Passport Agency FAQ
A US passport agency processes same day passports for American citizens who have scheduled trips to international destinations with departure dates within 14 days. The information below will provide you with answers to the most freuqently asked questions about expediting passports at regional agencies in the United States.
Where are passport agencies located?
US passport agencies are located in several major cities
within the United States. The Department of State has opened more agencies in the state of Vermont and in the cities of San Diego, California; Atlanta, Georgia and El Paso, Texas in recent years. The newest agencies open are located in Minneapolis, Tucson and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
What is the difference between a passport agency and a passport office?
A passport agency is a processing center that serves as an issuing agent of new passports, renewals, name changes, additional visa pages, corrections, etc. A passport office
, also known as a passport application acceptance facility, has agents that administer an oath and receive application form DS-11 for new passports. Passports are not issued at these offices.
How long does it take the US passport agency to process an application?
The State Department
claims that standard processing of passport applications is "normally" completed within 4 to 6 weeks. Requests for expedited service are processed and sent by regular US Mail "ordinarily" within 2 to 3 weeks. These are only estiimates and, depending on the demand at the time you apply, could be completed more quickly or more slowly.
Why does it take the US passport agency so long to process a passport?
There has been a dramatic increase in US passport processing
since the 90s. The total number of passports processed annually increased from a little over 6 million to more than 18 million between 1997 and 2007. The US passport agency had a difficult time keeping up with the demand. Only in the past few years has greater effort been made to attend the large number of applications that are submitted annually. Yet, there is still much that needs to be done.
What has the US passport agency done to compensate for the increase in passport applications submitted?
The US Passport Agency created the National Passport Information Center
. The NPIC is a call center that operates as an automated scheduling service for the regional agencies and has representatives that respond to inquiries. Instead of fielding calls, more time could be spent processing passports. This has helped a little but it is still very difficult to get through and appointments are frequently available only after the applicants scheduled departure date.
If you need your passport in a hurry and you prefer a guaranteed service, you can apply through a professional express passport expediting service
Bob Tedeschi applied at a US Passport Agency. This is what he had to say about the experience.
"I spent an entire day sitting in lines in a hot, cramped passport office in Stamford, Conn., since moved to South Norwalk. (Editor: The Connecticut agency has returned to Stamford.) The office, an hour's drive from my home, was one of the few in the Northeast that provided last-minute service for those who call at least a few days ahead for an appointment. The lines moved at a pace that made those at the Department of Motor Vehicles look fast. In retrospect, given the amount of work I missed and the aggravation, I would've paid $150 for an online service."
Bob Tedeschi, New York Times Travel Section
Click the link to apply online for expedited passport courier services
Where can I find a US Passport Agency accepting appointments?
If you need your passport urgently, generally
in less than 2 weeks, you can contact the nearest US Passport Agency that serves your state by choosing from the list below. You will find contact information as well as a map and directions.
List of Regional Passport Agencies
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