Time Crunch! How Can I Rush My Passport?

There’s no feeling quite like the excitement of booking an overseas flight for your next vacation. Whether you’re heading back to one of your favorite places or going somewhere completely new, the thrill of traveling never fades.

But sometimes, vacation planning turns into a bit of a headache. This is especially true if you realize you need a new passport at the last minute.

Passports aren’t exactly something you can go to the mall and pick up before you start packing. They’re a must-have travel item that you need to secure long before your trip arrives. If you’re crunched for time and you’re asking yourself, “is it too late to rush my passport?”, don’t worry.

Here’s what you need to do to get your passport ASAP.

If you’re not sure what these are, take a look below for the top 3 ways people get a replacement/renewed passport. Note, they each vary in processing time and financial cost.

If you’re not sure what these are, take a look below for the top 3 ways people get a replacement/renewed passport. Note, they each vary in processing time and financial cost.

1. Figure Out a Plan of Action

Before you get all frazzled, stop and think. Count the number of days you have from now until your day of travel and assess all the rush passport options available to you.

If you’re not sure what these are, take a look below for the top 3 ways people get a replacement/renewed passport. Note, they each vary in processing time and financial cost.

Apply Online

Applying for your passport online is one of the fastest ways to get your side of the process done. But, it has no guarantee for how long it will take to actually get your passport in-hand.

Traditional passport processing time takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks, and it’s rare for people to get theirs much faster. If you only have two weeks or even less time until you fly off, this may not be the best option for you.

Traditional passport processing time takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks, and it’s rare for people to get theirs much faster. If you only have two weeks or even less time until you fly off, this may not be the best option for you.

Go Through an Official Government Office

Your next option is to make an appointment with an official government office.

Your appointment may be with your local passport agency center, or, you can make one with an acceptance facility. These are two unique emergency passport processes, each requiring different paperwork.

A passport agency center will ask for a standard passport application and proof of international travel. Renewing through an acceptance facility, on the other hand, means you need to use Form DS-11. This is in addition to your application.

The passport application process comes with a fee, and there’s an additional rate you’ll have to pay if you renew with an acceptance facility. However, this tends to be the faster way of doing things.

Pay for a Third-Party Courier Service

What if you’re slammed with work until your vacation begins and have no time to set appointments, let alone show up to them? Invest in a passport courier service.

These are not available through the U.S. Government. A passport courier service ensures your application ships in a short amount of time. It gets the standard mail application (issued by the government) to the right office fast, often within 24 hours.

From there, though, the fate of your passport application is in the hands of the officials. A courier service can’t guarantee you get your passport super fast, but they do everything in their power to speed the process along. Be sure you write “expedite” somewhere on the envelope you send. This lets passport officials know you need your application processed quickly.

2. Get All Your Information Together, Stat

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, it’s time to take action. Gather all the information you need for your passport application. The application asks for the following documents:

proof of U.S. citizenship
proof of identity
two current photographs (these are your passport photos)
your social security number
payment for the application

People born in the U.S. show their birth certificate as proof of citizenship. Those who have immigrated to the country must show their citizenship documentation.

Keep in mind that if this is a life or death situation, you still need a full application in addition to proof of the emergency at hand. The good news is, though, such last-minute passport situations are usually resolved within 3 days or less

Keep in mind that if this is a life or death situation, you still need a full application in addition to proof of the emergency at hand. The good news is, though, such last-minute passport situations are usually resolved within 3 days or less

3. Check Your Passport Status

Ship your application out the second you have all of your information together. Make sure you get a tracking number when you do.

This allows you to check the progress of your application from the moment it leaves the post office to the time it ships back out to you. You can also check the status of the application itself through U.S. government services. This allows you to see when the application has gone from in-progress to approved, which means your new passport is being created and about to ship out.

4. Drive to the Nearest Regional Passport Office

If you absolutely can’t afford to risk whether your application will get a new passport to you in time, hop in the car. Take all of your application documents and information and drive to your nearest regional passport office.

Keep in mind that this may mean you’re going on a 1-hour drive or a 5-hour drive – or maybe even more! Not all states have an office and those that do don’t have a bunch of them sitting around. If you do happen to be close to one, though, this is your best bet.

You can show up as a walk in and process your application on the same day. This doesn’t mean you’ll leave with your passport in-hand, but there’s a good chance you will. If you don’t, you’ll at least have the application part of the process complete and the peace of mind that your passport will be shipped soon.

Go From “I Need to Rush My Passport” to “Here’s My Passport!”

Just as it’s quite a panic to realize, “oh, I need to rush my passport!”, it’s an incredible relief when your passport finally arrives. Maybe all it takes is a few hours at the regional passport office to get your new passport or maybe you have to wait a few days.

Either way, this is much better than the 6-8 week waiting period, which is often too long for people who are in a jam. Don’t wait another second to get your passport renewed, whether you have an upcoming trip or not!

You never know when you might need it.

For more passport insights, click here.

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