Are you ready for life’s next curveball?
Imagine, it’s a normal Monday evening when all of the sudden your phone rings. It’s your local radio station calling to let you know, you’re a winner! You just won an all expenses paid vacation to Bermuda.
Screaming happily, jumping up and down, “Stuff like this never happens to me!”, you exclaim. When all of a sudden, your joy turns to panic, as you make the awful realization.
You don’t have a passport, and the trip’s only a month away. What are you going to do?
In 2017, over 21 million Americans got their passports for the very first time. Some of them were probably in a situation like the one described above. They needed a passport and they needed it fast.
The world’s full of incredible destinations, and you deserve to see them. If you need a passport, but don’t have enough time to get one, all hope isn’t lost. Read on to learn about the fastest way to get a passport.
The Fastest Way to Get a Passport
Before you can determine the fastest way to get a passport, you’ll need to know what type of passport you need (new or renewal). Remember, there are fast turn around services for getting a new passport or a renewal.
Here are a few situations that will require you to get a new application:
- You are applying for the first time
- You are less that is lost
- Someone stole your passport
- Damage occurred to your current passport
- Your previous passport is over 15 years old
If you already have a passport, and the above circumstances don’t apply, you’ll be getting a renewal.
Renewing by Mail
One of the great things about renewals is the ability to complete them through the mail. To complete your renewal, you’ll need to go online and get a few forms. The first form you’ll need to access forms DS-82.
To qualify for a renewal your recent passport has to meet specific criteria. Here’s a list of 5 requirements your passport has to meet.
- You submit your old passport with your application
- Your passport isn’t damaged
- You have issued the passport after age 16
- Passport is less than 15 years old
- Passport is in your current name
Has your name changed as a result of marriage or divorce? If your name’s different than the one on your passport, you still may be able to renew through the mail.
You’ll need to document your name change with a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order. Renewing through the mail is going to be the fastest method. You can expect to wait anywhere from four to six weeks for the routine service.
Yet, if you need to get your passport even faster, you can expedite things. On the DS-82 form you fill out, choose the expedited option.
Because you’re requesting a faster turn around time, you’ll have to pay more fees. Yet, if you’re in a rush, the extra money will be well spent. Expedited renewals can arrive through the mail in as little as two to three weeks.
If you need things to go even faster, try paying for overnight return service. This means they will send you your passport the moment it’s ready. Choosing the overnight option could end up saving you a few days time.
First Time Applications
If you’re submitting a new application, you’ll have to make an in-person appointment. Before you go to the passport agency, speed things up by getting prepared. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need when attending your passport appointment.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Two current passport photos
- Money for fees
- Social security number/card
- Proof of identity
There are several ways you can prove your identity. You can use a current drivers license, government ID or military ID. Once you have all of the correct documents, you can attend your appointment.
Once at the appointment, you’ll need to turn in a specific new application form. The form is the DS-11, and you can download it ahead of time if you wish. On this form, you’ll choose the expedited option.
Life or Death Emergencies
Certain circumstances will allow you to get a passport in as little as 72 hours. Your circumstance would have to meet the United States Department of State criteria for life and death emergencies.
Life and death emergencies are :
- Serious illnesses
- Serious injuries
- Immediate family deaths
If any of the above circumstances require travel outside of the country, you can ask for an expedition. To apply for this type of expedited passport, you’ll have to go to the office in person.
Once at the passport office, they’ll require you to show proof of your emergency. You can use a death certificate or letter from a medical professional as proof.
If you don’t qualify for a life or death emergency, you may still be able to get special rushed service. Once again, you’ll need to go to the passport office and provide proof of your circumstance.
For example, if you need to leave the country quickly, you may qualify for a rushed application. The passport office will want to see proof that you’re already scheduled to leave the country. You can provide them with a copy of your paid for an itinerary from your travel agency or a copy of your airline ticket.
Learn New Travel Tips
Now you know more about the fastest way to get a passport. Remember, even if you don’t need a passport now, go ahead and start the process. That way you’ll be ready when an exciting travel opportunity presents itself.
Stayful is happy to be your guide for all of your travel excursions. We have resources to help you whether your taking a business trip or embarking on an adventure.
Our thoughtful travel tips, tricks, and reviews will help you get the most out of your time. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to remember all of your grand adventures.
Instead of using a traditional travel journal to document your time, why not try something new? Check out our latest article about recording your travels in the digital age.