Getting a U.S. passport can be lengthy, depending on your situation. But in some cases, you can get your passport in as little as 24 hours if you have a life-or-death emergency. Here are the different options for expedited passport processing and how long it takes to receive your passport.
Regular Passport Processing Time
If you apply for a passport through the regular processing method, expect to wait approximately 5-7 weeks before receiving your passport. This is because standard passport processing requires the passport agency to mail your application, verify your documentation, print your passport, and mail it back to you.
While the advertised processing time is 4-6 weeks, adding extra time on both ends for mailing is best. So in total, regular passport processing takes about 5-7 weeks.
Expedited Passport Processing
If you need your passport faster than regular processing, you can pay an extra fee for expedited processing. The U.S. Department of State offers expedited service for an additional $60 on top of the standard passport fees. Here are the expedited passport processing times:
Expedited In-Person at Passport Agency
If you apply in person at a passport agency, you can get your passport in as little as 24 hours. This is the fastest option but requires visiting a passport agency in person. Passport agencies are located in major U.S. cities. You must also show proof of international travel within 2 weeks to be eligible for expedited in-person processing.
Expedited by Mail
When you mail your passport application with expedited service, you can expect to receive your passport in 6-8 weeks. This is faster than regular processing but still takes more than a month. Expedited mail service costs $60 extra on top of standard passport fees.
Applying for a Passport Same-Day
In minimal circumstances, you can get a passport issued the same day you apply. This requires making an appointment at a passport agency, appearing in person, and proving you have immediate international travel within three business days.
You’ll also need proof of the life-or-death emergency that necessitates same-day passport processing. Examples include requiring to visit a dying relative overseas or attend a funeral abroad. Same-day issuance has strict requirements and is only available as an emergency service.
Factors That Impact Passport Processing Time
While the timelines above give a general idea of how long passport processing takes, your specific situation can impact the processing speed. Here are some factors that affect how fast you can get your passport.
- Application errors – Mistakes on your application can cause delays and require additional processing. Providing accurate information upfront prevents issues.
- Lost or damaged passports – Replacing lost or damaged passports adds extra steps and can take longer to verify your citizenship status again.
- Child passports – Passports for minors under age 16 can take longer since both parents/guardians must provide ID and consent.
- Peak travel seasons – Application volumes increase leading up to summer and winter holidays, which can extend processing times across the board. Avoid applying during peak seasons for faster service.
- Payment issues – If your application fees bounce or don’t go through, it stalls the issuance process. Making sure your payments are clear expedites the process.
Tips for Faster Passport Processing
Here are some valuable tips to help speed up how fast you can get your passport:
- Use the State Department’s online application. Paper applications take longer to process compared to online applications.
- Pay for expedited processing. The extra $60 fee guarantees faster return time, so you get your passport sooner.
- Request overnight delivery. Opting for overnight shipping both ways avoids postal service delays.
- Apply in person when eligible. Visiting a passport agency in-person results in same-day issuance in emergencies.
- Avoid peak seasons. Applying earlier in the year before the spring and summer travel rush speeds up processing.
- Renew early. Don’t wait until your passport expires—renew at least nine months early for quicker processing.
How Fast You Can Get Your Passport Depends on Your Situation
As you can see, how fast you can get your passport issued or renewed depends significantly on your circumstances. Regular passport processing takes 5-7 weeks, while expedited service slashes that down to 2-3 weeks. You can get a passport the same day by applying in person in emergencies.
No matter your situation, apply early to avoid unnecessary delays, especially when planning international travel. Pay close attention to passport processing times to ensure you receive your passport in time for your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting U.S. Passports Quickly
How can I get my passport fastest?
The fastest way to get your passport is to apply in person at a passport agency and request same-day service. You must prove your travel internationally within 3 business days for a life-or-death emergency.
Can I pay extra to get my passport faster?
Yes, you can pay an additional $60 expedited fee to speed up processing to 4-6 weeks instead of 5-7 weeks for regular service. Expedited service cuts processing time by approximately 2 weeks.
What is the quickest passport renewal?
If you are renewing your passport, the fastest option is to mail your renewal application with expedited service. This takes around 6-8 weeks total instead of 10-12 weeks for regular renewal processing.
Can I get a passport in one day?
Getting a passport issued the same day by applying in person at a passport agency in a qualifying emergency is possible. Same-day issuance has stringent requirements, though.
How can I track my passport status?
You can check your passport application status online via the State Department’s passport status check system. It will show when your application is received, under review, approved, and mailed out.