Wednesday, December 4, 2013

US Department of State Promotes a $60 Passport Expediting Service

Good holiday news for document-challenged Americans heading overseas, to Canada or the Caribbean this winter.  The U.S. Department of State has begun offering expedited passport services for a fee to U.S. citizens, including to our students who may be enrolled in Study Abroad programs through school.

State Dept site guides you through the Passport Application Process

Do you have an exciting international trip coming up?  Need a passport or have one expiring within the next six months? Whoops, time to act!

Time is still of the essence if you need a passport, but the State Department is offering for-a-fee ways to expedite the usual 4 to 6 week processing time. Best news yet -- expedited passport applications may be submitted at one of more than 7,800 acceptance facilities, many of them neighborhood paost offices, around the country.

First time passports, passport renewals, additional visa pages, and data corrections all qualify for expedited service. Applicants must pay an additional $60 expedite fee and allow 2 to 3 weeks for delivery.  Not instantaneous as we've come to expect from so much in life, but better than the uncertainty of the standard long wait.

Applicants with immediate/emergency travel plans may apply directly at one of the Department’s 25 passport agencies and centers across the country. Depending on the agency, your e-ticket or proof of travel occurring within 14 days may be required. Please refer to for agency-specific information regarding what is required for an appointment. Applicants must call the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 877/487-2778 to make an appointment at a passport agency.

The State Department points out that commercial Passport Expeditor or Passport Courier services are private, third-party companies, some of which are registered at passport agencies and allowed to submit expedited passport applications on behalf of their customers. They add that you won't get your passport any faster through paying an expediter than through paying the federal government, but the option is available.

Families needing information on how to apply for or renew a passport should visit Family Travel Forum for more information. It's a complicated and time-consuming process but if you're careful and follow the rules, it works well.

You can also call for information during weekday working hours;  the National Passport Information Center runs a toll-free help line at 877/487-2778 or at 888/874-7793 for the hard of hearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment