5 Great Tips For Getting A Passport Fast

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The need to get a new or renewed passport within a short period can be prompted by various situations, such as losing your passport, an emergency overseas, or an unexpected business opportunity. Fortunately, you can get your passport as quickly as possible if you avoid these 5 common pitfalls.

5 Great Tips For Getting A Passport Fast

Beating the Clock

Getting your passport quickly is a test in how fast government is capable of moving. However, the speed depends on the applicant in many different ways. You can avoid missing your set travel date by determining whether time allows for you to send an expedited application by mail or whether you are required to be physically present at a passport agency or facility. 

Passport processing typically requires anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, inclusive of mailing time. A standard expedited passport applied through mail usually requires 2 to 3 weeks. You can secure your passport within 2 to 3 weeks if you have proof of travel, such as your flight itinerary, and within less than 4 weeks without necessarily providing officials a reason. In the case of life or death situations, government agents can work with regular citizens to issue a passport within as little as 72 hours. If you want some more details on turnaround then read this article

Ask the Wizard

The Passport Wizard provided by the State Department helps applicants determine the correct documents and forms for their situation as well as time frame. Applicants are required to complete forms correctly ensuring that all documents required are actually presented properly. Neatness matters. You can easily miss an important travel date if a handwritten form is not legible, or the photocopies provided are not of very good quality.

You should also never miss the boat by submitting a passport picture that doesn’t meet the criteria set by the State Department (this is one of the main reasons why applications are rejected). You might consider shaggy bangs a fashion statement, but if they are hiding your eyes, it could translate to denial to the State Department. Rules are provided that govern facial expression, photo size, clothing, and much more. The best way to ensure that your passport photo passes inspection is to get it from a studio that specializes in passport photos.

Get Your Application to the Proper Place

According to Travel Visa Pro, moving your application through government channels at top speed requires first submitting it to the right place using the prescribed way. Applications required within 4 to 6 weeks can be mailed to the address provided on the completed form. It can be a good idea to include the word “expedite” on the outside of the envelope. Sending the application using overnight delivery and requesting that the application be returned overnight might add to the cost, but it can help you save time.

If you need the passport within 3 weeks, submit your application package in person at one of the 26 regional passport centers or agencies. Since not all states host regional centers or agencies, you might have to plan a road trip. You will require an appointment and you can make one by calling the National Passport Information Center or using its website.

Paying the Government

Expedited passport applications attract a $60 extra fee for the hurried process. The Government is very specific about passport payment methods, so ensure that the process stays on track by including the payment in the form of a money order or check payable to the United States Department of State. Passport agencies accept credit cards, money orders, cash, and checks in the exact amount. Acceptance facilities located in courthouses, post offices, and public libraries accept money orders and checks. You can pay some acceptance facilities using a credit card.

Secure a Helping Hand

You can even get private courier services to help you with some of the leg work involved in getting an expedited passport, but at a hefty fee. It is legal, but applicants need to determine whether it is worth the additional cost. The government insists that applicant won’t receive their passports any quicker through a service than they would if they appeared in person at a passport agency. 

In some situations, the applicant will still be required to appear in person at the passport agency despite using a courier service. If you are concerned about handing over your personal information to a courier service, you can check its reputation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as state, regional, and local chambers of commerce. The State Department typically doesn’t get involved in disputes between courier companies and applicants. It is something you need to bear in mind when time is of the essence.