Expedited Passport Guide
What happens if you have to leave the country in a hurry, but you don’t have a valid passport? An expedited passport can help you if you have an unexpected business trip, vacation opportunity, or emergency. For most travel arrangements there’s enough time, but passports usually take 4-6 weeks to process from the time of application. Going anywhere outside of the Unites States requires a passport now, and you might need a passport expediting service. Here is some information as well as tips and tricks to getting an expedited passport (the information in this article is taken from http://travel.state.gov/passport/).
How to Receive an Expedited Passport
First off, if this is your first passport and not a passport renewal, you will need to apply in person for your passport no matter where you go. You can get expedited passport processing from the State Department or any regional passport agency. When you go, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Fill out application for A U.S. Passport. Do not sign it until instructed to do so and be aware that you must provide your Social Security Number. You must submit your application in person.
- Submit evidence of U.S. Citizenship – an original of one of the following:
- Birth Certificate
- Naturalization Certificate
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Present identification – one of the following:
- U.S. Passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Valid driver’s license
- Government ID – city, state or federal
- Current military ID
- Submit a photocopy of both the front and back of your identification. These should be on the same side of the photocopy.
- Pay the application fee
- Provide one passport photo
If you are getting a passport renewal, you can apply by mail. Online passport services are available through private agencies for rush passports.
Passport fees for Adult first time regular passports, as of Tuesday, July 13, 2010, are the following:
- $140 plus a $25 execution fee for an Adult Passport Book & Card
- $110 plus a $25 execution fee for an Adult Passport Book
- $30 plus a $25 execution fee for an Adult Passport card
If you have a passport already and just need it renewed, the $25 execution fees do not apply. Expedited passports have an additional fee of $60. If you want overnight passport delivery, that is an additional fee of $12.72 both ways.
Therefore, if you are an adult, first time applicant, getting your passport services expedited, your total fees will be the following:
- $250.44 for an Adult Passport Book & Card
- $220.44 for an Adult Passport Book
- $140.44 for an Adult Passport card
The above fees include the execution fee, the expedited passport fee, and overnight delivery of your application, both ways.
*Adults are anyone over the age of 16. Please see http://travel.state.gov/passport/fees/fees_837.html for additional information.
Method of Payment
Payment methods for expedited passports depend on where you go to get your passport. Passport agencies generally accept the following forms of payment:
- Major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover
- Debit or Check cards (not ATM cards)
- Checks, bank drafts or money orders
If you are renewing your passport and mailing your information in, you can pay with a personal check or money order made out to U.S. Department of State. They do not accept cash. For a Post Office, Clerk of Court, or some other type of location, you’ll want to call and check what types of payment they accept.
When Will I Receive My Expedited Passport?
For expedited passport service, the time required is cut in half. That means instead of 4-6 weeks for your passport to be processed, it will only be 2-3 weeks (when overnight delivery is paid for both ways). The 2-3 week processing takes into account the amount of time estimated for your passport to be shipped to you. The online processing only takes 5-7 days, so the additional 7-14 days is for your expedited passport to reach you in the mail.
While expedited passport services can speed up the process, it is important to remember that the U.S. Department of State makes no guarantees. You can check your passport application status online.
Special Mailing Instructions
The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends the following when mailing your application for an expedited passport:
- A passport applicant who is applying for a renewal by mail must clearly mark “Expedite” on the outside of the mailing envelope in order for the Expedited passport Processing times to apply
- You should mail your passport applications and any personal documents using a traceable delivery method
- Protect your passport pages from weather during the delivery process by using a secure means of packaging, like a Tyvek envelope
What if I Need My Passport in Less Than 2 Weeks?
Don’t worry, if you need your passport faster, there is still hope for you. In cases of emergency, you can make an appointment with a regional passport office. However, you should only make an appointment with a regional passport office if:
- You need a U.S. passport in less than 2 weeks for international travel
- You need a U.S. passport within 4 weeks to obtain a foreign travel visa
You can contact the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment or locate a passport agency. If you need to apply for an expedited passport at a regional passport office, the best thing is to schedule an appointment by using the Automated Appointment System. If you can’t get through or you can’t get an appointment early enough, get the travel documents you need in order and go to your nearest regional agency first thing in the morning. Explain the situation and they should be able to help you get your expedited passport as quickly as possible.