Disclaimer: I am by no means an authorized agent to issue US Passports, I am solely speaking from experience based on everyday encounters. For authorized, professional information please visit travel.state.gov or your local passport acceptance center.
I hear people applying for their passport all day and person after person comes in ALL day asking the same questions and making the SAME mistakes. ALL of the instructions are on the form when applying for your passport but most people get intimidated because there are quite a few pages and paragraphs of instructions. I don't have a long intro for this post to make it sound good I'm basically about to tell you the most frequently asked questions/mistakes I hear all day and the answers to those questions.
1. Fill out your passport application using BLACK INK only.
It's literally like the first thing the application says after "Application for US Passport" and still its one of the most common mistakes. No it won't be ok if you use blue ink. Yes it really does matter. Especially now more than ever the lines when applying for your passport are LONG and you WILL get sent to the back of the line with a blank form to fill out again. Don't waste your time. You can also fill it out online ahead of time and print it out at travel.state.gov.
2. The bottom part of the first page that says STOP.... really.... STOP.
That portion of the front page has to be signed and completed in front of an authorized passport agent. I promise they don't need your help. Do not sign ahead....or you will again, be filing out another passport form.
3. If you're a minor applying for a passport, BOTH parents must be present.
The only exception to this rule is to have written, notarized consent from the other parent and it must be signed the same day. You can check out form DS-3053 here for the complete rules regarding circumstances like these. For special circumstances such as sole custody, death of a parent etc., proof must be provided.
4. Renewal forms are for adults over 16 years of age only!
If you were issued a passport and you were under the age of 16 at the time it was issued, you have to go through the process as if you were obtaining a new passport. Point blank. Even if you still have your old passport.
5. You must check online for the appropriate fee for your application!
There is a separate passport fee and execution fee. Both can be found here. This is the most updated way to get the appropriate fee for your application.
Dassit! So now, where are we headed? xo.