Passport Service Center

1. What is a Passport?

A passport is a license to travel outside of the United States into or through other countries. It is our government's assurance to other governments that the bearer is a citizen or a national of the United States and may be extended the usual courtesies and assistance afforded international travelers in accordance with international law and practices as well as reciprocal privileges usually embodied in formal agreements. Passports are issued by the Secretary of State.

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2. Who needs a Passport?

  • Anyone who has family living abroad including parents and spouses of U.S. military personnel
  • Business or technical support personnel whose jobs require foreign travel
  • Students and faculty members who are in an academic program that requires foreign study
  • Athletes who participate in athletic programs with a likelihood of overseas competition
  • Anyone planning vacation or holiday travel within one year
  • Travel industry personnel
  • Entertainers and other artists

If one of the above pertains to you, it would be to your advantage to apply for a passport, regardless of whether or not you have immediate travel plans. The best time to apply for a passport is between September and February. March through August is generally considered the peak season where passport volume can increase dramatically and customers might experience delays in processing.

Air Travel

Implemented on January 23, 2007, ALL PERSONS traveling by AIR are required to present a passport book and other valid travel documents to enter or re-enter the United States.

Land and Sea Travel

The following summarizes the information available on the Department of Homeland Security's website.  As of June 1, 2009, the departments implemented the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI.  The rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have one of the following: 

  • U.S. passport card;
  • A trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI;
  • A valid Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or
  • A valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders. 

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3. What are the requirements for children?

For minors under age 16, both parents or the child's legal guardian(s) must appear with the minor. Minors 16 and 17 years of age need only one parent present. Parents need to provide the following:

Proof of the minor's U.S. citizenship

  • Certified copy of Birth Certificate (and photocopy)
  • A consular report of birth abroad of a U.S. citizen (and photocopy)
  • A Naturalization Certificate (and photocopy)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (and photocopy)
  • Certified copy of Court Order of Minor Name Change (if applicable)
  • Parental/guardian identification with photograph: Texas driver's license or identification card, Military I.D. card etc.

If any one of the minor’s parents cannot be present, the appearing parent must also submit one of the following for the absent parent:

  • Form DS-3053 (Statement of Consent)  Form must be filled out and signed by the absent parent. The form must be notarized and be no more than 3 months old at the time of processing application.  A photocopy of the front and back side of the absent parent’s identification used with the notary must be provided with the form. OR
  • Form DS-5525 (Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances) OR
  • Absent parent's death certificate (if deceased) OR
  • Certified copy of Court Order as evidence of sole authority to apply for the minor’s passport

2" x 2" Passport color photograph, meeting these requirements:

  • White or off-white background
  • Taken within 6 months of application
  • Taken in street or travel attire without headgear which obscures the hair or hairline unless the headgear is part of religious attire
  • No Uniforms of any type or camouflage
  • No glasses
  • Dark glasses or non-prescriptive glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons. A medical certificate is required to support the wearing of such glasses in photographs.

For additional information about Minor child passport application requirements, please visit the Passport Information page or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

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3. How do I apply?

To apply for a passport, you will need to provide the following:

  • Proof of United States citizenship
    • An original or certified copy of your birth certificate (and photocopy)
    • A prior adult U.S. passport book or card (10-year validity)
    • A consular report of birth abroad of a U.S. Citizen (and photocopy)
    • A naturalization certificate or Certificate of Citizenship (and photocopy)
    • Marriage Certificate or Certified copy of Court Order for Name Change (if applicable)
  • Proof of your identity
    • Texas driver's license or identification card (and photocopy)
    • Military I.D. card (and photocopy)
    • Out-of-state driver's license or identification card (applicant must provide a secondary form of I.D. such as a social security card, bank card, concealed handgun license, etc.) (and photocopy)
  • 2" x 2" Passport color photograph, meeting these requirements:
    • White or off-white background
    • Taken within 6 months of application
    • Taken in street or travel attire without headgear which obscures the hair or hairline unless the headgear is part of religious attire
    • No Uniforms of any type or camouflage
    • No glasses
    • Dark glasses or non-prescriptive glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons. A medical certificate is required to support the wearing of such glasses in photographs.

