Top 5 Frequently Asked Passport Questions: What You Need to Know

Thinking of traveling abroad this year? If you need a passport, the Clerk’s office is here to help.

As Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller in Palm Beach County, one of my office’s important duties to the public is as an authorized passport acceptance facility, providing the necessary services for U.S. citizens to obtain new passports. This service is available at our Belle Glade, Palm Beach Gardens and Delray Beach locations.

We understand that this process can be confusing and overwhelming at times, which is why I want to answer five of the top questions we get asked about passports here at the Clerk’s office.

Do I need to apply in person for my passport?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the following, you’ll need to apply in person:

  • Is this your first time applying for a U.S. Passport?
  • Did you lose your most recent passport book or card?
  • Was your old passport issued more than 15 years ago?
  • Was your old passport issued when you were a minor (under 16 years old)?
To apply in person, you can make an appointment online or walk-in to our Belle Glade, Palm Beach Gardens, or Delray Beach locations and our helpful Clerk staff will take care of you. If you don’t meet the criteria above, simply renew through the mail with the U.S. Department of State.

What documents do I need to bring with me?
  • Your completed DS-11 application form, which must be completed in black ink.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship such as a birth certificate, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization.
  • A valid government-issued photo ID or passport. For minors getting a passport, both parents will be required to be in person and provide identification.
  • One 2X2-inch white background passport photo, or you can purchase a photo at our office.
Can I take my own photo and submit it?

Of course! You may bring with you one color photo, on matte or glossy photo quality paper that is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). You must directly face the camera with a neutral expression, and your head should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of your chin to the top of your hair. The background must be white.

If you’re not comfortable taking the photo at home, we are more than happy to take your photo during your appointment for a nominal fee, or you may purchase a passport photo at a retail store that offers passport photo services.

How do I get a passport for my child?

With school out, now’s the perfect time to bring them to an appointment. Children under age 16 must apply for a passport in person with either 1) two parents or guardians, or 2) one parent or guardian with a notarized Statement of Consent form. You must submit documentation that lists the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child applying for a passport, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, and the parents must bring their own form of valid ID. Proof of citizenship is also required, such as a previous passport or birth certificate.

How long does it take for me to get my passport?

Routine processing time with the Department of State will currently take between 10 to 13 weeks for routine and 7 to 9 weeks for expedited passport service. As more and more people seek out international travel, these longer processing times will be the norm for quite some time. Even if you’re only thinking about traveling outside of the United States, now is the time to book your appointment and get ahead of any delays.

While the Clerk’s office is only a passport acceptance facility, we are more than happy to help you with your passport journey in any way that we can, from scheduling your appointment, to taking your photo and making sure that your application is filled out correctly. My office will do whatever we can to make your experience as stress free as possible.

Joseph Abruzzo
Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller