Getting a new or renewing an existing passport can be a lengthy four to six week process. Many times a trip can come up quickly and there is need before the time it takes for the government to process a passport. Fortunately there are a few methods that enable you to obtain passports quickly.
It is important that required documents are provided with an application. The original documents are needed and may have to be sent away for processing. They will either be sent back with the passport or at another time when applying through the mail. Accuracy in providing these documents is paramount in getting a passport quickly. A form of citizenship is required; you may use an old passport in good shape, certified birth certificate, certification of birth abroad, naturalization papers or certification of citizenship. If none of these documents are available early public records and a birth record or letter of no record will do. A delayed birth certificate, Form DS-10 or foreign birth documents are accepted. Records that are not considered forms of citizenship are voter registration cards, military discharge papers or Social Security cards.
Photo ID is also required when going into an office for a passport. Accepted photo identification includes old passports, naturalization certificates or a current driver’s license.
Two identical copies of a photo for the passport are required. They must be 2 by 2 inches and taken within the last six months. They should consist of a picture from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head with a front view and can be color or black and white. Wear regular clothing and no hat when going to get a passport picture taken. Many pharmacies or copy services provide this service and produce photos in just a few minutes.
An intent to travel is required to get an expedited passport. This consists of an itinerary made out by a paid service or an eticket.
The application for a new or renewal passports is required and must be typed or printed legibly in black ink. Both applications are easily downloaded from the computer. They must be printed on only one side on white 8 by 11 inch paper and do not sign it until asked if applying in person at an office or agency.
Make an appointment at a passport agency before going. Take the confirmation number given and arrive early with the completed application and all required documentation. Agencies are few so be prepared to travel far to get to one and wait in line.
Some online expedited passport services are very easy to use. Just type in the information needed and follow the directions. Some require original citizenship documents be sent in an envelope marked “Expedited.” Pay for two-way, overnight mailing services that can be tracked. The expedited passports take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to obtain.
Always check to see what type of payment method is accepted for passports. Most Agencies including expedited passport services accept major credit cards, debit cards, checks, money orders and cash. Mail in services may not accept cash and might be limited as to the credit cards available for use. Prepare to pay substantial extra fees when using an expedited service, but the extra money is worth the trouble when a passport is needed in record time.