Some passport requests, including renewals and name changes, can be handled through the mail.  However, the government requires many passport applicants to apply in person. If any of the following conditions apply to you, you’ll need to submit your passport application in person at a passport office:

  • This is your first time applying for a US passport, or your current US passport was issued before you turned 16.
  • You are currently under 16 years of age.
  • Your passport has been lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Your most recent passport is more than 15 years old.
  • Your name has changed and you don’t have legal documentation for the name change.

There are actually two types of US passport offices. The first is called an acceptance facility. Libraries, post offices county clerks can act as US passport offices by accepting your application, witnessing your signature, and sealing your application documents. There government also has 15 Passport Agency offices scattered throughout the country. These passport offices accept applications by appointment only, usually for emergency passports that are needed in less than 2 weeks. A list of Passport Agency offices and instructions for making an appointment is available at the Department of State’s website, along with a list of passport acceptance facilities.

However, in many cases it’s easier to use a private passport expediting service like to get a passport quickly. There’s no appointment necessary, and you don’t have to drive to one of the Passport Agency offices. You simply submit your documents to the expediting company, and the company hand delivers them to the US Department of State. With a private passport expediting service, you can have your passport in as little as 24 hours, and you can track your order as it makes its way through the passport processing system.