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4. What are the Passport photograph requirements?

You will need to provide two (2) passport-sized photographs. If you are unable to bring photographs with you, the District Clerk's Office will take the photos for you at a fee of $15.00 a set (cash only). Photographs should be 2 x 2 inches in size. The image size measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head (including hair) should be not less than 1 inch or more than 1-3/8 inches.

Type and Quality

Photographs must be in color. They should be printed on photo quality paper capable of withstanding a mounting pressure of up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Caution: Most vending machine prints are not able to withstand the mounting temperature or will not adhere properly to the passport page and therefore are not acceptable for use in passports. Matte or other sprays designed to produce a dull or non-glossy finish should not be used. Retouched photographs are not acceptable. Photographs with waxed back or other coatings which lessen adhesiveness are unacceptable.

Digitized Photographs

If you choose to submit digitized photos, they must meet the same requirements of all passport photographs. In addition, digitized photographs are always produced on digital printers. Some printers will produce a photograph in which the dots are seen. Visible dots distort the image by making it look grainy. Acceptable photos have a continuous tone image that looks very photo-like. 

Pose

Photographs should be portrait-type prints. They must be clear, front view, full face, with a plain, light (white or off-white) background. Photographs which depict the applicant as relaxed and smiling are encouraged.

Attire

Photographs should be taken in street or travel attire without a hat or other headgear which obscures the hair or hairline unless the headgear is part of religious attire which is worn daily. Uniforms of any type should not be in passport photographs with the exception of religious attire worn daily. If prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig, or similar articles are normally and consistently worn, they should be worn when the photograph is taken. If glare is visible in the photo, prescription glasses must be removed and the photo was taken without them. Dark glasses or non-prescriptive glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons. A medical certificate is required to support the wearing of such glasses in photographs.

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5. How much does a Passport cost?

The Passport Book and/or Passport Card fee must be paid by money order/cashier’s check or personal check made payable to U.S. Department of State. Routine service is 4-6 weeks and expedited service is 2-3 weeks. If you would like to use expedited service, an additional fee of $60.00 must be included with the passport fee. An optional overnight delivery fee of $16.48 can be added to expedited service to shorten the mailing time once the passport book has been issued. The overnight delivery fee is not available for passport cards.

The Execution Fee to process passport application of $35.00 and Passport Photo Fee of $15.00 may be paid in cash, money order/cashier’s check, or credit card (excluding American Express).

If you have any travel booked before the 3-week mark, you must contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 (TDD: 1-888-874-7793) to make an appointment with the nearest regional passport facility for one day service. In this case, it will be the Houston Passport Facility.

Please refer to the table below for a summary of the above information if needed:

Passport Fee Type*Routine Service
(4 - 6 weeks)
Expedited Service
(2 - 3 weeks)
Expedited Services & Overnight Delivery
(2 - 3 weeks)
Book: Adult$110.00$170.00$186.48
Book: Minor$80.00$140.00$156.48
Card: Adult$30.00$90.00N/A
Card: Minor$15.00$75.00N/A


* Paid by money order/cashiers check or personal check.

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6. What is the difference between a Passport Book and Card?

The passport book can be used for any mode of travel: air, land, and all sea travel. The passport card can only be used for land and some sea travel. 

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7. How long does it take to receive a Passport

Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive your passport. Expedited passports will be sent to you within three (3) weeks from the date received by National Passports. Any travel booked before the 3-week mark, you must contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 (TDD: 1-888-874-7793) to make an appointment with the nearest regional passport facility for one day service. In this case, it will be the Houston Passport Facility.

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8. Where do I get more information?

The District Clerk's Passport Acceptance Facility is located on the 2nd floor of the Paul Elizondo Tower, or you may call 210-335-2617 and ask to speak with a passport acceptance agent. If you are unsure about any of the above information or require information about anything not explained above, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

For more information, visit: www.travel.state.gov 

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