|How to get a passport|
WHERE: You can apply for a new passport at 7,000 locations around the US, including many post offices and city and town halls. Fill out form DS-11 from the US Department of State or download it from its website, but don't sign it until you are with a passport agent who tells you to.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: Proof of US citizenship such as a certified birth certificate and your Social Security number, and two identical 2-inch-by -2-inch color photos taken within 6 months that match your current appearance. Children under 13 must apply in person, and 14- to 17-year-olds may need parents' consent.
HOW MUCH: Cost is $97 for adults, $82 for youths 17 and younger. Checks and credit cards are accepted. Passports normally take 6 weeks to be issued.
RENEWALS: You can renew an old passport, if it's no more than 15 years old and you were older than 15 when it was issued. Fill out form DS-82, and mail it in with your old passport, two photos, self-addressed return envelope and $67 fee. Make a check payable to the US Department of State to National Passport Processing, P.O. Box 13349, Philadelphia, PA 19101 (or by overnight delivery to Dept. 13349, 1617 Brett Road, New Castle, DE 19720.) Go to the Department web site for details.
TRAVELING SOON? If you need a passport for travel within 14 days, you can get an expedited passport at the O'Neill Federal Building in Boston during weekday office hours after calling 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment. Expedited passports cost $60 more, plus overnight delivery costs.