Category: Expeditors

Easy as ABC, 123: Everything You Need to Know About a Passport Name Change

Did you know that over 21.3 million passports were issued last year?

If you’ve got a passport but you need to have it updated to reflect your new name, the process can be confusing!

Whether you’re recently married, recently divorced, adopting, or planning to legally change your name, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of passport name changes.

We’re here to help make it easy as ABC! It doesn’t have to be confusing.

Read on for everything you need to know about a passport name change.

First, You Need to Know…

Even though the process for applying for a passport in your new name is different depending on a few factors, everyone should know the following things!

What Do I Need to Submit for a Name Change?

Besides sending in your old passport (to be voided), you’ll need to send in a new passport photo, payment, and legal documentation that proves your name was changed.

What Counts as Legal Documentation to Prove a Name Change?

The U.S. Passport Guide lists the following as acceptable documents:

  • Original or certified copy of a marriage license
  • Original or certified copy of a divorce decree
  • Original or certified copy of an adoption certificate, or
  • Original or certified copy of a court order

Photocopies or notarized copies of the above documents, a driver’s license, or social security cards are not acceptable documentation.

Don’t worry if you don’t have one of these documents! There’s still a way to apply for a passport name change. Read on for more.

How Long Does the Process Take?

It will take between 4-6 weeks to process unless you use an expedited service.

And that doesn’t include the time it takes for your materials to be mailed in and back to you.

If you’re planning on traveling sooner than 4-6 weeks or your plans require foreign visas, we recommend working with a passport agency

How Much Is the Passport Name Change Fee?

Applicants who are ages 16 or older whose passports were issued less than a year ago will not have to pay a fee to change the name on their passport.

For adults whose passport is older than 1 year, the fee to have a name change is $110 with the option to expedite for an additional $60.

For children age 15 and younger, the fee to have a name change is $80 with the option to expedite for an additional $60

You can find a more in-depth break down of the fee structure here.

What Can I Use to Pay the Fee?

You’ll need to use a check or money order to pay the fees listed above. The payment needs to be sent in by mail with the other documents unless you apply in person.

How Do I Make Sure the Documents I Mail Are Secure?

If you’re mailing any documents always use a reinforced envelope like a Tyvek envelope that will protect the package from regular wear and tear.

We also recommend purchasing insurance and tracking on the package at the post office. That will allow you to monitor its progress and have enough to replace the lost items.

Applying For a Passport Name Change

There are 3 different processes that are for 3 different types of people. To determine which process is appropriate for you, answer the questions below.

  • Is my current passport less than 1-year-old and do I have documentation that proves my legal name change? Yes? Then read #1.
  • Is my current passport older than 1 year and do I have the documentation that proves my legal name change? Yes? Then read #2.
  • If you don’t have the documentation to prove a legal name change then read #3.

#1 Your Current Passport is Less Than 1 Year Old

The first application is for people who have issued their original passport less than one year ago and they have legal documentation to show their name change. If you fit in this category, you’ll fill out form DS-5504.

Once your form has been completed, you’ll need to mail the form, your current passport, an updated passport photo, payment, and the documentation of your legal name change.

#2 Your Current Passport is between 2-15 Years Old

If your current passport is older than one year and you have the legal documentation to show your name change then you’ll fill out form DS-82.

Once your form has been completed, you’ll need to mail the form, your current passport, an updated passport photo, payment, and the documentation of your legal name change.

#3 You Do Not Have Documentation to Prove a Legal Name Change

If you don’t have the legal documentation for your name change then you’ll need to fill out form DS-11.

Once your form has been completed, you’ll need to appear in person to a local passport office with your current passport, an updated passport photo, payment, and 3 public records with date and place of birth proving exclusive use of your new name for at least 5 years.

One More Thing!

All your documents, your old passport, and your new passport will be mailed back to you within 4-6 weeks.

The above forms are all to be printed off and mailed in with your old passport and name-change documentation, but if you don’t have access to a printer or prefer paperless filing, you can fill out the electronic form here. You’ll need to agree to a disclaimer about fraud and abuse acts.

