Fast US Passports
When you say fast, what do you mean? Today? Next Week? Next Month? There are a few options for obtaining a fast passports based on your time frame, so let’s take a look at the different options available…
By Fast I Mean I Need My Passport Today
Depending on what time of the day it is and where you live, this may actually be possible! The US State Dept does provide a very fast turnaround if you can make it to one of their locations early enough in the day and they have availability for you. Generally speaking they are by appointment only, but will often make exceptions for travelers in dire need (especially for family or medical emergencies). US State Dept Passport Agency locations open to the public are listed on the where to apply for a passport page.
Contacting these agencies can be difficult as all calls are supposed to go through the government’s 1-800-487-2778 National Passport Information Center line which will provide you with “stock” information regarding policy and procedure. While there is no guarantee, if you get to a Passport Agency before 1pm with all passport requirements and passport fees and have confirmed international travel confirmations for that day or before noon the following business day, there is a pretty good chance they will help you.
By Fast I Mean Within The Next Week or Two
Congratulations – you’re our most common visitor! As you’ve probably figured out by now, the passport agency is set up to provide an easy way to obtain a passport in several weeks, but when it gets to crunch time the process gets more complicated (and more expensive). Let’s go over the options: Standard passport processing takes, on average, between six and eight weeks and costs between $80 and $165 (plus shipping) depending on whether the applicant is an adult or a child and based on the services they need.
Need a Passport Fast?
Get Your Passport in 2 to 3 Business Days
Fast passport processing through the normal channels (primarily the Post Office) can be done between two and three weeks (plus shipping) and costs between $140 and $225 depending on whether the applicant is an adult or a child and based on the services they need.
Fast passport processing at a US State Dept Passport Agency can be done in a few days but generally requires an appointment. Based on appointment availability, the overall process can take between a few days and two weeks (note that appointments are usually harder to get during peak travel times, February through September). Depending on where you live, this may be your best option. US State Dept Passport Agency locations open to the public are listed on the where to apply for a passport page. To book an appointment, call the National Passport Information Center at 1-800-487-2778. Of course there is a phone tree you have to work through, you are trying to get to the automated appointment hotline. Unless you have specific questions that you can’t find answers for on this site (impossible!), then don’t bother trying to actually speak to someone. You’ll just be on hold for a while and then the representative will connect you to the automated appointment system – so you’ll have just wasted a half hour you could have spent getting your passport application documents together! Once you book your appointment you’ll of course need to go to the office and wait to be seen (this can be between 30 minutes and a few hours). Assuming all your paperwork and fees are correct, they will let you know when your new passport will be ready for pickup. This is not usually on the same day. You will then have to go back to the agency to pick up the passport when they indicate. This is normally in the afternoon, after 2pm.
Passport expediting services are a viable alternative to the above options for some people. While they no doubt charge fees for their service, if you would need to drive (or fly) for hours to get to a passport agency or if spending the day sitting at the agency (and then going back a few days later to get your passport) would require you to take vacation days, miss work or school or otherwise be inconvenient, then the expense of the expeditor might be worth it. Expeditors, depending 100% on their quality of service to encourage repeat or referral customers, are also normally very good at walking you through the process and reviewing documents. If you want to learn more about fast passport expediting companies, check out the passport service companies page where we explain how they do what they do and who the most established companies are.
I lied, I Don’t Really Need My Passport That Fast
It’s ok, we won’t hold it against you. “Fast” is a relative term and If you’ve read all the way to this point you’re probably realizing that even though your trip is coming up, you don’t need your passport that fast. Standard passport processing takes about six to eight weeks (not exactly fast, but maybe this is all you need). It is certainly cheaper. If you want to learn more about standard passport processing, check out the passport requirements page – we provide a lot of detail (maybe too much) on the process there. Of course the US State Dept and USPS provide overviews as well, but we think ours is better! Oddly WikiHow has a pretty decent overview too, but again, ours is better!!!
Fast Passport Conclusion
We hope the information above gave you a good overview of the fast passport options that are available to you. Each service has it’s pro’s and con’s, however you can take a deep breath knowing that with all the different fast passport options available to you, there will be at least one that fits you and you’ll be on your trip soon! Have fun!