How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport?

Friday, June 3, 2011


With the summer travel season underway, my guess is that there are plenty of travelers who, in the midst of packing, suddenly realize they forgot to get a new or renewed passport. Which begs the question: How long does it take to get a passport?


According to the Department of State, if you apply for routine service — which costs $165 for new passports and $140 for renewals — processing takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application.


If you’re in a bind and need it quicker, for an extra $60 payable to Uncle Sam, you can request expedited service and have your passport in 2-3 weeks door-to-door (when overnight delivery is requested and paid for both ways to and from the passport agency).


What happens when you go to take your passport out of your sock drawer — yes, that’s where I keep mine; no, I can’t think of anywhere else more secure — and you realize you left it hidden under that floorboard in your old apartment?

Thankfully, there are a plethora of passport companies that promise to get you a new one from anywhere from two weeks to, in some cases, overnight. A Google search for “expedited passports” returns 1.5 million hits for such services. Shop around, read reviews, and find one that fits your needs and budget. You can expect these companies to charge around $100 for a two-week turnaround, to around $300 for overnight.


The bottom line? Getting a valid passport isn’t like doing your taxes or going to the doctor: It’s not something you should put off. Go right now, check your passport, and make sure you have it and that it’s valid. The last thing you want to do is be stuck with travel plans and not actually get to go.

For full information on processing times, fees, and document requirements, visit the official Passports section of the Department of State’s website here.

  • Marc Whinery

    There was no mention of getting one while overseas (most probably a renewal). For me, I’ve never had it take longer than 2 weeks, only 1 week is standard. Though they charge the cost of expedited for it, it is really quick. I guess they have their system set up to assume anyone wanting a US passport from abroad is in an emergency, and not a permanent resident of that location.

    They won’t promise that level of speed, but the overseas applications are separate, so even when people complain about backlogs in the US, they are still just as fast outside.

    Insert a joke about leaving the US to get better US government service here.

  • Randy Miller

    I need an expedited passport renewal from the US embassy in Santiago Chile, what is the minimum number of days to get this accomplished?

  • V Passporte

    Great article.  Gives a pretty well rounded explanation of the different timelines there are with the different options in getting a passport.  You can find more information about it here:

  • Brennan

    This article is quite silly.. You can actually get a passport the day you apply just go to the local regional passport center shell out a couple hundred bucks and voila you can travel. Easy.

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