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How To Expedite A Passport For Last-Minute Travel


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Rozele Kuo



Planning a last-minute trip can be exciting, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. One of the key hurdles you may encounter is obtaining a passport in time for your travel arrangements. The passport application process typically takes several weeks, but there are expedited options available for those who need their passport quickly.


In this article, we will guide you through the steps to expedite your passport application, ensuring you can embark on your last-minute adventure with ease. From determining your eligibility to tracking your application, we will cover everything you need to know to expedite your passport process.


It’s important to note that expedited processing is typically more expensive than the standard process, so it’s essential to consider this factor when planning your trip. Additionally, expedited services are available for certain situations, such as a life-or-death emergency or imminent travel within 72 hours, so make sure you meet the eligibility criteria before proceeding.


So, if you find yourself in need of a passport on short notice, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of expediting your passport application and getting ready for your last-minute adventure.


Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

The first step in expediting your passport application is to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for expedited processing. Expedited services are available for various reasons, including last-minute travel plans, emergency situations, or international business requirements.


To be eligible for expedited processing, you must provide proof of the following:

  1. Upcoming international travel within the next 14 days or within 4 weeks if a visa is required.
  2. A life-or-death emergency that requires immediate travel.
  3. International business travel with proof of imminent departure.

If you meet any of these criteria, you are likely eligible for expedited passport processing. However, it’s important to note that you may be required to provide supporting documentation or proof to substantiate your claims. It’s essential to gather all the necessary documents before moving forward with your application.


If you are uncertain about your eligibility or have unique circumstances, it’s recommended to contact the National Passport Information Center or consult with a passport agency representative to discuss your specific situation and determine the best course of action.


Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you can proceed to the next step of gathering the required documents for your expedited passport application.


Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

Once you have confirmed your eligibility for expedited passport processing, the next step is to gather all the necessary documents. Having all the required paperwork in order will help streamline the application process and ensure a smooth and efficient experience.


Here are the essential documents you will need to gather:

  1. Proof of Citizenship: This can be in the form of a certified birth certificate, previous valid U.S. passport, consular report of birth abroad, certificate of naturalization, or certificate of citizenship.
  2. Proof of Identity: You will need to provide a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
  3. Passport Application Form: Fill out Form DS-11, which is the application for a U.S. passport. This form can be completed online or printed and filled out manually.
  4. Passport Photo: You will need to have a recent passport-sized photo taken. Regulations specify size, background color, and other requirements, so it’s important to follow them carefully.
  5. Proof of Travel Plans: Provide documentation supporting your need for expedited processing, such as an itinerary, flight tickets, hotel reservations, or an official letter from your employer indicating urgent international business travel.
  6. Payment for Fees: You will be required to pay the applicable passport fees, including the expedited processing fee. Fees can be paid with a check, money order, or by credit/debit card.

It’s important to note that some documents may require additional steps or verification. For example, if you are using an expired passport as proof of citizenship, you will need to submit a signed statement explaining why you are unable to present a valid passport. Make sure to carefully read the instructions provided by the passport agency or consult with a representative for any specific requirements.


Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you are ready to move on to the next step of completing the passport application form.


Step 3: Complete the Passport Application Form

Completing the passport application form is a crucial step in the expedited passport process. Form DS-11 is the application form required for first-time applicants, minors, and individuals who do not meet certain specific criteria. It is important to provide accurate and complete information to avoid any delays or issues with your application.


Here are the steps to complete the passport application form:

  1. Choose the Application Method: You have the option to fill out the form online or print a blank form and complete it manually. The online form allows for easy editing and ensures legibility.
  2. Fill in Personal Information: Provide your full name, address, contact information, date of birth, social security number, and any other details requested in the application.
  3. Provide Travel Information: Indicate your travel plans, including the dates and destinations of your upcoming international travel. If you have a specific reason for expedited processing, such as an emergency or urgent business travel, make sure to mention it here.
  4. Select a Passport Book or Card: Choose whether you need a passport book, passport card, or both. A passport book is required for international air travel, while a passport card is only valid for land and sea travel to certain countries.
  5. Complete Family Information: Provide details about your parents, including their names, dates of birth, and places of birth. If applicable, include information about your spouse or previous marriages.
  6. Sign and Date the Application: Once you have completed all the necessary sections, sign and date the application form. Ensure that the signature matches the one on your identification document.

