What documents do you need to apply for a passport?

by Catherine Carey | June 13, 2023
passport on a map computer and camera

If you are travelling internationally, you must have a passport in most cases. A passport is a document issued by a citizen’s country as a form of identification and proof of citizenship. This official document allows individuals to travel abroad and enter a foreign country. 

Without a passport, you might not be able to board your plane or boat or cross the land border to enter a foreign country. It’s also necessary to apply for visas, find work abroad, purchase a SIM card, rent accommodation, and carry out many other activities. 

There are few cases where your ID will be sufficient to travel to another country, for example, if your homeland and a foreign country have some sort of agreement on migration. To be sure it is always advisable to get a passport. How to get it? What documents are needed? Here is all the important information to apply for a passport.

General documents needed for a passport

The documents you will need to get a passport will depend on your country of origin, the one who will grant you the passport, and personal circumstances. The documents required will also be different if you have lost your passport and need to replace it, if you are renewing it or if you are applying for a first-time passport. 

Nevertheless, we can say that the general needed documents are:

  • Proof of identity such as a driver’s license or a national identity card.
  • Proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate
  • A passport-size photograph.
  • Parental consent for minors.
  • A passport form specific to your country.

Depending on your circumstances, you might also be required to provide extra documents, such as a marriage certificate. 

brown passport

What documents do I need for a passport if I'm from the US?

If you are from the US and want to get a passport, there are specific documents to have and show the authorities: 


First of all, you will need Form DS-11 and fill it in. There are different options to do so:

  • You can Fill out Form DS-11 online and print it, or
  • Download Form DS-11 and fill it out by hand, or
  • Find your local passport acceptance facility or regional agency and pick up Form DS-11.

This document states your personal information such as name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, social security number, and contact details. When filling out this form, you also detail if you want a passport book, passport card, or both.

Whatever your option is, do not sign Form DS-11 until you are at your in person and mandatory appointment. The passport acceptance official will tell you when to do so. 

Provide Personal documents

  • Original proof of citizenship.
  • An acceptable photo ID.
  • A photocopy of both your citizenship document and photo ID.

To proof your citizenship you can use your U.S. birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a consular report of birth abroad, affidavits by medical personnel and early public records. The documents must be original or certified physical copies.

An  ID can be a passport card, a driver’s license with your photo or a temporary driver’s license with your picture,

Provide a Passport photo

Pay the Passport fee

What do I need to renew my passport if I’m from the US? 

For your US passport renewal, you must have the following documents:

Fill in the Application Form DS-82

  • You can fill out Form DS-82 online, or
  • Download Form DS-82 and fill it out by hand, or
  • Find your local passport acceptance facility or regional agency and pick up a copy.

The DS-82 form ascertains that you are eligible for passport renewal and includes pertinent information, e.g., date of birth, contact details, and your name.

Passport photo

Passport fee

Your most recent passport

Name change documentation

You will be requested to show name change documentation, if necessary. If you have changed your name, you must attach certified copies of marriage certificates, court-ordered name change documents or divorce decrees.

What documents do I need for a passport if I'm from the UK?

If you are from the UK wanting to apply for a first-time passport, you must take into consideration the date you were born. If you are born in the UK before 1 January 1983, you’ll need your full birth certificate or adoption certificate. 

On or after 1 January 1983, you’ll need your full birth certificate or adoption certificate and either:

  • Your mother’s or father’s full UK birth certificate, or the Home Office certificate of registration or naturalisation, or a British passport belonging to one of your parents that was valid when you were born, or a British passport number for either parent.
  • Evidence of one of your parents’ immigration status in the UK at the time of your birth, for example a foreign passport belonging to one of your parents that was valid when you were born.

All these documents must be original documents, since photocopies are not accepted.

What do I need to renew my passport if I'm from the UK? 

When you renew your UK passport, you won’t need any documents if you choose to do so digitally. When you choose to renew your UK passport digitally, you will need a current photograph, a credit or debit card, and your current passport.

If you want to renew using a paper application form, you can get them from any Post Office with a Check and Send service. You can also call the Passport Adviceline and ask them to send you a form. You will need to fill in your card details in the form, or send a cheque, along with two printed passport photos.

Passport from the US in a bag

Where do I get my passport in the US? 

To get a U.S. passport, you must apply in person at a passport acceptance facility for a new passport. The acceptance facility could be a library or post office and some of them require appointments or have limited hours.

Currently, you can renew your US passport by mail. Online renewals are paused.

Where do I get my passport in the UK? 

To get your first-adult passport you can apply online or by paper. To apply online you’ll need:

  • A digital photo of you (or a device that takes digital photos and someone to take your photo).
  • Someone who can confirm your identity.
  • Supporting documents.
  • A credit or debit card.

If you choose to apply with a paper form, you’ll need:

  • A filled-in application form.
  • 2 identical printed passport photos.
  • Someone who can confirm your identity (a ‘countersignatory’).
  • Supporting documents.

All of this should be sent by post using the pre-printed envelope that comes with the form or by taking them to the Post Office if you want to use the Passport Check and Send service. This way of getting your passport usually takes longer than the online process.