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How to Write a Letter of Application to Obtain a Passport

Updated April 12, 2017

Under normal circumstances, a United States citizen trying to obtain a passport for the first time would only need to submit a U.S. passport application, proof of citizenship, payment and photo. Passport applicants living far from a passport distribution office often choose to send their paperwork to a visa and passport service company that will handle the documentation for them. The representatives of these companies will require a letter of authority or authorisation from the applicant that allows them to take possession of the passport once the application has been processed.

Type your authorisation letter. Do not handwrite it. If the passport agents at the Department of State cannot decipher your handwriting, they cannot release the passport to anyone but you.

Refer to your specific travel company's website to see if they have posted any sample authorisation letters stating the specific rights they will need to obtain your passport once the paperwork is finished (see Resources).

Specify the travel agency's name within the letter, granting them and all their representatives the sole right to have access to your passport. Authority letters stating travel agencies in general form will not be accepted.

Include a clause in the letter that will grant the passport agency's representatives the right to discuss matters pertaining to the processing of your passport application, such as your personal information or proof of citizenship. By doing this, you will allow the representative to handle small issues or questions the Department of State may have about your application without slowing the process down.

Date the letter!

Ask your travel agency if they need you to sign the letter in their presence. Sometimes, the travel agency will have a public notary on site who will notarise the letters for added security. Sign your name on the letters the exact same way you have written it on your passport application.

Provide as many signed copies to the passport agency as it requires. Do not submit photocopies in lieu of a signed original. Photocopies will not be accepted.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
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About the Author

Bailey Richert is a 2010 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a dual bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and hydrogeology, as well as a master's degree in systems engineering. After several years in the environmental consulting industry, she is now attending MIT for graduate school. An accomplished traveler, she has visited 23 countries and published her first book about international travel in 2014.