It’s crucial to review the application form carefully before submission to avoid any errors or missing information. Incomplete or incorrect forms can lead to delays in processing or rejection of your application. Double-check the accuracy of your personal details, travel information, and supporting documents.


After completing the application form and ensuring its accuracy, you can move on to the next step of scheduling an appointment at a passport agency to further expedite the process.


Step 4: Schedule an Appointment at a Passport Agency

To expedite your passport application, you will need to schedule an appointment at a passport agency. Passport agencies are located throughout the United States and offer in-person services for urgent passport needs.


Here are the steps to schedule an appointment at a passport agency:

  1. Visit the Passport Agency Website: Go to the official website of the U.S. Department of State and navigate to the passport agency appointment scheduling page.
  2. Enter Your Location: Enter your location information, such as your city, state, or ZIP code. The website will provide a list of nearby passport agencies and their availability.
  3. Choose a Date and Time: Select an available date and time slot that works best for you. Keep in mind the urgency of your travel plans when choosing the appointment time.
  4. Provide Applicant Information: Enter your personal details, including your name, date of birth, and contact information. You may also be required to provide your passport application number or other relevant information.
  5. Confirm the Appointment: Review the details of your appointment and confirm your selection. You may receive a confirmation email with further instructions or a confirmation number to bring to your appointment.

It’s important to note that appointment availability can vary depending on the location and time of year. It is recommended to schedule your appointment as soon as possible to secure a convenient time slot.


On the day of your appointment, make sure to arrive on time and bring all the necessary documents and payment for passport fees. Be prepared to wait, as passport agency appointments can sometimes have extended wait times due to the high demand for expedited services. Nevertheless, having a scheduled appointment ensures that your application will be processed promptly, and you can move on to the next step of visiting the passport agency.


In the next step, we will cover what to expect when visiting the passport agency and submitting your expedited passport application.


Step 5: Visit the Passport Agency

Once you have scheduled your appointment at a passport agency, it’s time to visit the agency in person to submit your expedited passport application. During your visit, you will need to bring all the required documents and fees for processing.


Here is what you can expect when visiting the passport agency:

  1. Arrival and Check-In: Arrive at the passport agency on time for your scheduled appointment. Be prepared to wait in line and go through security screening.
  2. Verification of Documents: A passport agency representative will review your documents to ensure that everything is in order. They will check the accuracy of your application form, verify your identification, and examine your supporting documents.
  3. Payment of Fees: You will be required to pay the applicable passport fees, including the expedited processing fee. Accepted forms of payment may vary depending on the agency, so it’s essential to check in advance and come prepared.
  4. Taking of Biometric Information: As part of the application process, your biometric information will be collected, including your photograph and fingerprints. The agency staff will guide you through this process.
  5. Review and Submission: Before submitting your application, take a few moments to review all the information for accuracy. Once you are satisfied, sign the necessary documents, and submit your application to the agency representative.
  6. Collecting a Receipt: After submitting your application, you will receive a receipt acknowledging the submission of your expedited passport application. This receipt will contain important information, such as a tracking number, which you can use to monitor the progress of your application.

It’s crucial to bring all the required documents, fees, and a copy of your appointment confirmation to the passport agency. Failure to provide any necessary documentation or payment may result in delays or the rejection of your application.


Once you have completed the in-person application process, you can proceed to the next step of paying the expedited fee to expedite the processing of your passport application.


