It should go without saying that Washington, DC is one of the nation’s top cities for international travel. Politicians, business people and tourists alike pour in and out of the city’s three major airports, heading out to destinations around the world.

No matter which corner of the globe you’re heading to, it’s easy to find a flight out of DC — as long as you have a valid passport, of course! If yours has expired, don’t wait until you need it to renew it. Follow the instructions below so you’ll have your passport ready:

Passport Renewal by Mail

Most DC residents are able to apply for renewal through the mail. This eliminates the need to go to the post office, except to turn in your application. You are eligible for passport renewal by mail as long as you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions:

  • Do you still have your passport in your possession?
  • Is your passport still in good condition (not damaged or mutilated)?
  • Was your current passport issued after your 16th birthday?
  • Was your current passport issued less than 15 years ago?
  • Was your current passport issued under the name you currently use, or can you provide legal documents to support a name change request?

If you meet the criteria listed above, see Passport Renewal by Mail for details on how to renew.

If you don’t, you can apply in person at one of 10 DC post offices that serve as passport acceptance facilities. See How to Apply for a New Passport for details on what to do.

Processing Time

If you apply for a passport renewal through the mail, be sure to allow at least six weeks for your application to be processed and the new passport returned.

You can get somewhat faster service by enclosing an additional $60 payment and writing “EXPEDITE” on the envelope you use to send in your paperwork. However, you should still allow at least three weeks for your passport renewal to come back.

The Washington, DC Passport Agency

a view of the Washington Monument through cherry blossomsShort on time? The Washington, DC regional passport agency accepts passport applications from travelers with emergency passport needs. You can use this agency if you have a travel itinerary that takes you out of the country in the next 14 days. Emergency passport services are also available if you’re leaving within the next four weeks and you need your passport to get a visa for your destination country.

The Washington Passport Agency is located on the first floor of 1111 19th Street, N.W. But wait! Don’t just grab your keys and start heading that direction. First, you’ll need to make an appointment. The passport agency does not accept walk-ins!

Also, it’s only open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, it doesn’t open until 9:00am but it still closes at 3:00. If you’re normally at work during those hours, you’ll have to request time off.

Once you’ve arrived at your appointment, you’ll still have to take a number, sit down and wait for an agent to become available.

If that sounds like too much of a hassle, you also have the option of using a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport. We personally deliver your application to the Department of State, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours. Plus, we assist you with the paperwork by providing easy-to-follow checklists as well as personal assistance and attention. This reduces the chance of you making one of many common errors that could delay your application.

Need a passport renewal in a hurry? We’d love to help- Contact us today!