There are several ways to get a rush passport, better known as having your passport expedited [processed more quickly].
With as little as a few weeks before traveling, you can get an expedited pass-port in as quickly as three weeks by submitting your application through normal passport processing channels.
You do this by submitting your application [along with the correct supporting documents, photo, and fees] to a passport acceptance facility and paying an expedite fee [currently $60.00] along with the normal processing fee.
It’s an easy process, and you can track your application on the web, so you know where it is and how quickly it's moving through the system.
Or, if you need a rush passport for travel sooner than a few weeks, you can go in person to one of the regional passport agency locations around the U.S. and get your passport in as little as a single day.
This is done by scheduling an appointment to appear in person with your appli-cation, whether for a first time passport or a rush passport renewal.
Again, you pay the normal processing fees, plus an expedited passport fee.
If your time before traveling is extremely short [days], you can choose to use a private passport expediting service to expedite your passport.
This usuaslly costs a great deal more than doing it yourself, and you're still responsible for getting all of your required documents.
But if you must travel quickly and don't feel competent to handle the application process on your own or don't have the time, a passport expediting service can assist you in getting your passport in as little as 24 hours.
Note: Companies who provide expedited passport service are not affiliated with, nor an extension of, the U.S. State Department or other governmental agency. They are private companies, who move your paperwork around.
These companies do not issue passports. They are authorized to act as 'couriers' who ship and carry your passport documents between their storefront locations and the regional passport agencies that process all U.S. passport applications.
Your decision for how to process a rush passport application should depend on your particular travel circumstance and the amount of money you wish to spend to get your passport quickly.
The U.S. Department of State advises it can issue an expedited passport in as little as 3 weeks, door to door.
This includes shipping from the Post Office [or whichever passport acceptance facility you use], arriving at the designated regional passport agency, review and processing of your application and documents, plus return shipping and receipt of your new passport at your home address.
This service is available when applying for a passport for the first time; renewing your passport; or amending your passport [name change, adding pages, etc].
If you have as little as 3 weeks before you travel [with hopefully a little more for cushion], you can have your passport in time for your departure.
To process a rush passport, all instructions for a first time passport application or for renewing your passport must be followed.
But before you do anything, check current processing times, to make sure there is no backlog, and you have the time you need before your travel date.
Once you verify the State Department is processing applications normally, and you have your passport application and supporting documents ready to go, follow these steps:
Don’t overdue it, but make sure anyone handling the envelope can clearly see it's a rush passport. [Use only the word 'Expedite' clearly and plainly.]
You can check the status of your passport application online. The Department of State suggests you wait 5-7 days from the time you mail your application for it to be entered into the system.
But try checking your application status sooner, as rush passport applications often appear in the system more quickly.
If you simply must travel within 2 weeks [or if you also need a visa for travel within 4 weeks], you can make an ap-pointment to appear in person at a regional passport agency to apply for a rush passport.
You need to schedule your advance appointment to sub-mit your application during the times the regional pass-port agency is available for one-on-one appointments.
You must bring proof of your travel plans, such as an air-line ticket or hard copy of an itinerary [not on an electronic device].
Or you must be able to sub-stantiate the emergency that requires you to travel with a rush passport due to what-ever emergency you have [ill-ness of a loved one, a death, etc].
To make an appointment, contact the National Passport Information Center [NPIC] by phone for emergency passport situations.
You can speak with a live representative from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday eastern time at 1-877-487-2778, or receive automated infor-mation 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
Getting a rush passport is easily doable when time is short. You must follow the guidelines and procedures precisely, and you should track your application during both shipping and processing.
You can then tick this item off your 'to do' list.
Your expedited passport will arrive quickly and seamlessly, in time for you to travel.
Please see our other articles with current, updated information on passport application procedures: