A U.S. passport is an internationally-accepted document, issued by the US government, that establishes the bearer's identity and allows them to travel abroad. Not only is a passport the best form of ID there is, but it is necessary to travel outside of the US to virtually any country.
(Effective in January of 2007, a passport is required of U.S. citizens arriving by air to visit Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In 2008, that requirement will include cruise and land passengers.)
It is best to apply for a passport well in advance of your departure. Traditionally, new passport applications were processed in 6-8 weeks, but with the onslaught of applications resulting from the new travel regulations, the processing time is often exceeding 12 weeks. My advice is to obtain a passport now. That way you can take that impulsive trip to Canada (or to Paris) without a worry.
What You'll Need to Apply for a New U.S. Passport
New passport applications must be submitted in person at one of the more than 9,000 passport offices worldwide. Most of the offices in the U.S. are post offices, libraries, and Federal and State courts. (See below for a partial list of Cleveland locations.) To apply for your passport, you'll need the following.
- A completed application for a new US passport. These are available online or at any of the passport offices.
- Two passport-size (2" x 2") photos. Many photo companies, drug stores, and travel agencies offer these; they cannot be a personal snapshot.
- Passport fees. At the time of writing, adult (16 and older) fees are $97. For those under 16, they are $82. Acceptable forms of payment vary by the passport office.
- Proof of citizenship. This may be an original or a certified (not a photocopy) copy of your birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, a Consular report of birth abroad, or an expired passport (citizens whose passports have expired for more than 15 years must file a new passport application.) For a complete list of acceptable documentation, see the U.S. State Dept. website.
- A government-issued photo ID (if not using an old passport for proof of citizenship.)
Facts about Passports
- Adults US Passports are valid for ten years
- You must apply for a new passport (in person) if your passport has expired over 15 years ago or if you have lost your passport.
Where to Apply for a Passport in Greater Cleveland
Area passport application offices include:
- Cleveland Main Post Office - 2400 Orange Ave., Cleveland
- Huntington Finance Post Office - 925 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
- USPS Passport Office Erieview - 1240 E. 9th St., Cleveland
- Station B/C Complex Post Office - 1650 E. 55th St., Cleveland
- USPS Shaker Hts Station - 3675 Warrensville Center Rd., Shaker Hts
- USPS Brooklyn Station - 6200 Biddulph Rd., Cleveland
- USPS Kamms Finance Station - 3762 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland
- USPS West Park Station - 14500 Lorain Rd., Cleveland
- USPS Cleveland Heights Station - The Severance Town Center, Cleveland Hts.
- USPS Airport Branch - 5801 Postal Rd., Cleveland
- USPS Lakewood Branch - 1475 Warren Rd., Lakewood