What's the absolute fastest way to renew a US passport?
July 6, 2010 9:23 AM   Subscribe

What's the absolute fastest way to renew a US passport?

I just realized my passport is expired, and I have a flight at 2 PM tomorrow. I'm going to have to book another flight and catch up with the rest of my family -- what's the fastest service I can use to get my passport renewed?
posted by tweebiscuit to Law & Government (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I looked to schedule an appointment at New York's Regional Passport Facility, but the first appointment was July 16th, ten days from now (thus, too late.) I checked at http://www.rushmypassport.com/, but they said that the soonest they could get me a passport was by Friday, since most of their available slots are taken. Anyone know of a similar service that's reliable?
posted by tweebiscuit at 9:24 AM on July 6, 2010

Part of my work inevitably deals with difficult passport issues; my company works with PVS International, who are pretty great. I would give them a call and ask about expediting. They are in DC, but might be able to help you with a quick turnaround. It advertises same-day services
posted by quadrilaterals at 9:33 AM on July 6, 2010

(Their website says,"PVS International provides rush/same day deliveries of passports and documents to most US destinations. Passports can also be hand-delivered to your airport departure gate.")
posted by quadrilaterals at 9:34 AM on July 6, 2010

Considering today is already Tuesday, I'd say Friday is pretty astonishingly fast, but About.com recommends a few places with 24-hour turnarounds ... have you called them all?
posted by mykescipark at 9:35 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Contact the local (state) office of your US Senator (or probably House Representative as well)...congressional offices can expedite passports very very quickly.
posted by availablelight at 9:35 AM on July 6, 2010

Keep checking for slots. I had a flight in 2 days, and in my case the passport office opened up a slot on the next day. Of course, have everything prepared, make sure your photo follows the specifications.
posted by domnit at 9:36 AM on July 6, 2010

Go to your nearest consulate in person. In fact, get there when the door opens. That is the fastest way.
posted by yoyoceramic at 9:42 AM on July 6, 2010

Stop using the website and call the State Department line to schedule an appointment over the phone. They are astonishingly good at squeezing people into last-second slots and may be able to get you in somewhere today. At the Boston office they can churn out same-day renewals and have slots reserved for desperate cases, for example. You need to talk to a human being in order to let them know your situation. This is certainly the fastest way as you don't even have time for (eg) a senator to intervene at this point, you only have about 6 "business hours" until you need to be at the airport.
posted by range at 9:44 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is certainly the fastest way as you don't even have time for (eg) a senator to intervene at this point, you only have about 6 "business hours" until you need to be at the airport.

Um, FYI, the person I know who had a passport expedited through a Senator's office (again, the state "outpost" with constituent services, no actual Senator action required) was able to get next-day turnaround for a lost passport. Granted, this was pre-9/11.
posted by availablelight at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2010

I've used Travel Document Systems several times both for urgent (same day) and non-urgent passport and visa services.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2010

My brother discovered his passport was expired one day before his flight. He showed up in the Chicago passport office at the federal building first thing in the morning. They had a meeting going on, and sent everyone down to the restaurant or something, and he decided to pay very close attention to the security guard who would be announcing that the office was open again. When the security guard came out of the elevator, and gave him a nod, he ran into the elevator, shut the door and was first in line. It took him four hours start to finish, and he made his flight that afternoon.

I don't recommend then leaving your passport in the car and going through security, like he did. lol He was one sweaty beast when he got on his plane with five minutes to spare.

Anyway, it seems that some offices work better than others. He ran into a guy who actually flew from LA to Chicago *just* to get his passport same day, and then flew back to LA to get a flight to wherever he was off to.
posted by RedEmma at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2010

By the way, this happened a month ago. So it's still possible to get a passport same day with plane ticket in hand.
posted by RedEmma at 10:16 AM on July 6, 2010

Also- call your US Congressman/woman. They can sometimes help fast track these things in certain cases.
posted by timpanogos at 10:42 AM on July 6, 2010

Try NY again. My friend canceled her appointment with them for tomorrow just this morning (she went to an office in another city last week, where she got the new passport the same day). Other people may cancel/not show up.

Apparently, if you know anyone who works on the Hill and you can get to DC, there is a passport office there for staffers and they can bring another person in as well (allegedly).
posted by Caz721 at 10:48 AM on July 6, 2010

A co-worker did this once. He found out it was expired while AT the airport checking in for his flight. His girlfriend went on the flight, he rebooked for the next day. He went directly to the local passport office (big city here) and asked for an emergency renewal. When asked 'what's the emergency?' he said, 'my girlfriend will kill me if I'm not there to meet her parents tomorrow.' He got the renewal.

Good luck.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:34 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just go straight to the nearest federal building with your passport and your tickets, first thing in the morning.
posted by clockzero at 3:51 PM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: This is all good advice! We ended up paying a document expediting service an ungodly sum to expedite it for us -- if it worked, though, it's probably worth it.
posted by tweebiscuit at 12:00 AM on July 7, 2010

Just out of curiosity, and for future reference, if you don't mind, how ungodly was the sum?
posted by crunchland at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2010

Response by poster: @crunchland -- Belatedly, I believe it was around $500. But the passport arrived on time, and the trip wasn't ruined, so I suppose it was worth it.
posted by tweebiscuit at 12:14 AM on October 28, 2010

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