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How to expedite your U.S. passport renewal

Do you need a passport fast? The U.S. government can help you! You can get your passport replaced or a new one in no time.

Although you can renew or replace your passport at U.S. consulates abroad, I chose to go the expedited route through the Los Angeles Passport Agency. It was very simple and I received my passport within a week.

Are you running frantically for your life? This is how to speed up your U.S. passport renewal.

Check Your Eligibility

The US Department of State does not want you to rush the application process. You must meet certain requirements.

You are eligible if you travel internationally within less than two weeks, or need to obtain a visa for a foreign country within one month. You will need to provide proof of your urgent travel (e.g. a flight ticket) in order to prove it. If you are in a real life-or-death situation, you can contact them right here.

Helpful Tip – I have found that the staff at the passport agency are willing to assist you and will try their best to find a solution. You can simply show up at the passport office if you make a mistake in printing your passport.

Schedule an appointment

You must make an appointment before you can apply for your expedited passport. This can be done online through the Passport Agency Appointment System.

You will receive an appointment confirmation number once you have booked your time slot. This number is important to keep. It is important that you write it down and then take a picture of it using your phone. This number will be required by the passport agency upon arrival.

Take the Essentials Together

You’ll need to review the checklist before you go. The expedited passport agency is all about speedy service, so don’t show up unorganized or missing paperwork.

Keep these items on hand:

  • This is your appointment confirmation number: Do not lose it! This number is your only confirmation after you have booked an appointment.
  • Printable Proof of International Travel: You should bring printed copies of all confirmations. These can be plane tickets, hotel reservations or cruise tickets.
  • Application Form: All forms for passport applications can be found on the US State Department’s website. The official passport wizard can help you determine what you need. This handy tool will help you determine what passport you need.
  • Passport Photo: A standard 2-x2-inch photo is required for your new passport. People have been turned away by professional photos (e.g. from CVS or Walgreens). Make sure you are familiar with the requirements for photos and double-check the picture before you send it in.
  • Application Fee: The fee for a new passport book is $110 and the expedited service adds $60. You can find out the exact fees for passport cards, delivery and other services online using the fee calculator. You can pay by credit card, debit card or check card or with cash. Cash is the best option. The passport agency won’t accept change.

Extra Information:

  • A Large Passport can be applied for with extra pages. Even if you don’t intend to travel as often as I do (though you never know what might happen in the next ten years). As of 2016, you cannot add pages to your passport. If you fill up your passport, you will have to start the process over. It’s worth the effort to get a passport with more pages if you need to renew. I can guarantee it!
  • They will return your old passport: I was so worried that they would keep it that I took photos of every page to preserve the memories. They will return your old passport with your new one! If your passport is a very precious keepsake, like mine, I recommend that you take photos of the stamps.

Helpful Tip – If you lose your passport while abroad, get in touch with your nearest embassy immediately. An emergency travel document can be obtained that will allow you to return home within 24 hours. You can replace the emergency travel document once you are back on US soil with a normal passport.

What to Expect

I renewed my passport at Los Angeles Passport Agency. Your appointment will be at least 30 minutes early. Security will be outside the building.

After verifying my appointment number, and passing through a metal detector I was allowed to enter the agency. This place is crowded every day.

You’ll be able to jump straight into the first line because you will have all your paperwork organized, just like me. A representative will make sure you have all the information you need to complete your application.

They’ll then print you a number to – wait, it happens – another line.

After I received my number, I was told to wait in one of the chairs until I was called. Although the wait time can vary depending on the day of the week, I waited approximately 45 minutes before my number was displayed on the screen.

In truth, I was expecting to wait much longer. Next was a payment window, where she filed all of my paperwork. The entire appointment took approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Three days later, my new passport arrived in mail!

They made two small holes in my passport’s cover and identification page, but it was returned to them.

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