What is a Sealed Passport Adjudicated Envelope?
The sealed passport adjudicated envelope is also called the ‘hand-carry envelope.’ It is one of the most important steps of applying for a new passport or a replacement passport.
Generally, you’ll submit your application to an acceptance agent (usually the post office or county clerk), which is authorized to review your documents and confirm your identity. The acceptance agent will gather your documents and places them into a specially sealed adjudicated envelope. Do not open or tamper with it. Next, it is sent to the U.S Department of State for processing.
Notably, the sealed adjudicated envelope contains your DS-11 passport application, passport photos, and other required documents. See our Instructional Checklist, and follow it carefully. Any mistakes on your documents could cause a delay with your application.
Routine Processing Versus Expedited Processing
Fastport Passport can secure your passport in 2 weeks or less, and as fast as 24 hours if needed. If you choose to use an expedited service like Fastport Passport, it may help to bring in a letter to the passport acceptance agency that explains your decision to use a private service.
- Letter to Acceptance Agent. Download, print and bring this letter with you to the Passport Acceptance Facility.
How to Submit Your U.S. Passport Application
- Attach your travel plans, and authorization letter to the outside of the Sealed Passport Adjudicated Envelope with a staple or paperclip.
- There should also be a copy of the authorization form and travel plans inside of the hand-carry envelope.
- Attach an additional copy of your barcoded DS-11 application form on the outside of the hand-carry envelope.
- You do not need to sing or attach any photos. This helps the U.S. State Department to quickly scan your application for processing.
- You must also send Fastport Passport your sealed envelope by the following day to avoid a delay or denial.
Other Passport Expediting Instructions
Once the acceptance agent seals your adjudicated envelope, do not open or tamper with it. Important to realize, you only have 5 days to deliver the sealed adjudicated envelope to the U.S. Department of State.
Once the expediting company receives your envelope, they will ‘hand carry’ it to the U.S. Department of State, as they have special appointments that are unavailable to the general public. Therefore, it ensures immediate processing of your passport in time for your trip.
TIP #1: If you decide to use a private expediting company, you may want to overnight your sealed passport adjudicated envelope to the expediting company immediately. Do not delay on this step, as it could cause the U.S. Department of State to deny your passport application.
TIP #2: Since you cannot open the hand carry envelope (sealed passport adjudicated envelope), please include copies of the contents on the outside for your passport expediting company. At the very least, include a copy of the DS-11 application and the Letter of Authorization. That way the expediting company can review it and make sure you did it correctly.
If they catch any mistakes prior to submitting it, they can help correct them without delaying your application.
Finally, if you have any questions about the sealed passport adjudicated envelope, see Passport Checklists or call 877-910-7277.