Americans holding a valid passport has increased and the numbers continue to steadily climb each year. However, the number of African Americans with a passport is still low.
You’re probably wondering now how you can you get your first passport. Well, you can attend one of the many acceptance events in your area. Find one near you by clicking on the link below.
Be sure to bring:
- A completed DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport form, which can be found at the Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html. Do not sign the form.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of identity (valid driver’s license, government employee ID, military ID).
- Photocopies of U.S. citizenship and identification documents (these will be sent with the application, but bring originals for proof documentation).
- Appropriate payment. Acceptable forms of payment can be found on the Department of State website. (Please note that neither debit nor credit cards are acceptable forms of payment by the Department of State).
- Appropriate passport photo, if passport photo services are not available at the selected Post Office location.
Passport applications for children under 16 have special requirements. Visit travel.state.gov for more information.
When and how did you get your first passport? Share your passport story in the comments section. Remember to like, share, and subscribe for more travel related content.