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The 5 Essential Questions You Need Answered If You Need a Passport Fast

Getting a passport quickly can raise a lot of questions about expedited passport applications, choosing a passport expediting service, and keeping your documents secure. Don't worry; the answers to all of your passport expediting questions are simpler than you think.

Preparing to travel abroad can be a stressful experience. International travel involves so much more than just getting from Point A to Point B. Successful journeys require long hours of research and planning.

Leaving the country for any period of time includes critical steps like choosing the perfect destination, checking travel warnings, catching up on vaccinations, securing transportation, finding a place to stay, and converting currency. There are still more headaches like packing and shopping for travel insurance. It can get overwhelming quickly!

But then, just when you think you have everything in order, you face every international traveler's worst nightmare: an invalid passport.

Some reasons a passport may be deemed invalid include:

  • the expiration date has passed
  • your passport is deemed too damaged to be acceptable
  • you don't have enough visa pages in your passport
  • the country you're traveling to requires six months' validity and your passport has fewer than that

Even worse, you might not have a passport at all.

Whatever the reason, if you do not have a valid passport, your trip - whether for business, pleasure, or an emergency - is not going to happen.

It is quite common for would-be travelers to make this discovery only a few weeks or, even, days before their departure date. Many unfortunate would-be travelers discover the problem only after arriving at the airport.

So you’re there. The trip is booked and paid for, but you don’t have the documentation to be able to leave and reenter the country. The big question now is…

How can you get a passport in a hurry?

There is good news. It can be done.

You can apply for expedited processing for a name change or a passport renewal by mail if you meet all the criteria.

Unfortunately, if you need a new passport, you must apply in person. In most cases, you can apply at your local post office or at your local clerk’s office. Some public libraries even accept applications.

The majority of these locations require an appointment. The problem is that telephones often go unanswered and, when someone does answer, the only slot available is weeks after you need it.

Even if you are able to secure an appointment slot, expedited processing can take up to 3 weeks when you apply at an acceptance facility or mail in your renewal application. If your trip is fast approaching, that’s precious time you simply don't have.

The fastest way to get a passport when you're crunched for time is to apply at a regional processing center.

There are 25 regional agencies across the United States that issue regular, tourist passports. Another is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A Special Issuance Agency in Washington, DC issues diplomatic, official, and no-fee passports. Agency locations include:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Aurora, CO
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Detroit, MI
  • El Paso, TX
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Hot Springs, AR
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Juan, PR
  • Seattle, WA
  • Stamford, CT
  • St. Albans, VT
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Washington, DC

First and foremost, know that these regional centers do not typically accept walk-ins (more on this later). You must call ahead to make an appointment through the National Passport Information Center.

That said, submitting your application at a regional processing center is your only chance of getting a passport in less than two weeks. You could potentially have your passport as soon as the next day, or even the same day. Worst-case scenario, the process is completed within 8 business days. It all depends upon your specific circumstances and how busy the particular regional passport agency is.

Of course, you can always submit your application on your own. To pull this off requires learning exactly what forms to fill out, what documents you need to provide, and what fees you need to pay. One mistake can delay the entire process.

  • What if you don't have the time to visit a regional passport agency?
  • What if you can't afford to take the time off from work?
  • What if you are too far away to make the trip yourself?

That's where a registered courier service can help. These dedicated companies are able to use their expertise and professional connections to get a passport as quickly as the government will allow. For all the convenience, this naturally raises a big concern:

Is it safe to have someone else handle my passport application for me?

It's smart to be careful. A passport is an important document - one that can make or break your entire trip! Not only that, there are personal identifying documents that you will have to entrust to a courier to have your application processed.

All things considered, the weight of this decision can be quite stressful. Trying to decide the fastest way to get your passport can result in a lot of confusion and frustration.

We understand. U.S. Passport Service Guide has helped thousands of American citizens through the expedited passport process and the associated decisions. They have reached out to us through our website comments sections and social media and we have made it our mission to reply with the clearest and most accurate guidance we can.

Over the years, these have been the 5 most common questions we are asked:

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry? (Answered above.)
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?

Read these guides in order or simply click the question you most need answered.

We're here to put our years of experience to work to answer these questions for you. Click on the links above for some of our best advice.

Are you just getting started with the passport process and don’t know where to begin? Click here to read on to learn more about passport expediters and how they are able to provide their services.

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