How long does it take to process a passport?
Let’s talk about getting your passport processed. There are two options you can choose to process a passport: routine or expedited. The passport processing times vary depending on the service speed chosen.
When you select routine service to process a passport, you will need to be seen by your local acceptance agent. The acceptance agent is required for all passport processing unless you are doing an adult passport renewal or a name change to your passport. To process a new passport for an adult, child, or lost passport will take six to eight weeks. This processing time could be even longer if there are any issues with your documents or if the US Department of State requests additional documentation. It should be known that during the summer months and holidays the passport processing time can easily range from 7 to 10 weeks.
Routine passport service is a frustrating process if you have any errors or delays due to incorrect documentation. Your passport may be denied or suspended due to many common reasons. Thousands of travelers have their passport processing delayed due to issues with the passport photo not meeting the strict criteria, common application discrepancies, and missing any of the required documents. These errors are unfortunately very common and can significantly delay the process of your passport application by at least another 5 to 7 business days.
When you select expedited passport service processing at your local acceptance agent to process your passport, you will have your passport processed within 2-3 weeks. However, this is not guaranteed as a passport processing method. Should there be any discrepancies or errors with your documentation, your passport application will be delayed or suspended. Additionally, your expediting method through the post office or local acceptance facility may be delayed due to busy season or high travel times. If you’re traveling within the next 14 days (or 30 days and require a Visa), you may be able to expedite your passport processing at a Regional Passport Agency. Most Regional Passport Agencies require an appointment and proof of travel within the next 14 days. Some locations may even require travel plans to be within 8 business days. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of international travel to process a passport at a Regional Passport Agency. You should have one of the following: itinerary, an international ticket, business letter, or proof of medical emergency.
Usually, once you visit the Regional Passport Agency, it will take them 1 to 2 business days to process your passport. This includes all passport service times. You will have to wait in line and pay an additional $60 governmental fee in order to facilitate an expedited passport at a Regional Passport Agency.
One of the most preferred methods to process a passport quickly is using a third-party Registered Passport Courier Service. Registered Passport Courier Services are located around the nation and charge an additional service fee on top of the required governmental fees. One great thing about using a Registered Passport Courier Service is that they work directly with the U.S. Department of State to ensure the processing of your passport in time for your trip. This is one of the fastest and most secure ways to process your passport. Also, you do not need to leave your home for a passport renewal. New passport, child passport, and lost passport services will still require that the applicant appear at their local passport acceptance agency to verify identity and documentation prior to sending your application to a Registered Passport Courier Service. Processing times with a Registered Passport Courier Service are based on the time you need and choose. They charge a service fee depending on the speed of service you selected. Some Registered Passport Courier Services can process the passport in 8 to 14 days as well as 24-hour processing. Service fees will increase as the processing speed of your passport increases.
Currently for 2016, it is taking a while to process a passport. The main reason your passport processing may be slower this year is that in 2007, part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required travelers to have a passport book or card in order to travel by land or sea to Canada or Mexico and cruise ships. Ten years later most of those applicants are now renewing their passports. It’s imperative if your passport is coming up for renewal that you renew your passport earlier than later so you don’t fall victim to the system and not have your passport in time. Of course, if you end up needing your passport quickly, there are services available to help secure and process a passport on time.