Usually, travel experts recommend that you allow at least 10 weeks before an international trip for your passport to arrive, just to be on the safe side.
If you don’t have enough time before your international trip to apply for a passport normally, you can order a rush passport. There are three different ways to rush a passport. Here is a brief description of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
If you have more than 2 weeks to go before your departure date, you can simply pay an additional $60.00 fee and request expedited service from the US Passport Agency. Make sure you write “Expedited” on the envelope containing your application so that they know to rush your passport. The US Passport Agency also recommends that you pay for overnight shipping to and from the processing center.
- Pros- This is the cheapest way to rush your passport.
- Cons- It takes at least 2 weeks door-to-door IF you spring for overnight delivery both ways. If you don’t, it could take longer, especially if the passport office is busy.
Visit a Regional Passport Agency Office
If you’re leaving in less than 2 weeks, you can make an appointment at the nearest Regional Passport Agency Office to have a passport printed.
- Pros: If everything goes smoothly, you could get a passport the day of your appointment.
- Cons: Regional Passport Agencies are appointment only. They close early in the day and are not open weekends. There are only 15 offices to serve the entire country, meaning you might have to drive for hours or even take a plane to get to the nearest one.
A Private Expediting Company
The easiest way to rush your passport is to use a private expediting service. An expediting company will hand-deliver your application to the US Passport Agency for processing, resulting in much faster processing times.
- Pros: You don’t have to make an appointment or wait in line. Once you send your paperwork in, everything is handled professionally for you. You don’t have to take time off work or drive long distances. Plus, you’ll get your passport quickly. Depending on the option you choose, processing times can range from 24 hours to a little over a week.
- Cons: You do have to pay a fee to the expediting company. The fee amount depends on how fast you need your passport.
However, when you think about it, using a private passport expediting company to rush your passport is money well spent. If you consider the money you’ll lose taking time off work and driving or flying to a passport office that might be hundreds of miles away, paying an expediting company often turns out to be cheaper than doing it yourself, and it’s certainly more convenient.
Check out our rush passport options today and what a great value an expediting service can provide!