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Where To Get a U.S. Passport

A United States passport book held in front of a houseplantpassport book.

Navigating the process of obtaining a U.S. passport can be complex, particularly when it comes to understanding where to go for different passport services. This guide aims to simplify this process by providing a comprehensive overview of where to apply for a U.S. passport based on your specific needs.

The answer will depend on whether you're applying for the first time, renewing your passport, or in need of expedited service. This guide will help you understand the process and locations for each service.

Apply from Home: Can You Mail Your Application?

Yes, but only for adult passport renewals that do not require your application to be submitted in person. You'll want to check the eligibility criteria to make sure that you qualify for passport renewal by mail.

Mail-in passport renewal can be used for both standard routine and traditional expedited processing services, the only differences are the processing timelines and the renewal fees.

If you qualify and can afford to wait 6 to 8 weeks for routine processing or 2 to 3 weeks for expedited processing, then follow these steps for the mail-in passport renewal application process:

  1. Complete Form DS-82: Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail.
  2. Print and sign the passport renewal form.
  3. Have a new passport photo taken.
  4. Calculate the passport renewal fee.
  5. Place signed Form DS-82, most recent passport photo, previously-issued passport, and fee in an envelope.
  6. Include a legal name change document, if applicable.
  7. Mail the envelope to the appropriate address on the application form.
    • Standard Service (If you live in CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX:

      National Passport Processing Center

      Post Office Box 640155

      Irving, TX 75064-0155

    • Standard Service (If you live in any other state or Canada):

      National Passport Processing Center

      Post Office Box 90155

      Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

    • Expedited Service:

      National Passport Processing Center

      Post Office Box 90955

      Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

For more information on passport renewal by mail, check out our Ultimate U.S. Passport Renewal Guide for forms, fees, photos, & steps.

If you need to renew your passport even faster than 2 to 3 weeks, visit our guide to expediting passport renewals.

When to Visit a Passport Acceptance Facility

A sign in a United States Post Office window indicating it is a passport application facility.

A Passport Acceptance Facility is a location that is authorized to accept passport applications on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. These facilities can be utilized for any passport service that require you to submit your application in person.

The most common reasons to visit a passport acceptance facility are if you are:

Each of these circumstances require you to present your application and supporting materials in person and sign in front of a passport acceptance agent.

No one can do this on your behalf. However, you can still get help from a passport expediting service for any of these circumstances once you have had your application witnessed at an acceptance facility.

How to Find a Passport Acceptance Facility

We recommend you use our helpful guide to find the passport facility nearest you. There are passport application acceptance facilities located in each of the 50 states and the federal district of the United States of America.

These facilities include:

  • Post offices
  • County clerks' offices
  • Public libraries
  • Many state, county, township, and municipal government offices

Currently, there are over 8 thousand facilities in the US where citizens can get a new passport.

Be aware: Most locations require applicants to schedule an appointment. There are, of course, exceptions that allow walk-ins, but you should contact the facility to confirm before you count on this type of service.

To find the Regional Passport Agency nearest you, check out this list of U.S. Passport Office Locations by State, and choose your location. From there, you will have access to a list of the closest passport agencies, their addresses, and phone numbers.

It's important to note that the availability of services and operating hours can vary between facilities, so it's recommended to always check with the specific facility for details.

What to Bring to your Passport Office Appointment

When applying for a passport at a Regional Passport Agency, you must bring:

Current Passport Office Processing TImes Explained

Keep in mind that processing times can vary by facility. However, if you opt for expedited passport processing, you can expect to reduce the processing time by several weeks.

Routine processing currently takes 6 to 8 weeks.

Expedited processing currently takes 2 to 3 weeks.

Need a passport faster? We recommend using a registered passport expediting service. These travel document experts can get your passport in as few as 24 hours and without you having to travel to a Regional Passport Agency on your own.

When to Visit a Regional Passport Agency

A line in front of the Arkansas Passport Center regional agency location in Arkansas.

A Regional Passport Agency is a facility run by the U.S. Department of State that offers a wide range of passport services. These locations differ from the previously mentioned passport acceptance facilities in that regional passport agencies handle both standard and expedited passport applications that they receive from passport acceptance facilities and via mail.

