The Atlanta Passport Agency now makes it easier for would-be travelers in the Southeastern U.S. to get or renew a passport quicker, cheaper, and with a lot 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 finally claim our own regional passport office in downtown Atlanta.
When it opened its doors a few years ago, the Atlanta Passport Agency was anticipated to issue a minimum of 50,000 book passport documents per year. And, with the uptick in Americans applying for passports, this long-time-coming agency opened none too soon.
Atlanta being so easily accessible by road or air for residents in southern U.S. states, it's now possible to make a day trip to the city for expedited passport service and still be home in time for dinner!
As the corporate home [and primary hub] for Delta Airlines, flights in and out of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson 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 out of Atlanta, it no longer costs you an arm and a leg to get here.
Like other regional passport agencies, the Atlanta Passport Agency processes standard book passport applications that are submitted to acceptance facilities in nearby states.
[At last check, passport cards are not being issued at this location.]
Passport acceptance facilities can be U.S. post offices, select court systems, or other locations designated by the U.S. Department of State to 'accept' passport applications and swear in applicants.
There are a multitude of official acceptance facilities in and around the Atlanta area for applicants applying for a passport with a reasonable time frame before traveling. A quick check online for 'Atlanta passports' will lead you to one near your home or work.
If you're planning to travel outside of the U.S. and need a new or renewal passport prior to travel, you're expected to use normal channels for getting a passport through either an acceptance facility or renewing by mail.
But for travelers who may find themselves short on time or dealing with some sort of travel emergency, you can come in person to the Atlanta passport office, and with proper forms and documentation, 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 the standard passport processing costs.
Expedited passport requirements are the same for all regional passport agencies, including Atlanta. Time qualifiers allowing you to expedite your passport in person 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 the 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 accept credit or debit cards [not ATM cards], as well as cash or a personal check.
If using cash, bring the correct amount, as agencies seldom have change. Some passport offices may accept money orders for the exact amount only.
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 request to visit the Atlanta Passport Agency to expedite renewal of your passport.
Again, all forms, fees, and accompanying documents must be submitted with your application, and you must meet the same travel time 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. You should verify the current 'walk in' times when you make your appointment.
You can do both 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.
There may be a time when you're traveling in just a matter of weeks, but not as quickly as the time that qualifies you for 'walk in' service at a regional passport office.
In this case, you'll need to decide whether to expedite your passport or renewal application yourself via a regional passport agency, such as the one in Atlanta, or spend the extra fees charged by a private expediting service, to assure your passport arrives in time.
Using a private passport expediting service can cost you hundreds of dollars per document to get or renew a passport quickly.
And you're still responsible for supplying all the supporting documents, photos, court and legal documents, as well as paying the standard processing and any expedite fees.
Whether you choose to get your passport using a regional passport agency such as the one in Atlanta, or a private passport expediting service, depends on three things:
You can easily expedite the issuance of your passport or renewal application by shipping it yourself via the U.S. Postal Service. This is the same process as used by private expediting companies, but for a lot less money.
To decide whether to expedite your passport yourself or use a private service, do some quick research.
Contact the Atlanta Passport Agency or the nearest regional passport agency to where you live, to determine if your time frame before travel is sufficient for you to expedite yourself.
Then contact a private expediting service to compare their costs for the same service.
Whichever method you use will depend on the amount of time you have before you travel.
In other words, if you plan to travel overseas within 3 to 6 weeks and need a new or renewal passport, you must expedite [speed up the application process] by either expediting yourself or using a reputable private service to expedite for you.
Instead of paying a private service often hundreds of dollars more, you can expedite your own passport using the standard application process, pay an extra expedite fee of $60 [plus overnight shipping], and receive your passport more quickly than the 'standard' time.
Remember, all documents, applications, forms, photos, fees, and other require-ments are always your cost and responsibility, regardless of which way you choose to process your passport or renewal application.
The proximity of the Atlanta Passport Agency, especially for those living in the southeastern U.S., now makes it possible to expedite your own passport easily and quickly.
I've renewed my own passport several times through a passport agency and the U.S. mail. On each of those times I've received my updated passport in less than 3 weeks - and saved considerable funds in the process!
You can do it, too.
And you'll save enough money for an extra day or two in Europe!
Please see our other articles with current, updated information on passport application procedures: