Imagine for a moment going over your packing list for your fabulous international vacation. The swimsuit and the sunglasses are packed, but then you remember your trusty blue passport. Digging it out, you glance at your picture and then you notice it’s expired! Now what? Read on for all the details for passport renewals and what to do when your expedited passport doesn’t arrive in time.
What to do When your Expedited Passport Doesn’t Arrive in Time
If it’s getting close to your departure date and you still don’t have your passport, don’t despair. Take a deep breath, then check online to see where your application is in the process.
If you expedited your passport application and mailed it through your local post office, then check the Online Passport Status System or call 1 877 487-2778 or 1 888 874-7793. Note: it takes 7 to 10 business days for your passport application to be trackable.
If you used a third-party service to expedite your passport for you, then contact the company for assistance first. If that’s unavailable, use the Online Passport Status System or call 1 877 487-2778 or 1 888 874-7793.
And remember to send all passport applications via USPS Priority Mail with a tracking number or use FedEx or UPS.
Types of Expedited U.S. Passport Service
In October 2018 I renewed my passport. First I filled out the DS-82 (U.S. Passport Renewal Application form) online and printed it out. Then I got new photos and sent it all in with my old passport.
Since I chose to expedite it myself, I paid an additional $60 fee. Then I mailed it to the specific facility for expedited passport applications via USPS Priority Mail. I didn’t used the return 1 to 2-day shipping option, but luckily I got my passport within the two weeks.
When my husband replaced a stolen passport five years ago, he got a replacement the same day. First he collected the required information. Then he secured an appointment at a passport agency in the neighboring state.
This chart will help you determine your own situation and address it properly. Read more about each situation below the chart.
|Reason You Need Expedited Passport||Proof Needed for Expedited Passport||Where to Apply|
|Life-or-Death Emergency for immediate travel||Proof of emergency required||Contact U.S. Department of State|
|Booked International Travel within 2 to 3 weeks||Proof of travel required||Passport Agency or Center with an appointment|
|International Travel in 4 to 6 weeks||No proof needed. Standard Expedited Passport||Expedited at Acceptance Facility or Expedited Renewal by Mail|
|International Travel in more than 6 weeks||No proof needed. Routine Passport||Apply at Acceptance Facility or Renew by Mail|
Life or Death Emergency Passport
If you get that dreaded call and need to travel for a life or death emergency, you can get a life or death emergency passport. These passports are issued only if your immediate family member has a serious illness, injury or died and you are required travel internationally within 72 hours.
If You Live Within in U.S.
First call and make an appointment with the emergency passport service. Call 1 877-487-2778 or 1 888 874-7793 Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The service is closed all federal holidays.
When you apply, you will need the following:
- Completed Passport Application with supporting documents and photos.
- Proof of life or death emergency, like a death certificate, statement from the mortuary or signed letter for the hospital. All letters and certificates need to be in English.
- Proof of International Travel, like an airline itinerary.
Outside the U.S.
You will have to contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
My Passport is Expired and I Leave Tomorrow
After saying a few choice words, it’s time to get busy. First cancel your calls; getting your passport within 24-hours will take a few errands. Then find a registered passport expediter like Passportcenter.com or Rushmypassport.com. These are private companies and not part of the U.S Department of State.
For expedited 24-hour service (not same day), you will still have to collect all the same information as any other U.S. passport renewal. So proof of citizenship, proof of identity and passport photos are all required. Hopefully you have those items in a safe and secure place.
With an expedited service, you are hiring a person to hand deliver your application to the closest passport office that issues same day passports. Then a person will retrieve and overnight your new passport back to you.
It is expensive. This expedited service costs $499.00. Then the outbound shipping costs an additional $49.95. The inbound shipping costs an additional $29.95 to get it by 3 p.m. and add $10.00 to get it by 10:30 a.m. Then the $170 fee for the actual passport. (Application fee and Expedite fee), and don’t forget the passport photos about $15.00 at most photo centers. The good news? Most expediters take credit cards and your package includes tracking information.
