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TravelHere's how to get a same-day passport

Here’s how to get a same-day passport


Some travel mistakes are minor and can be solved pretty easily. Others — like an expired passport — can ruin your vacation before it even starts. Most countries will not allow you to travel with a soon-to-expire passport, so you could be out of luck if yours is close to the expiration date.

Related: When and how to renew your passport, according to the State Department

Of course, our No. 1 tip is to do whatever is necessary to avoid this dilemma in the first place. Here at TPG, we are big fans of calendar reminders that alert you when it’s time to renew your passport. That said, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t worried that your upcoming trip could be jeopardized.

Regardless of your exact circumstances, we have some tips for your predicament. Here’s what you need to know to get a same-day passport — and save your vacation.

Passport entry requirements

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Each country has its own passport validity requirements, but according to the U.S. Department of State, several countries say that your passport should not be within six months of expiring at the time of entry. Just to be safe, it’s best to renew your passport before it hits that six-month mark, regardless of where you plan to travel.

Related: Best credit cards with travel insurance

First-time adult passport applicants must apply in person after gathering and preparing their passport application documents. Those renewing their passports can do so via mail or online, though the online passport renewal system is currently limited to a certain number of applicants each day on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, the passport application or renewal process takes up to two months, even if you renew online. Current passport processing times can take between six to eight weeks for routine processing and two to three weeks for expedited processing.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

If you can’t wait two to eight weeks for your passport, you may be able to get an urgent passport appointment as long as you have international travel booked within the next 14 calendar days, need a foreign visa within four weeks or have a life-or-death emergency.

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Can you get a same-day passport?

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In short, yes, but it may not be easy.

Same-day passport processing can only be done in person at one of the State Department’s 26 passport agencies and centers. If you have not completed your passport application (required for new applicants and renewals), you should visit the Online Passport Appointment System to determine if you qualify for a same-day passport appointment. If you qualify, you’ll be directed to enter your email address and phone number to verify your identity. From there, you can search a list of passport agencies and their appointment availability.

If you have already applied, you can call 1-877-487-2778 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time on Mondays through Fridays or on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time to request an appointment.

Related: 5 things I learned when renewing my passport for the first time

Either way, same-day appointments (or even appointments a few days out) are extremely limited, and you may have to travel a significant distance to secure one.

If no appointments are available, you can explain your circumstances to a State Department customer service agent, and they should be able to arrange a walk-in window at a passport agency. The agency could be an hourslong drive or more from your home, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

You’ll need to bring the following:

  • Your completed passport application or renewal form
  • Your current passport (for renewals)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of booked travel
  • A valid passport photo
  • Your payment, including the $60 passport expedite fee

When you do arrive, be prepared for a lengthy wait. You will likely not be the only person who needs a same-day passport, so bring your headphones or a book and take a spot in line. When it’s your turn, a clerk will review your application or renewal form and give you a time to return and pick up your passport later that day.

When you do return, you could face a second wait to pick up your passport, but it’s still better than missing out on your trip.

Bottom line

Although getting a same-day passport is possible, we do not recommend putting yourself through the stress. Be aware of your passport’s expiration date, and make sure you allow ample time for processing, whether you are a first-time applicant or renewing your current passport.

Getting a same-day passport can save your vacation — but it’s not a great way to start your trip. Still, it’s good to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.

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