There are currently 27 regional passport agencies located in several major U.S. cities; however, a US citizen can visit any Regional Passport Agency-regional passport agencies are non-jurisdictional.

Passport application appointments at regional passport agencies are available to US citizens who have immediate international travel needs and require a passport in 2 weeks or less.

To visit a Regional Passport Agency, you must follow these steps:

  1. Schedule an appointment online or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
  2. Complete your passport application form
  3. Gather your supporting documents
  4. Arrive on time-no more than 15 minutes early-with either your social security card or your appointment confirmation number.
  5. Wait. Having your passport processed at a Regional Passport Agency can take minutes or hours, depending on the agency and the current volume of applications.

If you need your passport in 2 weeks or less and you do not have the time to visit a Regional Passport Agency, you can hire a professional passport expediting service to visit and wait on your behalf. A passport courier service can get your passport in as little as 24 hours without you having to travel to a Regional Passport Agency.

For more information, read our complete guide to what you need to know about applying for a passport at a regional agency.

Where to Get a Passport While Abroad

You now know your options for where you can obtain a U.S. passport while in the United States, but where can you go if you need to get a US passport while overseas?

American citizens residing or traveling abroad can access the same passport services as they would in the U.S. This includes full-validity and emergency with limited validity passports.

It is important to know that every U.S. embassy and consulate follows different procedures for applying, submitting, and processing U.S. passports.

Most countries require that you apply in person, although there are a few exceptions that will allow American citizens to access some passport services by mail. You must check with the nearest U.S. embassy and consulate for details.

Full-Validity Passport Service Abroad

To apply for a full-validity U.S. passport while abroad, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the application form
  2. Gather your supporting documents
  3. Determine if there are special circumstances
  4. Calculate the processing fees
  5. Bring or mail (if possible) your application, supporting documents, and fees to the nearest US embassy or consulate.

The consulate will accept your application, documents, and fees, and enter your application into the electronic American Citizen Services (ACS) system. They will also check your name against the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) to ensure you're eligible for a U.S. passport. The consulate will then authorize the passport and forward your application to a domestic passport center.

Once your application has been processed and your passport printed in the U.S., it will be sent to the U.S. consulate via express courier. If your visiting country's postal or delivery system is approved, your passport may be mailed to you. Otherwise, you'll need to pick it up in person.

The processing time is currently 6 to 8 weeks without the need for an expedited service fee. If you need a passport faster, we recomment contacting a registered passport expediting service.

Emergency Passport with Limited Validity Service Abroad

If you have an urgent need that requires an emergency passport overseas, U.S. Consular offices can process and print emergency passports with limited validity for urgent travel.

The processing fee for an emergency passport with limited validity is the same as that for a full-validity passport. It's recommended that travelers with an emergency passport apply for a replacement of the limited-validity passport once they return to the U.S. There's no charge if the application is submitted before the emergency passport expires.

Emergency passports with limited validity:

  • do not have an embedded electronic chip with identifying information
  • are valid for immediate return to up to 1 year of issuance, depending on circumstances

Once your emergency travel concludes, it is highly recommended that you submit the limited-validity passport with your application for a new full-validity passport. You may need to submit additional documents along with the standard requirements for your specific renewal. To find out the exact requirements, refer to the endorsement on the last page of the emergency passport.

Note: If your passport is lost or stolen while overseas, be sure to report the incident to the local police before applying for an emergency passport with limited validity. Bring a copy of the police report to the US embassy or consulate.

Understanding Your Passport Needs

The location for obtaining your U.S. passport will vary depending on the type of passport services you require. There are 3 common types of passport processing services:

  1. Standard Routine Processing: This is the most common method for obtaining a passport. Applications are typically submitted at a Passport Acceptance Facility, such as a post office or county clerk's office. The processing time for routine service can take up to 6 to 8 weeks.
  2. Traditional Expedited Processing: If you need your passport sooner, you can opt for expedited processing. This service is available for an additional fee and can reduce the processing time to 2 to 3 weeks. Applications for expedited service can be submitted at the same Passport Acceptance Facilities as routine applications.
  3. Rushed Expedited Processing: For urgent travel needs, you can use a Regional Passport Agency or a professional expediting service for rushed expedited processing. This service can further reduce the processing time, often to within a few days or even the same day.

