Before you book your international mission trip and starting fundraising there are some basic and practical things to take care of. Now is a good time to start working on a simple, functional and practical plan to make your summer mission trip a success. This week, we will go step by step through the USA passport application process to kick off your time as a volunteer abroad.

1) Have the necessary documentation. The major necessary documentation are Proof of Citizenship and Proof of Identity. There are a number of different documents that can be used, depending on if this is the first time application or if the passport is for a minor.

  • Proof of citizenship includes a previous US passport or a birth certificate for those born inside the US. For those born outside the US, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Naturalization Certificate, or Certificate of Citizenship will be necessary.
  • Proof of identity includes items like a previous US passport, driver’s license, current government or military ID, or a Naturalization Certificate. These items should have your photo and your signature.
  • If you do not have one of those forms of ID, you will need two forms of what are called “secondary ID”. These include items like a social security card, credit card or library card. You can also appear with an identifying witness, who will need their own sufficient forms of ID.

2) Get a passport photo. You will need a passport photo. This is not just a normal photo: it must be a very particular size and you must be clearly visible. The easiest way to get this photo is to go to a place which takes these photos. Many large chain grocery and drug stores will do this if they have a photo lab.

3) Fill out the appropriate form. This is form DS-11 in almost all cases. This can be filled in by hand at the place where you submit the form, or online (after which you will need to print it out). This form asks for your details (where you live, where you were born, your Social Security Number, etc