First you will fill out the expediter’s online application, then print out the completed application with the required documentation and photos. Then ship it to the nearest expediter’s location.
You’re Leaving in 2 Weeks
So your boss hands you a plane ticket to check on the London office and your passport is expired. First grab the tickets, then make an appointment for the next available date at the nearest U.S. Passport Agency.
If you need to get a U.S. passport renewal in two weeks or less, a trip to the closest passport center or agency will be required. First find a passport center or agency across the country that issues same day passports. Gather and complete all requirements, then take passport photos. And remember appointments are necessary and often fill up days in advance.
Passport Agencies Across the U.S.
Arkansas Passport Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Atlanta Passport Agency in Atlanta, Georgia
Boston Passport Agency in Boston, Massachusetts
Buffalo Passport Agency in Buffalo, New York
Chicago Passport Agency in Chicago, Illinois
Colorado Passport Agency in Aurora, Colorado
Connecticut Passport Agency in Stamford, Connecticut
Dallas Passport Agency in Dallas, Texas
Detroit Passport Agency in Detroit, Michigan
El Paso Passport Agency in El Paso, Texas
Honolulu Passport Agency in Honolulu, Hawaii
Houston Passport Agency in Houston, Texas
Los Angeles Passport Agency in Los Angeles, California
Miami Passport Agency in Miami, Florida
National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
New Orleans Passport Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
New York Passport Agency in New York, New York
Philadelphia Passport Agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
San Diego Passport Agency in San Diego, California
Seattle Passport Agency in Seattle, Washington
San Francisco Passport Agency in San Francisco, California
San Juan Passport Agency in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Vermont Passport Agency in St. Albans, Vermont
Washington Passport Agency in Washington, D.C.
Western Passport Center in Tucson, Arizona
How to Get Your First Passport
All adult passport applications for U.S. residents require the same information, regardless if it’s expedited or not. Hopefully you have this information in a secure place in your home, like a fire safe.
First download the correct form from the U.S. Department of State (DS-11) or pick one up from your the post office. Then gather the required information and get photos taken.
If it’s your first passport, you will be required to appear in front of an authorized agent. Usually the local post office processes passport applications with required documentation and photos.
First, call to confirm your post office does take passport applications. Then arrange an appointment to submit your application. Follow the U.S. passport application instructions carefully.
Proof of U.S. Citizenship
To prove your citizenship, most applicants use the following:
- Previous passport, can be expired.
- Certified birth certificate, with full name, date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed and seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records (state, county or city or town office) and the full names of your parents.
Proof of Identity
Along with proof of U.S. citizenship, you will be required to submit proof of identity. If you already have a passport, it can also be used for proof of identity.
Another option: submit an item that contains both your signature and a photograph, like a U.S. passport card, a driver’s license, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, military identification or federal, state or municipal government employee identification card.
Temporary or altered documents will not be accepted.
IMPORTANT: NAMES MUST MATCH.
A recent photograph (six months or newer) is required according to the passport specifics. You can take it yourself, though it’s easier to head to a photo processing place, like your local drugstore or grocery store. Most places charge under $20 for two photos.
|Type of Passport||Application Fee||Execution Fee|
|First Time Adult Passport||$110||$35**Paid to Acceptance Facility|
|Minor Passport (under 16)||$80||$35**Paid to Acceptance Facility|
|1 to 2 Day Return Delivery Fee||$16.48|
Passports aren’t free. So pay using a personal check, traveler’s check, major credit card, bank draft or cashier’s check, or money order (U.S. Postal, international or currency exchange).
Make checks payable to the U.S. Department of State within the U.S. for the application fee, expedite fee and expedited shipping fee. And a second check is required for the execution fee.
- Since the U.S. Department of State is a stickler for details, fill out the applications correctly. Double check all applications.
- If you find the passport requirements confusing hire a service to renew your passport.
- Mail all passport applications USPS Priority Mail with a tracking number or use FedEx or UPS.
- When you receive them back from the U.S. Department of State store all important documents in a fireproof safe.