Now go on an enjoy your travels! Now that you completed your passport name change, you can enjoy all the world has to offer!

Read Next: How to Get an International Driver’s License

Getting a Passport? Smart Tips for Expedited Passport Applications Process

Whether you plan to visit family or enjoy a vacation abroad. Making sure that you have a valid passport should be the first step when making your travel plans. Since standard processing times for passport applications often takes more than six weeks for final approval. Applying for these forms as quickly as possible is even more critical when the trip’s purpose is urgent.

What can passport applicants do to make the process faster and easier?

Like all paperwork that require documentation to verify identity, passport applicants can help to improve the process by:

  • gathering all required documents before beginning the initial application process
  • carefully verifying names, addresses, relationships, and other information for any errors or omissions that could be problematic
  • filling out each form carefully to make sure that complete answers are provided to each question before submitting

What options are available for passport applicants who need their documents as quickly as possible?

Expedited processing of passport applications is available for those who will need their documents very soon. Sooner than the normal time frame of four to six weeks. When choosing this option, applicants must:

  • provide evidence of their travel plans to show the need for expediency
  • include a $60 fee with the cost of the application
  • choose an express delivery method that offers traceability and includes the amount of the overnight delivery fee

Where can expedited passport applications be submitted?

Although traditional passport applications can be handled at most post offices, expedited passport applications will need to be submitted through a regional passport agency or by opting to work with a reputable expedited passport courier service. Since regional passport processing centers are in major cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, many people find that it is more convenient to use a passport courier service, instead.

National Passport Service is a highly reputable courier service with an extensive record of helping American citizens expedite the process of obtaining passports. An A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and thousands of happy customers assures that Fastport Passport is your best option for this process.

Passport Expediting – How Can You Get a Passport Quickly?

Passport Expediting ServiceIf you are in a rush, you do not have enough time to wait for U.S. Department of State to process your passport. Learn how a registered passport expediter, and passport expediting can help you receive your new  or  passport renewal in a hurry.

How Can You Get a Passport Quickly?

Typically passport applications take four to seven weeks to process. When you have a last-minute business or personal travel need, or your passport has expired, you need a passport quickly. It takes minutes to pose for passport photos, so why does it need to take so long to receive a new or updated passport?

The U.S. government does allow expedited and emergency passports in certain circumstances. If you need to travel within 30 days, you may have your passport expedited by the State Department. If you need a passport plus a visa within 30 days, or you need a passport in less than 14 days, you may qualify for passport expediting services.

How to Get Passport Expedinting

Expedited passport applications are processed within two to three weeks. You must have your passport applications, photos plus, travel itinerary and an extra $60 to cover the rush charge.

If you are sending in an expedited passport request on your own, you must write “expedite” on the mailing envelope. Address the materials to the correct address (which differs from the standard passport processing address). Also, use an express mailing method that you can track for peace of mind, and pay a shipping surcharge.

A reputable passport expediter can take care of all of this for you. All you need to do is complete the secure online application and pay the passport processing fees.

How to Get a Same-Day Passport or Next Day Passport

If you have a travel emergency , the best course of action is to submit your materials to a regional passport agency. While you can do this in person, you may also elect a registered passport expediters to present your application. Regional agencies exist in major metro areas across the U.S. and specialize in processing materials in just 24 to 48 hours.

Expedited passport couriers can handle your urgent passport needs quickly, getting you the fastest turnaround time for your passport application and leaving you precious time to attend to other last-minute travel details. Depending on the case load of the regional agency, a courier may be able to get you same-day passport service.

Are you ready to start with an expedited passport? Applying is quick and easy. Complete the secure online form to get started with a registered passport expediter.

Steps for Expediting a United States Passport for a Newborn Baby

baby passport pictureTraveling abroad with a newborn baby already has its share of stress, so make sure you take care of getting a passport for your little one well before your scheduled trip. First of all, you should be aware that passports for minors are a bit more complex than applying for an adult passport because the State Department requires proper documentation with evidence, proving the  parents are indeed the child’s parents or guardian.

