A US passport is an internationally-accepted document, issued by the US government, that establishes the bearer's identify and allows him 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 US 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 US Passport
New passport applications must be submitted in person at one of the more than 9000 passport offices worldwide. Most of the offices in the US 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. Adult (16 and older) fees are $97. For those under 16, they are $82. Acceptable forms of payment vary by 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 US State Dept. Web site.
- A government-issued photo ID (if not using an old passport for proof of citizenship.)
- 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; 216 443-4046
- Huntington Finance Post Office - 925 Euclid Ave., Cleveland; 216 621-8966
- USPS Passport Office Erieview - 1240 E. 9th St., Cleveland; 216 861-2481
- Station B/C Complex Post Office - 1650 E. 55th St., Cleveland; 216 881-6740
- USPS Shaker Hts Station - 3675 Warrensville Center Rd., Shaker Hts; 216 295-2543
- USPS Brooklyn Station - 6200 Biddulph Rd., Cleveland; 216 398-2866
- USPS Kamms Finance Station - 3762 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland; 216 251-5062
- USPS West Park Station - 14500 Lorain Rd., Cleveland; 216 671-0606
- USPS Cleveland Heights Station - The Severence Town Center, Cleveland Hts.; 216 291-1653
- USPS Airport Branch - 5801 Postal Rd., Cleveland; 216 433-4014
- USPS Lakewood Branch - 1475 Warren Rd., Lakewood; 216 226-9691