Step 6: Pay the Expedited Fee

After submitting your passport application at the passport agency, the next step is to pay the expedited fee. This fee is required to ensure that your application receives priority processing and is expedited within the requested time frame.


Here’s how you can pay the expedited fee:

  1. Payment Options: Passport agencies typically accept various forms of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, checks, and money orders. It’s important to check the accepted payment methods beforehand to ensure you bring the correct form of payment.
  2. Pay at the Passport Agency: If you choose to pay the expedited fee at the passport agency, inform the agency representative that you would like to make the payment. They will guide you through the payment process and provide you with a receipt as proof of payment.
  3. Pay Online: Some passport agencies offer the option to pay the expedited fee online. Visit the official website of the U.S. Department of State and navigate to the payment portal. Follow the instructions provided to make the payment securely online.

It’s important to note that the expedited fee is in addition to the regular passport application fee. The expedited fee varies depending on the type of passport and processing time requested. Make sure to check the current fee schedule on the official website or consult with a passport agency representative to determine the exact amount you need to pay.


Once you have paid the expedited fee, you will receive a confirmation of payment. Retain this confirmation for your records, as it may be useful for reference or tracking the progress of your expedited passport application.


With the expedited fee paid, your application will receive priority processing, and you can move on to the final step of tracking your passport application to stay informed about its progress.


Step 7: Track Your Passport Application

Once you have completed all the necessary steps to expedite your passport application, it’s important to stay informed about the progress of your application and track its status. Tracking your application will allow you to have visibility into when your passport will be ready for pickup or delivery.


Here are various ways to track your passport application:

  1. Online Tracking: Visit the official website of the U.S. Department of State and navigate to the passport tracking page. Enter your last name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number. The online system will provide real-time updates on the status of your passport application.
  2. Call the National Passport Information Center: Contact the National Passport Information Center at their toll-free number to inquire about the status of your passport application. Be prepared to provide your personal information to verify your identity.
  3. Use the Passport Application Locator Number: The receipt you received when submitting your application at the passport agency contains a unique Passport Application Locator Number (PALN). You can use this number to track your application status on the official website or when speaking with customer service representatives.
  4. Contact the Passport Agency: If you have any concerns or questions regarding your passport application, you can directly contact the passport agency where you submitted your application. They will be able to provide you with specific information and updates about your application.

It’s important to remember that processing times can vary depending on factors such as the time of year, current demand, and the type of application. While expedited processing typically speeds up the turnaround time, it’s always a good idea to track your application regularly to ensure a smooth and timely process.


Once your application has been processed and your passport is ready, you will receive notification about its availability. You can then proceed to either pick up your passport in person or have it delivered to your preferred mailing address, depending on the options available at the passport agency.


With your newly expedited passport in hand, you’re now ready to embark on your last-minute travel adventure with peace of mind. Safe travels!



Obtaining a passport on short notice doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully expedite your passport application and be ready for your last-minute travel plans. Remember to determine your eligibility, gather the necessary documents, complete the application form accurately, schedule an appointment at a passport agency, and pay the expedited fee to prioritize your application. Additionally, tracking your application’s progress will help ensure a smooth and efficient process.


While expediting your passport application offers a faster turnaround time, it’s important to note that it comes with an additional cost. Be sure to factor in the expedited fee when planning your travel budget. It’s also crucial to stay organized, double-check all the requirements, and provide accurate information to avoid any potential delays or complications.


Remember to plan ahead if possible, as expedited processing is best suited for urgent situations or unforeseen travel needs. Applying for a passport well in advance of your travel plans is recommended to avoid the need for expedited services and alleviate any stress or complications that may arise.


With your passport in hand, you can embark on your last-minute travel adventure with confidence and excitement. Whether it’s for business or leisure, exploring new destinations or visiting loved ones abroad, having a valid passport allows you to make unforgettable memories and experiences in different corners of the world.


Always keep your passport in a safe place while traveling and be mindful of the expiration date to ensure its validity for future journeys. Happy travels!