Pandemic-induced back logs and staff shortages have made deciphering how to get a passport fast more difficult than before. Getting a passport within 24 hours is now virtually impossible for most people. While this was something that last-minute travelers could secure for a hefty bounty before the pandemic, these days, a little patience will be required.
Applying for a passport takes time and a good bit of paperwork:
According to the State Department, current routine processing takes six to nine weeks, and for expedited processing four to six weeks—and it’s all even more of a hassle if you’ve never had a passport before. But what happens with you have a trip to Mozambique on Friday, and no passport to show for it? There are some loopholes to actually get a passport in 24 hours, but the stars must truly align: You’ll need immediate travel plans, proof of a qualified life-or-death emergency, or help from an elected member of Congress (to request this, contact your representative’s office directly; it’s not always a guarantee). It may still be possible for others to get an expedited passport renewal if you follow the right steps (and get lucky).
Can I get my passport in one day?
If you can score one of the extremely limited walk-in appointments at one of the 26 Regional Passport Agencies across the country, you may be able to get it on the same day with proof of an international flight that departs within 48 hours. Of course, this requires you physically being at one of these offices in person at the right time, which may not be convenient for everyone.
These appointments are only available to those with emergency needs and traveling internationally within two weeks or those who need to obtain a foreign visa within four weeks. You can only call for an appointment once that window of time opens.
How do you get an expedited passport renewal appointment?
There are more than two dozen agencies with potential appointments, but there is no guarantee you’ll find an open time slot within two weeks of your departure date. Be willing to travel far to find an appointment. It can be helpful to review the list of available agencies closest to you, so you know which ones to ask for first.
To try for an appointment, call the passport office number 1-877-487-2778 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, Mondays through Fridays. For the most luck, be prepared to call several days in a row and be patient. A good tip is to begin the call around 7:55 a.m. so that you are through all of the prompts to get through to an agent right at the opening time. Otherwise, prepare for a busy signal.
There is currently no easy way to get a passport in 24 hours, unless you are willing to travel to one of the 26 Regional Passport Agencies across the country and spend the full day, and that’s if you can even get an appointment. Even the government’s recently lauded online renewal program has encountered a bundle of well-publicized hiccups that has made the process just as cumbersome as before.
How to get a passport faster
Still wondering how to get a passport fast? For now, expect about a one-week processing time if paying for the fastest path ($799) using an expeditor company. For a fee, users fill out and ship paperwork and requisite documentation to a registered third party like RushMyPassport, which is allowed to submit expedited passport applications on behalf of customers. The company then hand delivers the information to a state agency and returns a passport to the customer within an expedited period of time—think of it as a butler service, but for your passport.
For now, however, the fastest period of time using such a service appears to be about a week. Still available, and possibly one of the easiest options is to step into one of 2,000 FedEx locations across the country. FedEx has teamed up with RushMyPassport to offer a speedy new passport or a renewal in a shorter window of time. Travelers have the option to fill out paperwork ahead of time online and access to assistance from passport experts who can answer questions that pop up along the way. You’ll also be able to take the standard-size passport photos necessary to renew or sign up for a new passport at FedEx. But this service will cost you. While the 24-hour option is currently paused, there are hopes it will return soon. Of course, there is a fee from FedEx and RushMyPassport for the service ($799 for the one-week turnaround, or cheaper fees for longer processing times). On top of that, you must pay one-day shipping costs and the expedited government fee of $190 for adults.
An expeditor can also explain how to get a new passport fast since that requires slightly different requirements, forms, and its own execution fee. They can help explain where the nearest passport acceptance facility is, what documents you need such as a birth certificate and specific application form, the processing times, and whether you need a passport card along with your expedited passport.
It’s worth noting that courier companies do not operate as part of the U.S. Department of State. Have a question about a passport expeditor you’re considering? Contact the Better Business Bureau and local/regional/state Chambers of Commerce, which may be helpful resources.
The passport process can be stressful enough, and it’s often worse when you need your passport fast. We can help prevent common mistakes that will cause your application to be delayed or rejected—we are your advocate to help make sure you have your passport on time for your trip.