Getting Passports Fast
The normal process of getting a passport takes on average 4 to 6 weeks, but sometimes it’s necessary to get passports fast. Perhaps your departure date is coming up in a hurry, or you didn’t realize that your passport had been lost or stolen, or had expired. Fortunately, those who need a passport fast do have options. If you’re planning to travel abroad in the next couple of weeks and don’t think you have time to work within the normal passport-processing time frame, here are some options for getting passports fast.
- Use the State Department’s expedited service. For those who need a passport quick, the State Department does offer an expedited service that delivers passports within about a 2-week time frame. Unfortunately, there is a hefty fee for this service that can significantly increase the total cost of your passport. And if you’re eligible for mail-in service, you’ll need to pay for postage charges as well. (Passports that are undamaged and reasonably recent can be renewed by mail, whereas new passport applications must be submitted in person. Check on the U.S. passport website to find out what applies to your particular circumstances.)
- Apply in person at a regional passport office. If you need your passport in less than 2 weeks, then this is probably your best bet. You’ll have to contact the National Passport Information Center to make a regional center appointment. Be sure to keep track of your confirmation number, as you’ll need it when you arrive for the appointment. Bring all your documentation to the appointment, as well as proof of your immediate need for the passport. This might included a confirmed airline itinerary or a letter from your company explaining the immediate need for business travel. Be prepared to pay any fees at the appointment, as well as the cost of overnight delivery. Typically, the regional office is able to turn passports around in a couple of days.
- Use a passport expediting service. Another option is to go through a private company that specializes in getting passports fast. Although this service will cost more than if you do it yourself, it can be a convenient option for someone with a packed schedule or who doesn’t live a reasonable distance from a regional center.
For the least costly way of applying for and receiving a passport, your best bet is always to get the process going well in advance of your travel date. But fortunately, getting passports fast is also possible. Look carefully at your options and what your particular needs are to determine which expediting service is best for you.