How Long Does it Takes to Get a Passport?

Many people forget about renewing their passport until right before a trip. This can cause some panic if you’re planning to leave in a few days. Luckily, there are several options for passport renewal, each a little faster, and at a cost. If you can remember to renew your passport eight to ten weeks before your trip, you’ll save yourself some money.

But knowing there are quick options to getting a passport renewed is helpful to the busy traveler with a “just in time” schedule.

The Standard Renewal Process

If you have your old passport and it is still legible, all you need is the passport and a completed DS-82 form. This is the “U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals” form and is available online or at any passport renewal location. If you’re passport is lost or mutilated, you’ll need to apply for a new passport with a DS-11 form, “Application for a U.S. Passport.” You will also need a two inch by two inch photo to apply for a new passport and a copy of your birth certificate.

If your name has changed since your last passport application, you’ll need a certified copy of the marriage certificate, divorce decree or other court document showing your old and new names.

Where to Apply for a Passport Renewal

If you meet a number of criteria, you can apply by mail, but this takes the longest to get your passport back, usually four to six weeks. To apply by mail:

  • Your passport must not be damaged and can still be read
  • Your passport must have been issued when you were at least 16 years old and within the past 15 years
  • Your passport is in your current name or you have certified copies of the above documents to prove the name change

If your passport is lost or mutilated, you have to apply in person. The new passport can only be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses. All of the certified documents and your old passport have to be mailed in. Since there is some risk of items being lost in the mail, this could be a risky way to renew.

Applying at the Post Office

If you have all of your materials together and the DS-82 form completed, you can visit certain U.S. post offices that handle passports. Not all post offices have this service and those that do may have specific hours or require an appointment. The people there will review your materials with you and help you submit them. Expect a four to six week processing time with this option.

Applying at a Passport Agency

State Department Regional Passport Agencies can also help you if you need to renew your passport sooner than the four to six week average. Many larger cities have one of these facilities. You will need an appointment and take all of your material with you. You must show proof of your upcoming travel at most of the agencies, but not all. You will also pay an additional fee for the quicker processing of your renewal. You could receive your new passport same day with this option.

Applying at a Private Passport Expeditor

Working with a private passport service, you could have your new passport within one to eight days. These companies work with the regional passport agencies to get you a expedited passport in as short a time as possible. You will need all of your other material plus proof of travel, or family emergency showing why the urgency. This is safe and the quickest way to renew your passport. For more information on getting  a passport renewed click here.