The type of passport service you require and how quickly you need your passport is what determines where you need to go to apply for your U.S. passport.

What type of passport service do you need?

For starters, you need to know whether your passport application must be submitted in person or if it can be submitted by mail.

If your passport service needs include one of the following, then you are required to submit your passport application in person:

You must submit a DS-11 passport application form in person at an authorized Passport Application Acceptance Facility or Regional Passport Agency.

If, however, you need a passport renewal, you can choose to apply for either a standard routine or traditional expedited service by mail.

Passport fees and processing times will vary depending on your circumstances.

How soon do you need your passport?

A line of applicants waiting at the Miami Regional Passport Agency.

Next, you need to consider your travel timeline to determine if you need standard routine, traditional expedited, or rushed expedited passport service.

Standard Routine Passport Processing

If you're not in a hurry, consider applying for your passport through standard processing. You can get your new passport using standard routine processing in just 3 steps:

  1. Complete application form DS-11
  2. Gather your supporting documents:
    1. Evidence of U.S. citizenship
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Photocopy of identification document
    4. (1) Current passport photo
  3. Visit a passport application acceptance facility with your completed application, supporting documents, and application fee.

Standard processing currently takes between 6 to 8 weeks. Check the current processing times for the most up-to-date information. We recommend that if you are planning to leave the country, routine passport processing should only be relied upon with a minimum of 2 months lead time-preferably more-to avoid potential delays.

For more information on standard processing and routine processing fees, see our guide for The Routine Application Process.

Traditional Expedited Passport Processing

However, if you need your passport sooner, you'll need to apply through traditional expedited processing to receive your valid passport in time for your travels. The steps for a traditional expedited passport are the same as standard processing only with an added fee for the expedited service:

  1. Complete application form DS-11
  2. Gather your supporting documents:
    1. Evidence of U.S. citizenship
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Photocopy of identification document
    4. (1) Current passport photo
  3. Visit a passport application acceptance facility with your completed application, supporting documents, and application fee.

Expedited service currently takes between 6 to 8 weeks. Check the current processing times for the most recent changes. We recommend traditional expedited service if you have between 6 to 8 weeks of lead time before your trip to avoid potential delays.

For more information on traditional expedited processing and expedited fees, read our steps on using traditional expedited passport service.

Rushed Expedited Passport Processing

If you're in a rush, have an urgent need to travel in 14 days or less, or need a passport in an emergency, then rushed expedited processing is your best option. For rushed expedited processing, you'll follow the same steps as standard routine and traditional expedited processing:

  1. Complete application form DS-11
  2. Gather your supporting documents:
  3. Visit a passport application acceptance facility with your completed application, supporting documents, and application fee. You will sign your application at the facility in front of an acceptance agent.
  4. Bring all your documents and signed, witnessed application to a Regional Passport Agency

    Note: you'll need to either make an appointment) or enlist the services of a reputable and reliable passport expediting service for this step.

Rushed expedited passport processing can take up to 14 days; however, a reputable passport courier service can get your passport to you in as little as 24-48 hours.

See our complete list of highly recommended trusted passport expediting services to select a reputable passport courier.

You're Ready to Go

Obtaining a U.S. passport involves understanding the different services available and choosing the one that best suits your needs. That is what determines where you need to go to apply for your passport-whether home or abroad.


  • Standard Routine Processing typically takes place at Passport Acceptance Facilities, such as post offices or county clerk's offices.

    Renewal applications are submitting via mail.

    In both cases, you will receive your passport and supporting documents back by mail in 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Expedited Processing for passports in 2 to 3 weeks can be accessed at the same locations as routine processing.
  • Rushed Expedited Processing faster than 2 to 3 weeks can only happen at a Regional Passport Agency.
  • For those abroad, U.S. Embassies and Consulates offer similar services to get you an emergency passport so you can resume your travels quickly.

In any situation where you need a passport, you can hire a registered passport courier service to apply for your US passport on your behalf to provide helpful support throughout the application process and to ensure you get a passport as fast as you need it.

Understanding these options will help you navigate the passport application process more effectively, ensuring you get the right service at the right location.

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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