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?
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.