How To Get Your Passport On Time

• Apply early
• Pay extra for expedited State Department Service ($60)
• Leaving within 2 weeks? Call 877-487-2778 and schedule an appointment at one of the 15 regional passport offices. Bring your tickets and/or itinerary.
• Enlist your constituent liaison. Call the district office, the number that doesn’t start with 202. You can find your Member of Congress here.
• Hire an expediter ($80-200).

Note, until September 30, you can visit Mexico, Canada and Caribbean without a passport if you have a government-issued ID and a receipt from the State Department showing that you applied for a new passport. — BEN POPKEN

The Long Wait for a Passport [Kiplinger’s]
(Photo: Tengaport)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Raanne says:

    keep in mind if you did apply, and are planning on using the receipt and a government ID, you may still need your birth certificate or other items, depending on the destination country’s requirements.

  2. letoofdune says:

    This seems a good a place to ask this question as any, so here we go.

    I screwed up and lost my passport when moving out of college – it was in one place in my dorm room, and when I left, it clearly wasn’t there. On the application for the passport, it asks for a passport number – I, stupidly, do not have that written down anywhere.

    How would a strapping young lad like me go about getting around that little issue? Or am I destined to wander stateless for the rest of my life?

  3. Goldenthorn says:

    @letoofdune: you cannot apply for a new one with a regular application, as you need to report your old one as lost, first: []

    The expedited passport procedure is wonderful, in my experience. A few years ago I noticed that my passport was going to expire in two months. Even though I wasn’t leaving the country for three months, I didn’t want to take the chance of delays or postponements. I had my travel agent print me an itinerary stating that I was leaving the country in a week. I had my passport within 24 hours of going to the passport office. The only downside is that my expedited passport looks pretty fake, and I always get US passport control guys looking over me and my passport with suspicion (I guess all the arab and israeli stamps don’t help, either). Nonetheless, yay for expedition!!

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Leto, this might help (click): []

    I am going to be flying overseas to Scotland for two weeks in October, and my passport expires in November. Do I have to renew mine before I go?

  5. RandomHookup says:

    Even if you don’t have an immediate need for a passport, just go ahead and get the damn thing. That way, no dealing with expedited processing or begging a Congressman to help you visit your father dying in a Dutch hospital after a tragic stroopwaffle incident.

  6. acambras says:


    A stroopwaffle isn’t the same thing as a twatwaffle, is it?

  7. niccernicus says:


    If I remember correctly, they send your birth certificate in with the application. So as we speak, I am without mine until the passport comes back.

  8. larry_y says:

    Some countries have a requirement that your passport be valid for six months after the time of the trip.

    I wonder how long it will take to renew a passport.

  9. Type-E says:

    speedwell, larry_y is right, you passport has to have 6months of room or you might risk the custom not letting you into the country.

  10. withoutnations says:

    I applied for my passport in march. it took until memorial day for it to register as “currently being processed” in the online system. Still waiting for delivery. In retrospect, I should have just paid the extra $60.

    And yes, they do take your birth certificate. Would love to get that back soon as well.

  11. Gigadafud says:

    My wife and I went on a trip to Italy at the end of March this year and we were fortunate to get our passports like 8 days before we left. I was really starting to sweat that one being so close. Everyday I checked the mailbox and everyday I was starting to stress more.

  12. Gigadafud says:

    One other note, you might want to add that once you have applied you can still have them expiated afterwards for the extra 60 bucks. BUT you cannot hire a company to expiate them for you if you have already submitted your application. Once your application is in, it is in.

  13. MoCo says:

    Amazing that people who have enough money to travel internationally don’t have enough smarts to plan well ahead and order a passport at least six months in advance.

  14. Goldenthorn says:

    @MoCo: well, frankly, everyone should have / should get a passport if they even think of ever going abroad. But for most people, there’s this little thing called ‘life’ that gets in the way, complicating and postponing things, preventing people from behaving like the super-efficient, super-organized robots some seem to think they are / should be.

  15. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Amazing that people who have enough money to travel internationally don’t have enough smarts to plan well ahead and order a passport at least six months in advance.

    Are you possibly assuming I’m going to Scotland at the beginning of winter for pleasure? Are you nuts? Even if I could afford it? (Which I can’t, incidentally.) I’m being sent there by my employer to do actual work. I’ve never been there before. Wish me luck and hope my blood hasn’t got too thin from living on the Gulf coast.

  16. Yozzie says:

    @letoofdune: I once was positive I’d permanently lost mine, and when I called the embassy about it, they implied heavily that having a replacement passport issued before my renewal date would be some kind of black mark on my record, and attract all kinds of official attention.

    This was well pre-9/11, so I imagine they’ll subject you to an even larger degree of psychodrama about it. But get in touch with State, and keep the new one in a very safe, easily-remembered place.

  17. catita says:

    Gigadafud, do you have more information on expediting a passport application once it is in processing?

  18. Imhotep says:

    OH, and since the new ones (as of 2007) have an RFID chip imbedded in them, remember to disable it by smacking the chip with a hammer!

    Yes, it’ll still be valid, and they will still accept it. They’ll just be forced to read all of your information with their eyes, instead of a wirelss RFID scanner that could be used to “lift” your info, or track your movements.

    Welcome to the new world order.

  19. brendahamLincoln says:

    Around the end of March, beginning of April, my mom, stepdad, and I went to apply for our passports. I went along just to get mine, but my mom and her husband plan on going to Italy to visit his friends in September. It’s now June, and while we applied at the same time, their applications don’t show up in the system. When I look up mine, it says it’s processing, that’s fine, because I’m not going anywhere, but my mom is worried because she wants to buy her plane tickets pretty soon. Does anyone have any advice for a situation like this? Neither her application or my stepdad’s show up when we use the online search. Weeeird.

  20. Charles Duffy says:

    I just signed up for a passport yesterday, and they weren’t able to expedite since I didn’t have a specific departure date.

  21. QueenHawkeye says:

    I applied for my passport in April [because I’m leaving for China next month.] and got it expedited. The lady told us that it would take AT LEAST 6-8 weeks even if we expedited. I got it a week later.

  22. myherojay says:

    I waited last minute to get my passport this may- 4 weeks before my trip I tried applying at the post office and they said they couldn’t help me in time and that I’d have to go to the federal building in l.a..

    they will not take your call if you’re not leaving within 2 weeks.. and they’ll turn you away at the building unless you’re traveling within 2 days (EVEN if you made an appointment.) it made me SUPER nervous getting my passport the day before my trip to spain, but i got my passport in 7 hours (I made an “appointment” for 9am… there was really no point in that since there was no list for appointments when I got there, my passport was printed and ready by 3pm)

  23. Danj3ris says:

    A question hopefully a reader here can answer:

    Leaving for Puerto Rico on July 16th. As far as I know, I do not need a passport.

    However, do I need a receipt as proof that I have indeed ordered my passport? Because I havent. And I may need to.

  24. synergy says:

    They’ve gone and changed this too now. Yesterday I heard on the evening news that they’ve slacked on even that now. It’s going back to what it was again for now to only requiring a birth certificate, ID, etc.

  25. myeyesdeceive says:

    I applied for my passport 2 weeks ago Tuesday, and received the next Wednesday without any type of expedition. I think the crazyness is over.

  26. razz4901 says:

    I applied in May it took 7 days without any expedite fees, I did pay the extra $15 for overnight USPS shipping so I could track when it was sent…