A number of local post offices and retail postal stores have passport acceptance agents who can witness the signature of the passport form, some acceptance agents  require  no appointment. However, an appointment is necessary at all official passport agencies. You can find applications and other relevant forms online via the U.S. Department of State’s website.

How to Apply for a Newborn Passport

To complete the process, you will need:

  • The child’s birth certificate
  • A DS-11 passport application
  • A photo of the newborn
  • The parents’ IDs
  • If applicable, court documents proving the parent and child relationship
  • The required fee

Complete the Process Using These Four Steps:

Step 1 – Passport Application Form

You will need to obtain a copy of the application form DS-11 for new passport. You will need to fill out the application form,  but do not sign the DS-11 application until asked to do so by an acceptance agent. 

Step 2 – Proof of Citizenship

Proof of citizenship. Provide a copy of the newborn’s birth certificate including both parents’ names for the baby’s proof of citizenship. If the applicant is a natural parent, this will also prove this relationship.

However, if the child is adopted or the applicant is the legal guardian, a copy of adoption papers or court documents should be brought along as well to demonstrate your legal right to have the child. A copy of the front and back of each parent’s ID (driver’s license or passport) is necessary.

Step 3 – The Baby Passport Photo

Bring along a 2″ x 2″ printed color picture of the baby. The photo should have a white background, so either lay the baby on a white sheet and photograph from above, or put them in their car seat with a white sheet behind. Only the child may be in the photo (no adults holding them); the photo should be a close-up of their face — no shadows, eyes open and looking into the camera.

Step 4 – Submitting the Application

Go to the passport agency. Go to the passport agency of your choice with the photo and documents. Both legal parents should be present; if one cannot be there, they must provide a notarized statement of consent form (Form DS-3053). The actual ID from each parent should be brought along as well as the copies that were created in Step #2.

Sign and pay. Sign the DS-11 form only when directed by the acceptance agent. Pay all applicable fees including the expedite service fee if faster service is use. At this time, the expedited service fee is $60. Overnight shipping fees may apply as well and are not included in the $60 fee.

If for some reason you cannot get your passport expedited with the passport agency U.S. Passport Help Guide recommends Fastport Passport to get your passport expedited for your newborn in as little as 24 hours.

How Far in Advance Should I Renew My Passport?

How Far in Advance Should Renew PassportWhile renewing your passport is a very simple procedure, you need to be careful of your timing. When you leave or enter the United States, you need to present a valid passport. In some countries, your passport must also be valid for several months after your scheduled return date.

One of the most common question visitors ask at Help Guide is: How far in advance should I renew my passport? The US State Department allows anyone to renew his/her passport at any given time, regardless of when it expires.

If you plan to visit China or Russia, for instance, you need to have a passport that is still valid 6 months after you depart the United States, regardless of how long your trip to those countries actually lasts. However, if you are planning a trip to Canada, you only need a valid passport at the time of entry.

Routine Renewal

If you are ahead of the game and reading this, far in advance of when your renewal is needed, you can choose standard delivery and expect your new passport on your doorsteps in four to six weeks. This does not take into consideration the time you will take to mail your application to and from the National Passport Processing Center. For expedited renewal services, you should expect your passport application to process in two to three weeks. This is from the time it arrives at the passport center.

Emergency Processing

If you are reading this in a panic and realize that your trip is less than a month away, then you will need a expedited passport service. This usually takes two to three weeks or as quoted on the U.S. Department of State’s website, “3 weeks door-to-door”. Remember, these timelines estimate the length of time it takes from when it arrives at the processing center to when it leaves the processing center. So, you should add another week for shipping to and from. It is important to know after submitting your passport application, you cannot submit another passport form.

If you have less than two weeks, you can visit a regional passport agency in person with all required documents, and that will usually speed up the process by at least a few more days. In order to make an appointment, you may need to show proof of travel within a certain time frame. In some circumstances, you can also visit an embassy or consulate. Once there, and apply for a special visa which will grant you entry into the country. You can now also track the status of your passport application online, usually within a week from when you sent it in.

Additionally, these renewal estimates only apply if your passport was given within the last fifteen years. Or, you were older than sixteen and it has not damage. If your passport does not meet all of those requirements, you will need to apply in person.

Regardless of your destination, be sure to visit the U.S. Department of State’s website and research the country you plan on traveling to. And always remember, when it comes to renewing your passport, the earlier you submit your documents, the more peace of mind you will have. Also, the more likely you will be able to travel without any issues.

Private Passport Expediter

Hiring a passport expediter could be costly. You will need to pay an additional processing fee to the private company plus the renewal fee. Private companies usually have preexisting arrangement with the passport agencies around the United States. This gives the company access to process your application directly with the passport agency on your behalf. This service is recommended if you are in rush to get your passport and cannot get to the passport agency. U.S. Passport Help Guide highly recommends Fastport Passport. As this company has an “A” rating with the BBB of the date of publishing.

U.S. Passport Processing Time for Summer

If you find that you need a passport before an upcoming trip or out of the country vacation getaway, there are always a few important things to keep in mind. For starters, applying for and processing a passport application is not generally something that can happen overnight. You need to make sure you’re leaving enough time to get all of the paperwork in order. Also, for your documents to arrive at the right facility safely and properly. So, if you apply in the summer, you will see the processing time for summer is longer than usual.

Standard processing for a new passport that has been sent through post office services usually takes between four and six weeks throughout most months of the year. As the warm summer season approaches, the expecting processing time may extend for a number of different reasons.

Standard processing time for summer to get a passport is usually between seven to eight weeks. Which is something you always need to keep in mind before you head off to that big trip. The process can be extended even farther depending on where in the world you’re planning on traveling. The World Cup, one of the most popular sporting events in history, is taking place in Brazil during the summer of 2014.

If you’re planning on traveling to Brazil, you should plan on standard processing time for summer can extend even farther as Brazilian Consulates deal with an influx of travelers trying to make their way into the country for the big events.

Another reason why passport processing times may get extend is during the summer. It has everything to do with the warm weather. As the weather starts getting nicer outside, more and more people begin taking vacations out of the United States.

As a result, the larger than average amount of passports that comes in to process can extend your waiting time. Of course, the exact time that your application will take to get process will still depend on where you’re coming from and where you’re planning on traveling to. So, just sit back and wait for the process to take its course.

Because of these reasons, appointments at a regional passport agency will be even harder to obtain when compared to other time periods during the year. The processing of an application doesn’t begin until after your appointment at the passport agency. If you can’t get an appointment for another two weeks, for example. You can expect the total amount of time the process will take to extend to nine to ten weeks. If you’re lucky. So, make sure you clear your schedule when you make your appointment so that you don’t lose your chance.

Expedited services with post offices are usually a great way to get your application process as quickly as possible. During the busy traveling season, however, these times extend to around three weeks. Another option is to use the services of a passport expediting company such as Fastport Passport. These services will obtain your passport in around 24 hours. Which is a great way to make sure that everything is in order right before the big trip.

If you submit your application with the post office, however, you cannot submit it again. Especially, with anyone else in the State Department. It will only accept one passport application at any given time. As a result, you need to make the decision with regards to which service you will use. That is before the process begins in earnest for the best possible results.

Passport Requirements for Canada or Mexico Travel

Since June of 2009, anyone going from the U.S. to the “friendly border” of Canada or Mexico needs a passport or equivalent document. Both Canadian and Mexican authorities may not ask to see your passport when crossing, but the U.S. officials will when returning home thanks to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Educate yourself before the trip, so you don’t end up stuck somewhere when going to Canada.

Passport vs. NEXUS

At one time, you could make the trip to Canada or Mexico with nothing more than a birth certificate and photo ID. That is no longer the case, however. Thinking ahead and getting a passport is always your best option, but for frequent travelers, there are other choices.

A Nexus Card allows for a quick crossing into the country for those who travel back and forth regularly. The application process if extensive; NEXUS approval requires both an interview and fingerprinting. They will do a full criminal background and law enforcement check prior to issuing the card.

Exceptions to the Passport Rule

There are a few exceptions to the passport rule.

