Yesterday, I wrote about how FedEx and RushMyPassport can now help you get a US passport in just 1 day. The problem with it is that it is expensive. Fortunately, if you are near enough to a US Passport Agency, it is possible to get a US passport in as little as a couple of hours! For me, it was less than 2 hours! Here is what you need to know.
How to Get a US Passport In as Little as a Couple of Hours
To put it simply – yes, you can get a US passport in as little a couple of hours!! The long answer is that you will have to make sure that you can prove that you need a passport quickly – and you will have to do that in person at one of many facilities around the US.
The “Secret” – US Passport Agencies!
The US State Department has passport facilities around the US and these facilities are available for those people who need an expedited US passport (that is the only way you can make an appointment at one). For their purposes, “expedited” means less than 2 weeks from the time you are calling (they will only make appointments for up to 2 weeks out).
Don’t forget – these facility appointments are for people who can prove imminent travel or the imminent need for a visa. So, don’t think you are going to skip the 3-6 week wait period just for fun! Also, it will cost you an expedite fee so keep all of that in mind!
Link: US Passport Agencies
While the wait time if you apply normally can be 3 – 6 weeks (depending on the time of year and load of new applicants), it is possible to get them quicker. Of course, this requires paying an expedite fee but if you need your passport in less than 3 weeks, that can be the smart thing to do.
But, if your travel is imminent, or your need of a visa is imminent, you can actually apply in person at US Passport Agencies around the US and get your passport in as little as hours or as long as a few days (depending on your case). There are 26 Passport Agencies that you can visit and you can find the list and their locations at this page here.
How to Get Your Passport in as Little as a Couple of Hours
Here is the procedure:
First, Do You Fit the Requirements?
Not just anyone can get a US passport through these agencies. These are reserved for last minute needs and you will need to demonstrate that need. That means proof of travel within the next 2 weeks from the date of the appointment or the need for a foreign visa within the next 4 weeks. If you can prove either one of those, you can go ahead and make your appointment.
Make Your Appointment with the US Passport Agency
Now that you know you fit the requirements, you can make your appointment. Appointments can only be made within 2 weeks of the day you are calling. These appointments are made through a 24 hour automated phone system and selecting a time in the afternoon can be tedious as it will go through each half hour block from the opening time! Or, you can select to have the next available appointment.
Once you select the date and time of your appointment, you will be given a confirmation number. Do not lose that number! You will be asked for it when you show up for your appointment before you are given your ticket number.
Get Your Documents Together
Here is the list of things you will be required to bring for your passport appointment:
- Evidence of US Citizenship (Passport or birth certificate)
- Photo ID (Driver’s license, for example)
- 1 Passport Photo
- Check/Money Order/Credit Card
- Proof of immediate travel – airline ticket/reservation/letter
- Passport application – DS-11 for first-time applicants or DS-82 for passport renewals
Yes, unlike a Post Office, you can pay for your passport at a Passport Agency with a credit card! The fee will be higher since it includes the expedite fee, though. Your total will be $170 for passport renewal or $195 for a new passport.
For the proof of immediate travel, just bring a copy of your international ticket reservation or the need for a visa with a deadline.
The Earlier the Better
If you would like to get your passport the same day and your travel is very immediate, you should try for an appointment earlier in the day. If you are going to a big city Passport Agency, they may be open a little later than the other agencies.
For example, the Buffalo Passport Agency that I had used before is open until 4PM while the New York City Passport Agency I used last time was open until 6PM. If you are just in the city for the day, tell them that and they may go ahead and process it for you that same day.
The US Passport Agencies are able to issue the new passport in as little as 1 hour! This can work out great if you noticed a problem with your passport and you are getting ready to go on a trip. Since most large cities you would depart from the US from have a passport agency, you can simply take an earlier flight to that city and, during your layover, rush to a passport agency for the passport.
If you happen to be in a city with a passport agency and you are just going to be there for the day, they can also process it for you while you wait. Another option, if you don’t need it that day, would be for them to mail it to you. You would have it in under 3 days.
While many government offices can get you waiting for a while with things, I have been nothing but pleased with my experiences with the US Passport Agencies. The employees have been very kind and helpful and did more than I was asking each time. If you find yourself in a passport jam, remember that you could get your passport done in just one hour using these facilities!