The US passport processing time can take several days or weeks, depending on the method of application. The entire passport acquisition process can last a month or more, particularly for applicants who must acquire the necessary documents first. However, the US passport wait time is not purposefully slow. The processing time includes time to mail an application in, confirm the information on the packet, produce a new passport and mail it back. This can take several weeks, particularly with a backlog.
Of course, the standard U.S. passport processing time can be a hindrance if you need your passport sooner. Luckily, the State Department has options for expediting your US passport application. Depending on your level of need, you can get your passport within eight business days. In cases of life-or-death emergencies, you can get a same day US passport from the Department of State. The sections below describe the processing time, including how long you can expect to wait for your passport.
The regular US passport processing time is four to six weeks, but it can take longer for first-time applicants. Before you can submit your passport application, you must first gather all the necessary legal documents for your application. This can include long-form birth certificates, certificates of naturalization or citizenship, government-issued photo IDs and passport photos. Acquiring all of these documents can be a time-consuming process.
After the documents have been acquired, complete the application process at a passport acceptance facility. The U.S. passport wait time begins once the employee takes your application and your part of the process is done. The passport will be mailed to a passport agency, which can take several days depending on your location. When the passport arrives, agents will examine your application. They will confirm your citizenship, identity and passport history.
If agents find any signs of fraud or incorrect applications, then they will investigate further. Do not forget to include any documents or fail to fill out your application correctly, as that will affect the US passport processing time. Your application will be delayed and even denied if you leave information out or include incorrect information. Double check your entire application before sending it in to avoid delays.
The standard US passport processing time can take more than a month. If you need your passport sooner, then you can request that the application is expedited. An expedited passport request will take priority over non-expedited requests. Expediting your U.S. passport will result in a faster processing time so that you receive your passport in two to four weeks rather than four to six weeks. Expediting your passport through the Department of State will cost an additional $60.
Requesting an expedited passport will speed up the processing time at the passport agency. You can additionally request a faster mail service to deliver your application and have your passport delivered by one-to-two-day mail. This can decrease the US passport wait time by up to a week. To do so, pay for one-to-two-day delivery at the acceptance facility or post office where you submit your application. Additionally, pay a $15.95 fee for the Department to mail it back with one-to-two-day mail delivery.
There is yet another option to expedite a passport application even faster. It requires an in-person visit to a passport agency. However, this option is only available if you have urgent travel plans. If you have an international trip scheduled in two weeks or require a visa in four weeks, then you are eligible. Call the nearest passport agency and make an appointment for an expedited passport. Arrive directly at the passport agency with all your necessary documents for your application. You will also need to provide evidence of impending travel plans. This can be in the form of a plane ticket or hotel reservations. Your passport will be processed and completed at the agency within eight business days. With this option, your US passport wait time will be less than two weeks.
For life-or-death emergencies, the Department of State will shorten the US passport processing time to allow for a same-day US passport. This is exclusively for matters in which an immediate family member is dead, dying or gravely injured. You will not be issued a same-day U.S. passport from the Department of State if you are not facing a life-or-death emergency.
Requesting a same-day passport requires completing the regular application process, including providing all documents required. You must also provide additional documents proving that an immediate relative is sick or dead. This can be in the form of a certified death certificate or a signed note from a hospital. Make an appointment at a passport agency and arrive as soon as possible with your application and documents.
You may require assistance expediting your US passport if you do not qualify for an appointment at a passport agency. In that case, you can use a third-party passport service to speed up the US passport processing time. A third-party service can help you acquire your passport in as little as one business day after a successful application. Rates range from $109 for a passport in 10 to 14 business days, to $409 for a passport in one business day.