What companies/businesses do you know about that are reliable that will provide emergency replacement passports reliably?
February 24, 2011 10:26 PM   Subscribe

Passport emergency - My sister's passport seems to have gotten lost in the mail, and she needs to get a new one immediately - like, within the next day, or on Saturday. What companies/businesses do you know about that are reliable that will do this service for her?

Ok, so my sister is travelling to Pakistan next Tuesday, and the Pakistani embassy seems to have misplaced her passport. She needs a replacement immediately. I searched online, and there are a number of companies that offer to get replacement passports done within 24 hours, but I have no idea if any of them are reliable or not. Has anyone been in this situation, or known anyone in this situation, and can direct me to one of these companies that'll get us the passport by Friday?

Cost is only sorta an issue; I know we're looking at around $500 for the replacement passport.

Thanks so much in advance!
posted by jabronimus to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where does she live? If she can get to a Passport Agency, she'll be getting a replacement from the government directly, for a $60 expedited fee.
posted by asterix at 10:32 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The quickest and easiest way if you live local to a major agency is to go to it, wait in line with the docs, pay the fee and get it done, I've known people to fly to the nearest city with an agency, spend the day and then fly home.

Otherwise I have had excellent success with CIBT, but their turn around time is typically 2 days, you'll need to give them a call to see how fast they can do it.
posted by iamabot at 10:53 PM on February 24, 2011

I used CIBT last year. They did it in 5 days but have faster options for more money.
posted by LarryC at 11:04 PM on February 24, 2011

Try TravelDocs.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 11:18 PM on February 24, 2011

If you get stuck, calling your representative might help. My cousin was in a similar situation and her congressmen really came through. He put a few calls through and rapidly accelerated the process.
posted by JimmyJames at 11:43 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Those services don't do anything fancy. They are expensive middle men.

I think you have two options. Overnighting all the paper work like described here or walking into a passport office and getting it same day or next day.

I don't know where your sister is located but flying into DC (or other closest passport office) is certainly an option.
posted by zephyr_words at 4:53 AM on February 25, 2011

If your sister wants to hire a company to do this instead of going to a passport agency herself, the fastest company for her to work with will probably be one located in her area, as dropping off and picking up her materials in person will save the time of overnight mail each way. Also, in case this is helpful, I found Intercontinental Visa Service reliable when I needed a last minute visa to Brazil. They also do passport replacement - here is the info.
posted by unsub at 5:40 AM on February 25, 2011

My super huge employer uses CIBT.
posted by smackfu at 6:17 AM on February 25, 2011

I used A Briggs for an expedited visa and found them reliable (that is, not a scam, and did what they said they'd do). I wanted the startdate on the visa to be a few months postponed instead of the date of application, and I didn't get that, but I think that was a governmental mixup and not A Briggs's fault. For a plain old expedited passport I think they'd be fine.
posted by brainwane at 6:27 AM on February 25, 2011

My sister just had a very poor experience with CIBT last week, so I recommend against them. The details as I understand them are below if you're interested:

The order was for an expedited passport with a two week lead time. The Friday afternoon before the passport was due in, a CIBT rep emailed, asking to be forwarded the travel itinerary; she then called and said there was a backup, so the passport couldn't be ready in time. She suggested the traveler change her international plane ticket departure date. lol?

My sister called the state department, and the person at the state department was confused about the supposed "backup"--she looked up the application, and said that the passport could be picked up, or mailed out next mail pickup day (which, because of president's day, was Tuesday). The CIBT rep handling the order made a lot of mistakes (said it was impossible to get the passport on time when it wasn't, said that the applicant's personal credit card "didn't go through" when payment was though a large business account--her cc wasn't included with the application). The rep was rude; somehow they picked up the passport before Monday(?), and on Monday she insisted on my sister just using her personal credit card to pay instead of using the business account, and refused to mail the passport that they had in their possession until they got the personal cc#. There was some additional charge (>$100) levied for the "rush", which made the whole thing feel like a scam. (Because it was the 11th hour, normally you wouldn't pay extra for crummy service. But when they've got your passport and you're traveling within the week, what else are you going to do but pay?) The Houston manager (where the rep was based), David, was worse. He said the state department "probably lied [about the passport being available] to get you off their back" (even though the caller wasn't rude on the phone with CIBT, let alone the very helpful woman at the state dept), and called the adult woman he was talking to "little lady," which is awfully patronizing.

A cheap plane ticket to NYC and to visit the passport agency would have been easier and less stressful. Is your sister flying out of a city with an office that issues passports on site?

This is just one anecdote, and I know many people have used CIBT without any problems (which is why the off service was so puzzling). But with so little time for your sister to get her passport, I wouldn't risk the chance of them screwing things up. Good luck!
posted by neda at 6:58 AM on February 25, 2011

Seriously, $500? Rip off. As mentioned, plane fare to the nearest passport office is probably cheaper.

Go into the nearest emergency office, look up all the documents she'll need ahead of time (can't emphasize that enough!) and bring 'em all with (including birth certificate, the last time I had to renew mine).
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:52 AM on February 25, 2011

My boyfriend got his passport replaced directly at the local Passport Agency last year; he scheduled a next-day appointment, had to bring pictures and show proof of our travel itinerary, and had the passport delivered by courier at home the following day. It cost more than $60 but nowhere near $500 for sure.
posted by halogen at 10:56 AM on February 25, 2011

Even if your sister gets her passport replaced, what makes her think the Pakistani officials will give her a new visa in time? FYI, airline staff on flights into Pakistan (from Schengen zone countries, and from Dubai) will check your visa status before you get on the plane... You're not gonna land in Lahore or Islamabad without a visa and have a good time of it.
posted by thewalrus at 4:44 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

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