Do You Need A Passport To Board An International Flight?
You may be wondering, “Do you need a passport to board an international flight?” The answer is yes. If you are a United States citizen, and you are planning international travel, you must have a valid passport to be able to board.
While the United States Travel Security Administration allows U.S. citizens to use various forms of identification and travel documents for domestic flights such as a state issued id, a passport is still required for all international flights.
If you don’t have a passport, don’t be alarmed. You still have options to obtain a passport prior to arriving at the airport.
How To Get A United States Passport Before Your Flight
If you are planning to travel internationally soon, it is important to determine what service you need to ensure that you receive your passport in time for your flight. Whichever route you take, and whether you’ve decided to expedite your passport, can impact how long it takes to receive it.
Routine Service for U.S. Passports
According to the U.S. Department of State, it can take up to 10 weeks to process a United States passport when applying at a passport acceptance agency such as a Post Office with routine service. But what if your flight is leaving sooner than that, or it’s simply too close for comfort?
Expedited Service for U.S. Passports
If you need a passport and are leaving for an international trip within the next two months, you may want to expedite your passport. When requesting expedited service, you generally have three options.
1. Requesting Expedited Service at a Passport Acceptance Facility
A Passport Acceptance Facility is an office in charge of receiving and handling passport applications on the U.S. Department of State’s behalf. Use this tool to find a Passport Acceptance Facility near you.
It can take up to 6 weeks to process a U.S. Passport when applying at a Passport Acceptance Facility with expedited service. You’ll also pay a $60 expedite fee on top of your passport application fees.
2. Requesting Expedited Service at a Regional Passport Agency
A Regional Passport Agency can provide another expedited service option for a United States Passport. The only catch is, they can be difficult to obtain as there are only 26 regional passport agencies across the country, and an appointment is required.
A passport can be expedited for international travel within the next 3 business days in the event of the death of an immediate family member located outside the United States.
If you have upcoming non-emergency travel plans, you can try to schedule a Non-Urgent Travel Service appointment, but you will need to have proof that you will be traveling within the next 14 days.
It is important to note that there are specific requirements to be eligible to schedule an appointment with a U.S. Regional Passport Agency. Appointments are not guaranteed, even if you are eligible.
3. Using a Private Company to Expedite Your Passport
If you need a passport faster than the standard processing time, you may want to consider using a private passport expediting company.
A private expediting company will take your application directly to the Department of State, where it can be processed in as little as 7 business days. The company will then ship your new passport back to you, usually overnight.
In addition to speeding up the process of obtaining a United States passport, utilizing a private expediting company can also reduce the chance of mistakes that could delay your application. If there is a problem or delay at the passport office, the expediting company will notify you and help you resolve the issue.
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