  • Children under the age of 16 need only carry a birth certificate or citizenship card.
  • Groups of individuals between the ages of 16 to 18 only need a birth certificate if they are traveling as part of a group for school or other organization. They must be accompanied by an adult who has a valid passport.

What You Need for a Passport

When applying for your first passport, you must visit a local office. Necessary documents include:

  • Valid birth certificate issued by the city, country or state of birth. It must have the embossed seal of the registrar.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth if born outside the country
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship

All documents must be original and will be returned to you with the new passport.

In addition, you must have proof of identification. Bring the original document plus a photocopy of it, front and back.

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current Government ID
  • Current Military ID
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Passport Photo – Get the photo taken by a service that offers passport photos to ensure it meets all the requirements.

How long does it take?

The average passport takes between 4 to 7 weeks to process – even expedited service will require about three weeks. If you are in a bind, a third party passport processing company can get the document to you overnight for a fee.

The Truth About Passport & Visa Expediters

How do passport expeditors work? Is a passport expeditor a legitimate method of obtaining a passport within 24 to 48 hours? These are some of the most common questions at U.S. Passport Help Guide we usually receive. In this article, we will explain how the process works. So this will be a very informative post about which passport expeditor is the right one, and how to go about choosing a passport expediting company to expedite your vital documents.

Which Passport & Visa Should I Choose?

There are many passport expeditors around the nation that are accredited by the BBB and have favorable ratings with many online review services. Fastport Passport and National Passport Service rank high based on customer experiences. These companies would be able to obtain your expedited passport. The bottom line is they all state the same thing. They can get your passport fast online without the hassle. If you would like a curated list of all passport and visa expeditors nationwide Rush Passport Center shares information on the top 10 services based on price, customer reviews, and timeliness.

It’s important to know passport expediters provide a hand carry service and appear at the Regional Passport Agency in lieu of the applicant having to appear. If the applicant were to appear in person, the passport agency will give the passport directly to the applicant just as fast as the passport expediting company.

Questions to Ask Passport Expediters?

  • Which passport agency process my passport application?
  • How long is the company in business?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Would my passport application be outsourced to a third party company?
  • Do you have a physical location?
  • Are you register with any passport agencies?
  • How many years have you been doing passport expediting?
  • Are you on the BBB and are you accredited?
  • Can we contact a customer via email to ask for a reference?

What to do before Purchasing Expedited Passport Services?

  • Check the companies other reviews on a public review site like Yelp, BBB, and Facebook.
  • Call the 800 number and make sure someone picks up the phone, and customer services are being provided.
  • Check if they have any online chat services.
  • Make sure the company where you are purchasing the service are the actual passport courier, and not a third party vendor.

How Does Expediting a Passport Work?

In order to process an expedited passport with a registered courier service, the process is pretty simple. Many expeditors advertise a three or four-step process.

  1. The first step is to order the expedited service that meets your needs. Many expeditors can process the passport as quickly as 24 hours. There are budget-friendly options as well starting around $99 for expedited processing
  2. Once submitting a passport order, the next step for a passport application is to follow a set of passport application instructions. You will have to meet all the passport requirements and prepare all the documents for shipping.
  3. Once you have prepared the documents the applicant will ship the passport to the expeditor for processing.
  4. Now your passport is in processing with the expediter and a regional passport agency. Once the passport is complete, you will receive a notification that your passport is complete or not by the Passport Agency. Most expediters use FedEx or UPS to ship back your documents with preferred overnight shipping

Where can I apply for an Expedited Passport?

When looking to use a passport expeditor it is recommended that you first try to get your passport with the regional passport agency in your area. If this is not possible due to the location of the passport agency or no appointment is available then we recommend finding a reliable passport expeditor from our passport expediting directory.

How does a private company be able to process my passport application? Private companies could only expedite passport in an emergency situation. You will need to be traveling within fourteen days or thirty days if a visa is necessary. These companies are  “couriers” that hand-carry your passport application into the regional passport agency that they are registered with meaning they will hand-deliver your passport application to the passport agency, and communicate any problems with the application then deliver your application back to you.