Getting a passport can feel like opening a door to the entire rest of the world, but it is a process (we are talking about the federal government here).
Luckily, applying for a passport can be as easy as heading to your local Post Office, but what about the all-important passport photo?
So, does USPS take passport photos on-site? Here is what you need to know.
Does USPS Take Passport Photos?
The United States Postal Service Post Office locations do take passport photos in addition to issuing passports, but these locations are limited. Customers can find applicable locations at USPS.com by entering their zip code. Additionally, getting a passport photo at the USPS is $15, which is substantially more expensive than other retail stores.
To learn more about how to get your passport photo taken at a Post Office location, how much it costs, where you can get them done cheaper, and what wait time you can expect, find all the answers to these questions below!
How Do Passport Photos at USPS Work?
The United States Postal Service Post Office locations are some of the most popular places where people apply for passports.
So it makes sense that these locations might also take the passport photos that go inside these important documents.
However, not all Post Offices take passport applications, and even fewer of those take passport photos.
Therefore, it’s important you find a location that does both if it’s your first time.
To do that online, you will navigate to the USPS.com page to schedule an appointment.
You’ll choose the Service Type: “New Passport with Photo Services,” then add the number of adults and number of minors under the age of 16 for whom you are applying.
Opt to choose by location or date, and enter your city and state or zip code and your desired radius. Make sure the “Passport photo locations” box is checked when you hit “Search.”
You will then see a list of all the available locations by distance or locations by time. Choose whichever works best for you and provide your contact information.
(You can also book an appointment in-store at a Post Office location at an available self-service kiosk.)
Appointments are designed to last only about 15 minutes (USPS is working under the assumption you will show up fully prepared), and you should show up 10 minutes early.
Also, make sure to budget the passport photo fee into your transactions — $15 for each photo.
Despite the strict requirements for passport photos, postal workers (especially long-time ones) are generally quite practiced in the process.
Each location will have its own area for photos, with a white or off-white background, and they will guide you where and how to stand.
If you have glasses, expect the “photographer” to ask you to remove them. Photos will be straight-on – no coy head tilts.
Is It Cheaper To Get Passport Photos at the Post Office?
The Post Office is actually one of the most expensive places to get your passport photo taken.
But some people consider paying the $15 passport photo fee well worth the price, as an experienced Post Office employee is more likely to take an acceptable photo.
I say “more likely” in comparison to a DIY attempt, where you and your friend or family member try to take an acceptable photo at home and then get it printed out somewhere.
Finally, the nice thing about having your Post Office do it is that you can have all your passport application documents accounted for in just one trip.
Where Is It Cheaper To Get Passport Photos Than the Post Office?
If you do decide to go the cheaper route with a location other than a Post Office or to take the photo at home and have it printed, you have lots of options.
- UPS: $11.99
- FedEx: $14.95 (only saving five cents there)
- Target: $9.99 or $0.19 for a print
- Sam’s Club: $5.31 or $.017 for a print
- CVS: $13.99 or $0.29 for a print
- Walgreens: $12.99 or $0.29 for a print
Bear in mind, however, that not every location for each of these retailers will do passport photos.
You will want to check ahead of time and/or make an appointment.
What Is the Wait Time For Passport Photos at the Post Office?
The wait time for passport photos at the Post Office will be the same as the wait time for the actual passport.
They aren’t developing the photos right there in the Post Office for you to take home; instead, they’re being sent with your application materials.
You may have to wait up to six weeks – or more, depending on major circumstances, like what the COVID-19 pandemic created – for your passport to be issued and received.
If, for some reason, your passport photo taken at USPS was denied, that significantly slows matters.
Does USPS Take Baby Passport Photos?
The Postal Service does take baby passport photos!
This can seem strange since passports are good for 10 years, and no one changes so much as a kid in that time.
And according to the good people at Reddit, baby passport photos are quite a challenge.
Just look at this adorable shot of a baby having its passport photo taken in a Post Office!