Whether you’ve been there or not, having to travel out of the country for an unforeseen event, like a family emergency, can be extremely stressful. Sometimes its other reasons that can cause you not to have your travel documents on time.
So, if you need a passport fast, what are your options, and what can you do about it? In this post, we help you answer that question.
The first thing to answer is how much time do you have to get a new passport?
If your trip is more than 6 weeks away, you don’t have to worry about getting an expedited passport. You can apply through routine processing which generally takes between 6 to 8 weeks when done through the U.S. Postal Service. You may apply for standard processing by completing Form DS-82. If you have less time than that, we will break it down for you by timeframe, and what action you’ll need to take.
If you have about a month or slightly more time before you leave (but less than 6), you can still apply by mail using Form DS-82. You don’t need to give a reason for requesting expedited service.
The expedited $60 fee is for processing only, which you pay to the Department of State. It does not mean expedited mailing, which is an entirely separate service from the U.S. Postal Service. If you want to expedite both processing and delivery, make sure to pay for both services.
In this scenario, you’ll only be able to apply through a regional passport agency. Keep in mind that a passport agency is not the same thing as an acceptance facility. The main difference is that an agency issues passports on-site, whereas acceptance facilities only collect documents and offer oaths, but they do not issue passports.
Passport agencies throughout the country are far and few. Some states don’t even have one at all. Access to an agency will be especially difficult if you live in a rural part of the country as they’re usually located in larger metropolitan areas. For these situations, you’ll want to look into using a courier service or call the National Passport Information Center for more information.
Make sure you come prepared for your appointment and bring all your travel documents. At your appointment, you can expect to have your photograph and fingerprints taken. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and don’t miss your appointment. Take the day off from work or make other arrangements to facilitate your experience.
If you’re in a serious time crunch to get your passport, and have little time, you have several options, but you will have to act fast. The shorter the timeframe, the more critical it is that you have everything prepared to avoid processing time delays.
For all departures less thank a week, the process is the same as above. You will only be able to apply through a passport agency.
If you have a life or death emergency and need to travel in less than 72 hours, you’ll need to provide proof of your emergency situation to the Department of State. Accepted documents include:
Please note that these documents will require translation into English for passport issuance.
Whether it’s a life or death emergency or another situation, you may not have access or the time to spend an entire day at an agency. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list before your departure. In this case, you’ll have to get help from a passport expeditor service.
When you use an expeditor, you avoid the trouble of going to the passport agency. These services have pre-determined time slots to make appearances at the agency on behalf of their clients. However, you’re still required to submit all supporting documentation that you would typically bring with you to the passport agency, including passport photos. Also, the acting agency may have their own authorization forms you have to fill out.
Procedures and other fees will vary by each passport expeditor service; however, they make the process much easier for their clients. In the end, you don’t have to worry about going to the passport agency, and you receive your passport in as little as 24 hours.
Expeditors are there to help get your passport quickly. If you need help along the way, they are there support you with your questions through the entire processing experience.