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5 Criteria for Choosing the Best Passport Expediting Service

You need to be careful when entrusting your passport application and identifying documents with a third party. While there are many companies out there that offer rush passport services, they are not all created equal.

U.S. Passport Service Guide has been reviewing passport expediting companies for more than a decade. We know what makes a reliable and reputable company and pride ourselves on sharing that information with you so that you can make the most informed decision as possible for your needs.

There are 5 key criteria to consider when choosing a passport expediting service:

The company’s history

When you absolutely must get your passport fast, experience matters. Any search for a reputable passport courier service should start with the company’s history. You should be looking for a company that has been around for more than a couple years. Age doesn’t automatically equal quality, but you can gain some assurances from the fact that a company has provided enough consistently positive results to stay in business long term.

We make it a point to feature the historical backgrounds of some of the best passport expediting companies our directory of passport expeditors.

If the company you’re looking to evaluate didn’t make our list, you can usually find the historical information you’re looking for with some quick detective work.

Business often promote their own histories on their company websites as a point of pride. That said, if a company is not conspicuously promoting their years of service, you could typically find the relevant information on sites like LinkedIn, the Better Business Bureau, or other online business directories like Manta.

Of course, if you cannot find any historical background for a passport expediting service, that’s a strong sign to shop somewhere else!

The company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating

Speaking of the BBB, it is always worth the time to do the quick search and find a passport expeditor’s rating before giving them your business.

The BBB rates businesses of all types according to several factors. Among these factors is the volume of customer complaints as well as how many of said issues go unanswered or unresolved. Advertising practices, transparency, honoring commitments, and positive consumer feedback are also considered. More information about how the BBB ranks business can be found on their website.

Anyone can search the BBB database for free and, in doing so, can access a lot of valuable information to help lead to more informed decision-making. That said, be sure you know what you are looking at.

BBB-FastportPassport

For one thing, be aware that it is almost impossible for a company to have zero complaints listed on their BBB profile. In fact, finding a company without any complaints should immediately raise a red flag. A lack of feedback, either positive or negative, is a telltale sign in the passport and visa expediting industry that a company is either extremely new or that it expedites a very small volume of applications.

Ultimately, a courier with a bare-bones BBB profile is likely to have less experience than you want – a surefire sign that you need to do a deeper dive into its history

In reality, passport expeditors that service a lot of customers are more prone to receive complaints. So while it is important to look at the volume of these complaints (fewer is obviously better), it is more important to assess the company’s response to them.

As far as the BBB is concerned, a good rating reflects the fact that the expeditor both quickly and consistently resolves the complaints it receives.

Before committing to a passport expediting service, take advantage of this free opportunity to gain insight into the company’s approach to customer service as well as the overall quality of the business itself.

The company’s registration status

One proactive step many passport expediting businesses take to establish legitimacy is registering with the U.S. Department of State. Be advised, this status does not make the expeditor a government entity, but it does indicate a level of service that the U.S. government is willing to accredit.

According to the U.S. Department of State, "Courier companies are private companies, some of which are registered at our passport agencies and are allowed to submit passport applications on behalf of customers."

It is worth noting that not all expeditors are registered, and registration does not guarantee a specific processing speed or level of service. However, if given the choice of a passport courier that is registered and one that is not, our recommendation is to opt for the one that is.

The company’s locations of operation

One of the challenges for passport expediting firms is that each company can only submit a limited number of applications each day per regional passport agency. Hence, expeditors with multiple locations nearby to multiple regional passport agencies have a better chance of getting your application expedited than those that only operate from a single location.

A company with multiple locations can provide additional benefits to consumers. If one agency is too busy on a particular day or if the company has exceeded its daily quota there, your application can be redirected to another agency for processing. This gives you a greater chance of getting your passport as quickly as you need it.

Customer reviews

Most passport expeditors can transport paperwork to regional agencies reliably. What makes a company stand out is excellent customer service. A great company maintains a commitment to providing the best possible customer experience throughout the entire application and delivery process. It starts with the first contact and continues until the passport arrives safely in your hands.

The Internet makes it easy for you to discover what customers are saying about any expediting service. There are plenty of options to choose from:

  • Crowd-sourced review forums like Yelp and Foursquare solicit reviews from real customers about a wide variety of businesses. These sites tend to have a negative slant (satisfied customers are often less likely to take the time to submit reviews than dissatisfied ones are). This doesn’t make them any less valuable; just know the negativity is usually amplified.
  • Popular travel blogs often share honest reviews of services they have used. Just be sure to check for any disclosures that an author may have been paid to do so. Most larger, reputable travel blogs are very respectful of their audiences and thus strive to be transparent about their endorsements.
  • Web forums like Reddit are becoming increasingly useful tools for crowdsourced information about virtually any topic. What makes Reddit intriguing is the way it surfaces content. Users vote posts and replies up or down and, in turn, this affects the position of the information on the webpage. While it isn’t perfect, most popular Reddit forums (called subreddits) have vigilant community leaders that aim to keep content on their forums relevant, accurate, and useful.

When using crowd-sourced information like the options above, remember that even legitimate companies can suffer a few bad reviews. However, you should look out for the ones that have an overwhelming number of negative reviews.

Reviews and company websites can provide a lot of information about a passport expediting service, but sometimes it is hard to nail down the exact answers to your specific concerns. In these cases, it is usually easier to target your own searches for the information you are having difficulty finding elsewhere. Try these search tips to help narrow your research efforts and answer lingering questions you might have about a particular expeditor:

  • Enter "company name" (in quotation marks) to do an exact-match search for the name.
  • For specific information, enter the company name PLUS whatever additional information you're looking for. Consider terms like "BBB" (for the BBB page), "reviews," or "founding date."
  • You can also search for specific information on an expeditor's website. To do that, search for "site:url" followed by the keyword.

Here is an example of a search query that would give you results for passport renewals on our website:

site:us-passport-service-guide.com passport renewal

No matter how you go about researching a passport expediting service, the most important thing is that you actually do it. There are many reputable, highly qualified services that can help you get a passport quickly, but it’s your job to find the one that works best for you.

We can help!

If time is short, and you don't have the time to do the research on your own, don't fear! U.S. Passport Service Guide has spent years doing this work for you. Visit our directory of expedited passport services to access important information about registered couriers.

While there are many great options. One we highly recommend is Fastport Passport. They are a registered passport expediting service that meets all of the requirements outlined above:

  • more than a decade of experience expediting passports
  • multiple offices and representatives including New York, Florida, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Texas
  • an "A+" rating with the BBB
  • hundreds of 5-star reviews on Yelp, Trust Pilot and other third-party review sites.

Consult our Expedited Passport FAQ for more information about passport expediting services, travel documentation, the passport application process, and a host of other specific travel-related issues where you may need some helpful advice.

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