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How to Expedite a New Passport Application: A Complete Guide

When you need a passport faster than the standard processing time allows, expedited service is your answer. This guide is tailored for those with urgent travel needs, offering a faster alternative to the usual passport processing timeline. Our advice is based on over 20 years of helping our readers with their passport and travel document questions.

Whether it's for unexpected business trips, family emergencies, educational travel, or last-minute international commitments, we provide you with a straightforward, step-by-step walkthrough of the expedited passport application process. From determining your eligibility to submitting your application, this guide covers everything you need to know to expedite your new passport application efficiently.

Do You Need to Expedite Your Passport Application?

Routine processing currently takes 6 to 8 weeks.

Expedited processing currently takes 2 to 3 weeks.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.

Some of the most common reasons people consider expediting their passport application include:

  • Unexpected Travel Plans: Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes urgent business trips, family emergencies, or unexpected travel opportunities necessitate a quick departure.
  • Emergency Situations: In cases of health-related emergencies or other urgent personal matters, obtaining a passport promptly becomes crucial.
  • Other Urgent Scenarios: This includes students needing to travel for educational programs abroad or professionals with imminent international work commitments.

If any of these sound like your situation, read on for a step-by-step walkthrough of the required documents and procedures for expediting your application for a new passport.

Not in a rush but still need to get a new passport? Visit our guide with instructions for routine processing of new passport applications.

Step 1: Confirm You Can Expedite a New Passport Application with Form DS-11

Applying for a new passport requires completing form DS-11. This form and this guide is only intended for applicants seeking a new passport. It is not used for passport renewal applications.

The list below outlines the applicants that must apply for a new passport:

  • First-time passport applicants: Individuals who have never been issued a U.S. passport must follow the steps included in this guide.
  • Adults whose previous passport was issued when they were under 16 years old: If the applicant's most recent passport was issued when they were 15 years old or younger, they must apply for a new passport.
  • Minors under the age of 16 years old: A child's passport cannot be renewed. As such, the basic expediting strategies in this guide apply, but for more comprehensive instructions, consult our full guide How to Get a Passport for a Minor Age 15 or Younger.
  • Adults whose previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged: A previously-issued passport can only be renewed if it can be submitted with the renewal application; otherwise, the holder must apply for a new passport.
  • Anyone whose passport was issued more than 15 years ago: Even if it is expired, an adult passport that is less than 15 years old should be renewed; if older than that, apply for a new one.
  • Name Change Since Passport Issuance Without Legal Documentation: If the applicant has changed their name since their last passport was issued and does not have legal documentation to prove this change, they must apply for a new passport.

If any of these scenarios match your own, you are in the right place. Read on for information and links to Form DS-11 and the required documentation for getting a new passport.

Already have a passport that you need to renew? Visit our guide to renewing a passport fast. The process is similar to the steps discussed here, but there are several key differences you'll need to know.

Step 2: Gather Your Required Documentation for an Expedited New Passport

Navigating through the necessary paperwork for an expedited new passport application can be daunting. This section provides a comprehensive checklist of required documents and practical advice to ensure they meet the official criteria.

Essential Forms and Supporting Documents for an Expedited Passport

Application Form (DS-11):

  • Must be filled out but not signed until instructed by a passport acceptance agent
  • Available online for completion before printing, or at passport acceptance facilities
  • Note: Consult our DS-11 guide for more information about form DS-11 including downloadable copies of the form and step-by-step help for filling it out.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship:

  • Birth Certificate: A certified copy showing parental information, issued by the city, county, or state of birth.
  • Naturalization Certificate: For naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad: If born to U.S. parents abroad.
  • Note: Photocopies, notarized copies, or hospital birth certificates are not accepted. Check our complete list of acceptable documents that count towards proof of U.S. citizenship

Identification:

  • Primary ID: A valid driver's license, government employee ID, military ID, or previous undamaged U.S. passport.
  • Secondary ID: If primary ID is not available, bring secondary IDs like a college ID, library card, or work ID.
  • For Minors: Parents' identification is required as well.
  • Note: Be sure to check our complete list of acceptable proof of identification options if you are unsure which of your IDs to bring.

