How long does it take to get a passport? The short answer is, it depends. How long it takes to get a U.S. passport can vary depending on how and where you apply, as well as how quickly you’ll need it before you board for your international flight. If you elect for standard processing at a passport agency or center, you’ll wait longer than if you choose an expedited process.
Whether you’re looking to renew your passport, or need to apply for a new passport, we’ll explain the different passport service options and how long it takes to get a passport once you submit your application.
Updated March 7th, 2023: The U.S. Department of State issued an important update on passport processing.
We encourage all Americans to check their passport expiration date before making any definitive plans for international travel, and to take action to renew their passport well in advance of international travel this year.
This is especially important as we approach what is expected to be our busiest summer travel season on record.
Standard Passport Service at a Post Office or Passport Acceptance Facility
If you have international travel planned but aren’t traveling in the near future, you can apply for standard passport services at a United States Post Office or another Passport Acceptance Facility such as a library or a county clerk’s office.
When requesting standard or regular passport services, expect to wait up to 11 weeks for your passport to arrive.
This does not include shipping time when sending your application off to the U.S. Department of State for processing. This estimate also doesn’t take into consideration the shipping time it takes to return your new passport to you once passport processing has been completed.
It is important to note that when estimating how long it takes to get a U.S. Passport, that the time frames associated with Routine Service are estimates and are not guaranteed.
These ranges for processing times begin once your application has been received by the Department of State, not the date that you apply.
Standard Expedited Passport Service at a Post Office or Passport Acceptance Facility
If you don’t have the time to spare in waiting on standard passport services, you can also request basic expedited service at the Post Office, or another Passport Acceptance Facility.
With standard expedited service for U.S. Passports, expect to wait up to 7 weeks for your passport to arrive.
This does not include shipping your application to the Department of State for processing, or the time it takes to ship your new passport back.
Similarly to routine service, when requesting expedited passport service at a Passport Acceptance Facility, it should be noted that the timeframes associated are an estimated range. Timeframes begin once your application has been received by the U.S. Department of State, not the date you physically submit your application.
If standard passport services aren’t quick enough to ensure you receive your new passport prior to your next international trip, then have two options: utilize a private company to expedite your passport, or attempt to schedule an emergency passport appointment.
Requesting an Emergency Passport Appointment with a Regional Passport Agency
If you are departing within the next two months, it is likely that you will need to either schedule an emergency appointment with a Regional Passport Agency or utilize a private expediting company.
While appointments for emergency passports are technically available to those who have urgent travel needs, there are some extremely strict eligibility requirements.
This requirement is usually for a life-threatening or fatal emergency, or if a family member has died abroad. If you are eligible, a Regional Passport Agency can potentially issue a U.S. passport within 3 business days.
You can review the requirements and estimated processing times for these appointments here, as outlined by the U.S. Department of State.
In addition to strict requirements, appointments can be hard to come by even if you are eligible. There are only a handful of Regional Passport Agencies across the United States to attempt to schedule an appointment with, and walk-ins are prohibited.
Expedite Your Passport with A Private Expediting Company
If you’re traveling in the near future, and can’t schedule an appointment with a Regional Passport Agency, then you’ll want to look into a private company that can expedite your passport in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.
Private expediting companies that are registered with the United States government’s Hand-Carry Program have the ability to cut down on the time it takes to receive your passport once you’ve gathered your required documents, and have submitted your application.
While private expedited services range in terms of how long it will take to get a U.S. passport, this option can get your passport back to you in as little as 7 business days.
Just like the traditional methods of applying, this time frame begins once your application and required documents have been received by the company expediting your passport.
Using a private company to expedite your U.S. passport can save time and help avoid delays and mistakes, resulting in a faster approval than standard or routine processing.
Personalized application review with a passport advisor can be paramount to avoiding passport delays.
Common causes of passport delays include application errors, missing documents, and wrong photos; it may be worthwhile to pay extra to have someone else check for mistakes.
Aside from service speeds and the personalized service of application review from an experienced passport advisor, private expediting companies also provide real-time tracking.
When you need your passport fast, tracking will keep you informed of your passport as it is shipped to the Department of State, and its return-journey back to you.
It is important to note, that when utilizing a private expediting company, you will still need to pay passport fees to the U.S. Department of State just as you would with any method for obtaining a passport.
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