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If I am a US citizen and I have never had a passport before, how long will it take for me to get one? How early do I need to apply before I plan on going abroad?

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possible duplicate of How long does it take to renew a US passport? –  VMAtm Jul 12 '11 at 20:28
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@VMAtm: This question is about getting a new passport, the other one is about renewing a passport. Procedures, timeframes, etc can be quite different. –  Ankur Banerjee Jul 13 '11 at 1:28
    
@Ankur Banerjee Well, this is very strange for me. In Russia there is no difference. I'm sorry. –  VMAtm Jul 13 '11 at 6:35
    
When you renew a passport you do in fact receive a new one. I'm trying to think of a clearer wording... –  hippietrail Jul 13 '11 at 10:05
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1 Answer

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I was in the same situation a year ago. It took me about 4 weeks to receive my Passport in the mail. Keep in mind, that you will need to send your original birth certificate with your passport application so you will be without that while you wait. According to Consular Affairs, it takes 4-6 weeks for routine service but you can opt for expedited service.

All things considered, I would say begin applying for your passport at least 2 months in advance of your travel date. Any later, and you may be cutting it close.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/processing/processing_1740.html

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sheesh, what bureaucratic nightmare. Here in the Netherlands you just go to city hall with a passport photograph and a week later you can pick up your passport (of course they keep things like birth certs on file there rather than people keeping them at home). –  jwenting Jan 18 '12 at 6:44
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