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A quick heads up for anyone getting ready to fill out a passport application; the U.S. Department of State Passport Agency rules for completing passport applications will be getting enforced more strictly, in particular on applications completed by hand. Up till recently one could simply pick up a blank DS-11 or DS-82 passport application from the post office or download the PDF version online, fill it out in ink, and then take the form and accompanying documents to a passport office for processing. The rules have changed however, and all passport application forms must now be completed online via the travel.state.gov website. Also, passports applications printed on both sides of the paper are also no longer acceptable and must instead be printed on separate pages.

Annoying maybe but there are good reason for the enforcement. When you complete a DS-11 or DS-82 passport application online, on the printed application you will notice a bar code has been added. The bar code contains all of the information you input into the application system. This means that when your printed form is received by the passport agency, the passport agent can scan your bar code and get all of the information exactly as you entered it online. This helps improve security and makes the whole passport application process  faster and more reliable. I more often then not can’t decipher my own chicken scratch much less someone else’s handwriting so I can definitely see where the typed application only rule could speed things up a fair bit.

So basically, if you’ve picked up or filled in a hand fill application, toss it in the recycling bin (after shredding it of course). Any questions you have about the rule enforcement’s, expediting your new passport, renewing a passport or any other passport related information, US Visa Connection is always here to help.

If you have questions or need assistance, call 877-VISADOC or email us at usvisaconnection@gmail.com. We are available 7 days a week to assist with all your visa and passport needs.