The Atlanta Passport Agency finally makes it easier for would-be travelers in the Southeast U.S.A. to get your own passports quicker, cheaper, and with much less hassle.
So long as you follow the rules!
Long shunned by the powers that be in U.S. diplomatic circles, one of the fastest growing cities in the country [not to mention home to the world's busiest airport] can now claim your own regional passport office in downtown Atlanta.
When opened, the Atlanta Passport Agency was anticipated to issue a minimum of 50,000 book passport documents annually during the early years of operation.
With the recent uptick in the number of American passports being issued, the Atlanta passport office opened none too soon.
Easily accessible by road or air, residents in the Southeast can make a day trip to Atlanta for expedited passport service for either a first time passport or a rush passport renewal - and be home in time for dinner.
As the corporate home [and primary hub] for Delta Airlines, flights in and out of Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport can put you in the city from almost anywhere in the country, any time of day that fits your schedule.
And with airline discounter Southwest Airlines also hubbing in Atlanta, it won’t cost an arm and a leg to get here.
Like other regional passport agencies, the Atlanta Passport Agency processes standard book passport applications that have been submitted to acceptance facilities in nearby states.
[At last check, passport cards are not being issued at this location.]
Passport acceptance facilities are U.S. post offices, some court systems, and other locations designated by the U.S. State Department to 'accept' passport applica-tions and swear in applicants.
There are now numerous official acceptance facilities in and around the Atlanta area. A quick check online for 'Atlanta passports' will lead you to the one nearest your home or work.
If you're planning travel outside the U.S. and need a new or renewal passport [and you have planned accordingly time-wise], you're expected to use regular channels for getting your passport via a passport acceptance facility or renewing by mail.
However, for travelers who find themselves short on time or dealing with a travel emergency, you can come in person to the Atlanta passport office, and with the proper forms and documenta-tion, you can have your passport issued as soon as the same day.
This is called an expedited passport and requires an extra fee [currently $60.00] over and above standard passport processing costs.
Expedited passport requirements are the same for all regional passport agencies, including Atlanta. Time qualifiers for allowing you to expedite your passport are fairly basic:
To secure either a new or renewal passport within these time limits, you must first make an appointment to come to the Atlanta Passport Agency in person.
[This step is mandatory. You won't be accepted for processing, if you just show up.]
For a first-time passport, you must present all required documentation, which includes your completed passport application form, your proof of identity, proof of your U.S. citizenship, any necessary court documents, a properly-sized photo, and the correct fees.
Check with the Atlanta Passport Agency by phone or online to learn which forms of payment they accept. Most passport agencies now accept credit or debit cards, [but not ATM cards] as well as cash and/or personal check. [They have your ID!]
If using cash, bring the correct amount, as agencies seldom have change. Some agencies may accept money orders for the correct amount.
You must also bring a hard copy of your travel itinerary as proof of impending or immediate travel. The use of an electronic device to present your itinerary is not acceptable.
You can also visit the Atlanta Passport Agency to expedite your passport renewal.
Again, all forms, fees, and accompanying documents must be submitted with your application, and you must meet the same time-travel requirements as when obtaining a first-time passport. [See above.]
The Atlanta Passport Agency is open for 'walk-in' customers with scheduled appointments during specific hours only. Posted times as of this writing are 8:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. Always verify current 'walk in' times when you make your appointment.
You can do this by calling 1-877-487-2778, 24 hours a day, except on Federal Holidays.
You'll be given a confirmation number for your appointment, which you must bring with you. There's no charge for an appointment.
The Atlanta Passport Agency is located in downtown Atlanta:
230 Peachtree St NW, Suite 1000
Atlanta, GA 30303
The office itself is located on the 10th floor, with standard government security measures applicable for entrance.
For information on the correct documents, requirements, and fees to complete a successful passport application, you can review the information online here.
Or check our easy to read, updated article for complete information on applying for a passport.
Whether you choose to expedite your passport yourself using a regional passport agency such as Atlanta, or to use a non-affiliated expediting service to help you get a rush passport, depends on 3 things:
Using a passport expediting service can cost you hundreds of dollars per docu-ment to get your passport quickly. And you're still responsible for supplying all the supporting documents, photos, and fees.
There may be a time when you have no choice.
When you fall into the rabbit-hole period of time and need a passport so you can travel within weeks. But
In other words, if you plan to travel overseas within 3 to 6 weeks and need a new or renewal passport, you should probably find a professional and reputable private service to help you expedite your passport, to make sure you get it in time.
But...if you meet the travel time requirements of only 2-4 weeks and need a passport fast, you can expedite it yourself via the Atlanta Passport Agency - or any regional passport agency - and save a bundle.
Compare the total processing and expedited costs for the time you have before travel, your document preparation costs, and any travel costs to get your passport at a U.S. passport agency.
Then check costs for using a passport expediting service.
You'll quickly be able to decide which is the more cost effective method for your approaching travel time.
Remember, all documents, applications, forms, photos, fees, and other require-ments are always your responsibility, regardless of which way you choose to process your passport or renewal application.
Your decision should be based on your particular need and available time, but the proximity of the Atlanta Passport Agency - or other regional agency - makes it possible for you to expedite on your own and save substantial funds to use on your trip.
Me? I’d rather save my money for an extra day or two in Europe!
Please see our other articles with current, updated information on passport application procedures: