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How to Get a Passport Fast

Two of the most common questions regarding passports people have are how much does a passport cost and how long will it take to get here? As you make plans to acquire a passport, you’ll need to remember one thing: The government moves slowly. Whether you’ve got a last-minute itch to travel or an emergency overseas, getting a passport quickly can be a challenge. 

There is some good news. The Department of State offers a number of options for a fast way to get a passport. Typically processed in 10 to 12 weeks, customers can opt for expedited service. And like most services—this can tack on an extra cost.   

This article will cover the various expedited passport service options, based on how quickly you need your passport. This overview will present:

  • The Expedited Service Fee
  • How to Get an Expedited Passport in Four to Six Weeks
  • How to Get an Expedited Passport in Three Business Days
  • How to Get a Passport Right Away

How to Expedite Passport Services: The Expedited Service Fee

The Department of State charges a flat $60 passport fee to speed up processing times. This “expedite fee” is paid in addition to any passport application fees. 

How to Get a Passport in Four to Six Weeks

Expedited service is an excellent option for anyone with international travel scheduled in the next four to ten weeks. 

Let’s go over the process of expediting your passport. 

  • Expedite From a Facility or Agency – Before ordering your passport through a facility or passport service, consider this rundown of items required to make the transaction:
  • Application form (DS-11), completely filled
  • An “execution fee” to be paid directly to the facility helping prepare your application
  • Check or money order for application total in fees. This total, which is paid directly to the U.S. Department of State, includes: Application Fee (varied costs, Expedite Fee ($60), and optional 1-2 Day Return Delivery Fee ($17.13).
  • Two recent color passport photos
  • The word “EXPEDITE” written visibly on the outside of the envelope
  • Expediting a Passport Renewal By Mail – Passport renewal by mail is easy, but carelessness in preparing your materials could possibly backfire if operating on a tight timeline. Be sure to include the items on this checklist to successfully renew by mail:
  • Application form (DS-82), completely filled
  • Your expiring passport (yes, you have to mail this as well)
  • A certified marriage certificate copy, if this changed your name
  • Check or money order for your total in fees. This total includes: Application Fee (varied costs), Expedite Fee ($60), and optional 1-2 Day Return Delivery Fee ($17.13).
  • One recent color photograph for use as your passport photo
  • The word “EXPEDITE” written on the outside of the envelope

Tips: 

  • The expedite fee only covers passport processing times, and the added charge of $17.13 takes care of your shiny new passport’s return delivery. To shave more time off the process, consider using a professional service provider.  
  • Learning how to take a passport photo at home can save you money and avoid more wait times during this process.

Get a Passport in Three Days

The average regional passport agency offers a very limited number of appointment slots for travelers dealing with last-minute issues. For instance, some countries require a passport that is valid at least six months after the dates of your trip—should this put you in a bind, you may be able to request a special appointment. That said, there is no guarantee with this option. 

If attempting to obtain a 72-hour turnaround on a passport, be prepared with the following

  • Printed proof of upcoming travel within the next 72 hours, such as plane tickets or cruise reservations.
  • $60 expedite fee, in addition to all other passport application fees.

Tip: These in-person, last-minute appointments must take place within 72 hours of the travel date but are able to be reserved up to two weeks in advance. 

Get a Passport Right Away

Emergencies happen, and the State Department will attempt to issue an emergency passport when possible. This “life-or-death emergency service” is available to anyone with proof of an event requiring immediate travel. 

If granted, you could receive an emergency passport in as little as 24 hours. 

Those experiencing urgent situations are prioritized in the limited open slots available at passport agencies. If you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, consult this breakdown and show up prepared with: 

  • Printed proof of upcoming travel within 72 hours (plane tickets, cruise reservations, etc.)
  • Printed proof of your life-or-death situation (death certificate, letter from hospital, etc.) 
  • $60 expedite fee, in addition to all other application fees.

Tip: Ensure that your proof of life-or-death emergency is in English, or have it translated to English. Otherwise, it may not be valid.

Time to Quickly Get Your Passport

Even without an imminent need, the expedited fee is a relatively small price to ensure your passport is prioritized and processed as quickly as possible. A passport in your hand opens you to a world of opportunities and last minute flights. Paris, anyone?

With the ever-changing government forms and application fees, the process of acquiring this valuable document is no simple feat. 

Visit GOV+’s website for help with all your passport needs today!

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of State. Passport Feeshttps://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/fees.html
  2. U.S. Department of State. FAQs. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/passport-help/faqs.html
  3. Your Mileage May Vary. You Can Again Get a Passport in 72 Hours. https://yourmileagemayvary.net/2020/10/14/you-can-again-get-a-u-s-passport-in-72-hours/

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