Passport Photos:

Passport applications require photos that meet very strict criteria. Failure to submit proper passport photos will lead to your application getting delayed or denied.

You will need:

  • Two recent, color photographs (2x2 inches).
  • No glasses, hats, or headgear (religious headgear allowed with documentation).
  • Plain white or off-white background, with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open.
  • Note: Visit our guide to passport photos for more comprehensive guidance, including where to get a passport photo near you.

Passport Fees:

Expediting a passport book or passport card application means paying an additional expediting fee.

  • Be sure to check our updated passport fee tables to know what you should expect to pay.
  • Payments will need to be made with check or money order for the exact amount.

Final Checks

Before submitting your application, proofread each document against this list to ensure everything is in order. Remember, the completeness and correctness of your application significantly impact the processing speed, especially when expedited service is requested.

Most reputable passport expediting services will help with this step. They are experts in the passport application process and well versed in both the common and uncommon mistakes applicants make that could delay getting a new passport urgently.

Step 3: Submit Your Documents and Expedite Your New Passport

Once you've completed the Application Form (DS-11), gathered the required documentation, and obtained proof of urgent travel plans, you're ready to proceed with the expedited passport application process.

Choose an Expedited Service Option

There are three paths for expediting your new passport application:

  • Government Expedited Service: Opt for this if you can accommodate the standard expedited processing time, currently around 2 to 3 weeks. You simply check a box on your DS-11 form and pay the expediting fee when you go to your passport agency appointment.
  • Urgent Government Expedited Service: Choose this option if you need a passport in 14 days or less. This method requires proof of urgent travel as well as an appointment at one of the 26 Regional Passport Agencies spread throughout the U.S.
  • Private Expediter Services: Ideal for those needing a faster turnaround. These services leverage their expertise and networks of offices for quicker, more convenient processing than you may be able to achieve on your own.

Submit Your Application

Each submission method has its procedures and advantages. Choosing between government expedited services and private expediters depends on how quickly you need the passport and the level of assistance you prefer during the application process.

Submitting on Your Own:

  • For expedited service in 2 to 3 weeks, schedule an appointment online and visit a designated passport acceptance facility, such as a post office, county clerk's office, or public library.
  • For more urgent passport processing (14 days or less), attempt to get an appointment at a regional passport agency.

    Be advised, depending on where you live and the current demand levels, visiting a regional agency with available appointments may mean you have to travel a significant distance to apply in person.

  • Submit your completed DS-11 form, required documents, and evidence of imminent travel, if applicable, in person. Do not to sign your DS-11 form until directed to do so at your appointment!

Using a Private Expediter:

  • Follow the submission instructions provided by the private expediting service. Visit our directory of top passport expediters to find a reputable passport courier service to use.
  • You will send your documents, including the DS-11 form and other required materials, directly to the expediting service. From there your application will be processed, tracked, and a new passport will be delivered back to you (along with all your supporting documents).
  • While passport expeditors charge additional fees for their services, the total cost is often much less than the cost of visiting a regional passport agency on your own.
  • You will need to appear in person at a local passport acceptance facility to verify your identity and sign your DS-11 form in front of a passport agent, but you will not need to visit a regional passport agency in person. The expediting service completes this step for you as well as retrieving your passport and supporting materials once your new passport has been issued.
  • The top passport expediters have offices located near multiple regional agencies. This means they can get your application to the office with the best availability, even if it is far from where you are.

    For a full breakdown of what passport expediting services are, how they work, and how to find a reputable one, visit our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry?
2. What exactly does a passport expediter do?
3. Are passport expediting services legitimate?
4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor?
5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

Get answers to these questions and more in our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting.

In a Hurry? Get Reliable Expedited Passport Courier Service:Expedite My U.S.Passport Now!
About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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