Make sure to read updated information at http://travel.state.gov or call the general information line at: (619) 758-7122. The following advice is separated into three sections:
Applying for a Passport
- You must apply in person if you have never had a passport before, if your passport was lost, stolen, mutilated, altered, or damaged, if your previous passport was issued more than 12 years ago, or if you need it sooner than 10 days (see below if in a hurry).
- Passport forms can be obtained by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to: P.O. Box 85530, San Diego, CA 92186 or can be downloaded from the Internet at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/forms_847.html. There are different forms for a new passport and for renewing passports.
- You may apply for passports in person at the following Passport Acceptance Facility offices in San Diego, provided you have more than 10 days before departure:
San Diego General Mail Facility
By appointment only
Call (619) 758-7128
Monday to Friday - 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2535 Midway Drive
San Diego, CA 92199-9998
La Jolla Mail Facility
No appointment necessary
No local phone listed
Monday to Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
1140 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
For other locations in San Diego, check the website above or call (800) 275-8777.
Make sure you bring the following documents already filled out with you (Post Office people will have no pity on you!) and that the name of your passport is the same as the name in your tickets and other I.D.'s. If your name has changed, bring documentation.
Two Passport photos. Get them done at a place that specifically says they do passport photos to make sure they are adequate (rules on size, clothing, etc.). Good idea to get extra photos for visas later and other permits you might need while traveling.
Certified birth record with filing date and raised seal. A hospital certificate or a California Abstract of Birth are not acceptable. Call the Hall of Records in the County of birth to obtain certified record. If you are a Naturalized citizen, bring all U.S. Naturalization records.
Filled out application form.
Government issued picture I.D. (Drivers License, State I.D. card, Military I.D.)
- Must have a Social Security Number.
- If you will be traveling a lot in the next ten years, apply for a 48 page passport free of charge. It will save you energy and time in the long-run.
- If you need your passport sooner than 10 days, you must apply in person with all the documentation listed above filled out plus your airplane ticket by calling the following Passport Agency and setting up an appointment:
LOS ANGELES Passport Agency
11000 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024-3615
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Region: California (all counties South of and including San Luis Obispo, Kern and San Bernardino), and Nevada (Clark County only)
Note: Customers who wish to apply at the Los Angeles Passport Agency must make an appointment by calling: (310) 575-5700.
Renewing your expired passport
- You can renew by mail if you were older than 16 years when your previous passport was issued, and if previous passport was issued no greater than 12 years ago. If these conditions do not apply, you must renew in person at the facilities listed under Applying for a Passport. You must also renew your valid passport if it will expire LESS than 6 months AFTER you return.
- Passport forms can be obtained by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to: P.O. Box 85530, San Diego, CA 92186 or can be downloaded from the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/forms_847.html. Be sure to get the renewal form, not the application form.
- Renew by mail more than 3 months before your departure to give you time to get visas. You will receive your passport within 6 weeks via first class mail. You can expedite the process to 10 business days but it will cost you an additional $38 on top of the regular passport fee (of $60), plus the overnight mailing both ways, bringing the total to over $100. If you expedite the process, include copies of your tickets with the date of departure. If you have less than 10 days, you must go to Los Angeles (see Applying for a Passport).
- If your passport is still valid but you will run out of pages, you can apply for additional pages free of charge: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds4085/ds4085_2662.html
Applying for Visas
Apply for Visas 2-3 months before departure! Visas are obtained at the Consulates which are mostly located in Los Angeles. A travel agency might have a service that can do all the paperwork for you but you pay them a fee. One of these agencies is:
Express Visa Service
1516 S. Bundy Dr., Suite 305
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Ph: (800) 251-5925
- Some countries require a special student or work visa (like South Africa) so inquire from your program and the country's Consulate beforehand (http://www.state.gov/countries/). Some visas are obtained at a much cheaper price at the airport when you are entering the country, so again inquire from the Consulate beforehand. Or you might not need a visa at all! Do not be surprised if these regulations change all the time.
Section 'Sub' Navigation:
Page 'Breadcrumb' Navigation: