How to Apply for a U.S. Passport
When planning for exile, the first thing a U.S. citizen must do: procure a U.S. Passport.
Even in the best of times, you should own this document anyway, so don’t feel as though you are wasting your money. This document is still considered the gold standard of documents and can offer you passage to most countries throughout the world without applying for a separate Visa.
A Passport can also be used in lieu of a Real ID driver’s license (or other form of Real ID), which will be required by October 1, 2020, if you don’t have a Passport. (For your specific state requirements, Google “Real ID + Your State.”)
A Passport is a document that you can’t get at the last minute (unless you are willing to pay through the nose), so the time to apply for it is now, while the country is still relatively stable.
After November 3, 2020, whether or not 45 is re-elected, expect the political situation to destabilize quickly. Even if 45’s opponent wins the election, expect the transition to be a very rocky period. The president may decide to declare marshal law or even declare the election results null and void using his Executive Privilege Powers. Before you declare this as totally bonkers, consider how this president has already eroded the rule of law; the conservative SCOTUS and GOP Senate have been more than happy to cede power to 45. Remember how Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham made it perfectly clear that the fix was in and that they would not allow witnesses to be interviewed during the Senate Impeachment Trial? How they planned to acquit, even before the Trial?
They don’t even bother to hide their contempt for the rule of law anymore.
So don’t expect any different result when 45 goes full authoritarian after the 2020 Presidential election.
Now, down to Passport business.
The first place to start is at State.gov.
You will need to follow these five steps:
1. Procure the Passport form which can be downloaded here, and fill it out.
2. Gather your supporting documents: Original birth certificate with official seal, etc. The specific requirements can be accessed here. Follow these instructions exactly; otherwise your application could be held up. If you don’t have the proper official birth certificate, you will need to get in touch with the state where you were born before you can proceed. Start here for beginning this process.
4. Access to a credit card or checkbook. See fee schedules here as they vary, depending on your situation.
5. Submit your completed Passport application form with your supporting documents, photos, and fee. See here for more information.
If you need your Passport fast, see how here.
You may also apply for your Passport at a local facility. This calculator will show if your area offers such an option.
Passport fees are expensive; if you can’t afford them, you may try some of these options on The Penny Hoarder. Unfortunately, there just aren’t too many options for free or reduced-cost Passports. Just grit your teeth, and cough up the dough.
If you are transgender and need help with navigating getting your official documents in order, Think Progress and Trans Law Help may be able to help.
If you need to renew your Passport – and you should if there is less than year before expiration – click here to see if you are eligible to renew it by mail. If not eligible, click here for renewing in person.
Please don’t delay in getting or renewing your Passport. It’s like buying insurance: it’s there if you need it. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
It is hoped that you won’t need it, but signs are pointing toward that direction, especially if you are African-American, Latino, Jewish, Muslim, Gay/Lesbian, Transgender, mentally or physically challenged, “elite” intellectual, or outspoken critic of 45’s administration – these groups will be targeted for persecution first.