Flights to international destinations have been incredibly cheap lately. It can sometimes be cheaper to fly across the pond than it is to fly to your neighboring state. But it takes a little planning to make sure you have the appropriate documents for an international trip. If you’ve delayed getting a passport and need one for a last-minute trip, it’s still possible.

Follow These Steps to Get an Expedited Passport

Depending on how quickly you need your passport to be processed, it can cost an arm and a leg or a somewhat reasonable charge. For that last-minute trip abroad, expect to pay a pretty penny if you need to get a passport within 24 hours. To save some money, make sure you start the process to obtain your passport as early as possible.

Passport Processing Times and Fees

  • Routine: 6-8 weeks
  • Expedited: 2-3 weeks
  • Agency or Center: 8 Business days or less

Routine passport turnaround time is between 6-8 weeks. If you don’t have any international travel plans in the next 2 months, this is the most cost-effective way to get a passport as it doesn’t involve any extra fees. The application fee for first-time applicants of a U.S. Passport Book is $110 plus a $35 acceptance fee. The application fee for children under 16 is $80. For a total of $145, you can get a passport as long as you apply in advance. First-time applicants must apply at an acceptance facility. If you are simply renewing an existing passport, you may be eligible to renew by mail.

If time is of the essence, you’ll need to expedite the processing by paying an additional fee. Expedited service costs $60, which will speed up the actual processing of the passport to 8 business days, but this does not include the mailing of your passport and documents. For an additional $17.13, you can pay to have your completed passport mailed to you with 1-2 day delivery. Note: This does not mean your passport will be completed in 1-2 days, just that it will be mailed in that amount of time once it is completed.

Related: 7 Items to Protect Your Passport

How to Get a Last-Minute or Emergency Passport

last-minute expedited emergency rush passport

If you are traveling internationally within 2 weeks, you’ll need to make an appointment with a Passport Agency or Center and bring proof of immediate travel along with the application forms and necessary documents to the appointment. You’ll also have to pay the expedite fee and be prepared to spend most of the day at the agency. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early and keep in mind that you may have to return either later that day or possibly at a later date to pick-up your completed passport.

For emergencies such as serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family, you can apply for an emergency passport to travel within 72 hours (3 days). Call 1-877-827-2778 to schedule an appointment and plan to bring all supporting documents including proof of the life-or-death emergency.

Use a Courier Service for an Expedited Passport

If you do not live near and/or are unable to visit a Passport Agency and need to get a Passport as quickly as possible, you can choose to pay a private courier or passport expeditor to submit a passport application on your behalf. It should be noted that these companies are not part of the U.S. Department of State and you may not receive a passport any quicker than applying in person at a Passport Agency. First-time applicants are still required to appear in person at an acceptance facility to verify identity and sign the application in front of an Acceptance Agent before sending a passport application for processing by an expeditor.

Some expeditor companies can process passport renewals in as little as 24 hours, but can cost upwards of $450. The fees drop slightly if have a few days to spare and become somewhat reasonable if you don’t need your passport within one week. If you don’t have time to spend at a Passport Agency and need an immediate passport, try a courier service such as RushMyPassport, PassportVisasExpress, or G3 Global Services. Make sure to read the fine print to ensure you follow the correct procedures in order to get your passport in time.

Related: Global Entry vs TSA Precheck: Which is Better?

Where Can I Apply for a Passport in Person?

passport handed over at counter

Travelers can make an appointment to apply for or renew their passports at special passport agencies located around the U.S. Expedited service is available for an additional $60 fee and requires proof that you plan to travel within the next 14 days. Appointments can be made online or via telephone at 1-877-487-2778 (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY).

What is a Passport Acceptance Facility?

Passport acceptance facilities have been approved by the U.S. government to receive passport applications on its behalf. Though these usually tend to be post offices, they sometimes include local public libraries, clerks of court, and other local government facilities.

You can find your nearest passport acceptance facility by searching the U.S. Department of State site.

Related: Passport Holders from These 16 Other Countries Can Also Apply for Global Entry

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