Our Dream Getaways are on! Does the excitement of winning a dream vacation have you  thinking where you'd go? A passport may be an important start, and here's how you get it.

If you plan to go outside of the U.S. you're going to need a passport, even if it's a trip to Canada. If you've never applied for a passport you may be in for a big surprise if you don't have everything ready, so now would be a good time to make sure you've got everything in order.

Passports aren't instant. Once you complete the application and supply the required forms of identification, you'll wait 6-8 weeks to receive your passport. If you need it sooner you can pay to have it expedited to 2-3 weeks. If you're planning a vacation sooner than that then you're just plain out of luck.

It's not cheap to get a passport. To get the passport book and card you'll shell out $140 plus $25 processing fee for each adult. Kids are a little cheaper at $95 plus $25 processing fee.

If you're a first time passport applicant, you'll need to apply in person at a DMV location near you. Here's how you find a location.


What should you have ready before you turn in your application?

  1. Birth certificate. If you can't locate your original then you'll need to apply for a new one, and that will take some time. They just need a photocopy for them to keep on record, both front and back of the certificate. Or you can give them a certified copy of your actual birth certificate.
  2. Drivers license or military ID. Whatever legal ID the state has issued you is what they're looking for, make a photocopy of it, both front and back.
  3. Provide a current color photo. There are rules with this they are very particular about, so make sure you provide a photo that meets their guidelines. The video below explains how to take the perfect passport photo:

Keep in mind if you owe over $2500 in unpaid child support, you won't be approved to get a passport.

Once you have all this ready you can fill out an application (here's the application), which isn't a small task. It's a long application that requires many details that may take you some time to research. Make sure you follow each step very carefully, including the color of ink they require you to use. It's best if you pick up an application at a DMV location and take it home to fill out.

Once this is all over and you have passport in hand you can relax and enjoy your upcoming vacation dreams! The first time applying is the worst, as every year after that it's just renewing your passport and a piece of cake.

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