Passport? We don't need no stinkin' passport. Oh wait, we do.
March 1, 2015 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Fastest way to get a U.S. passport renewed for a child under 18?

I searched but didn't find anything recent on this. What is the fastest way to get a U.S. passport renewed in this situation:

- passport is for someone who is under 18
- travel plans have not been made but travel will likely happen in about 4 weeks, which is cutting it close to the 3 week timeline for expedited passports

So, is it faster to go ahead and book the flights and then go to a place in person and get a new passport? If so, what cities have offices where you can get a passport the same day?

Also, what about courier services like these? This one says it only works for people over 16. I can chat them and ask them but also, wanted to know if anyone has used a service like this? Is it a scam? Or is it worth the money to have them do the application for you?
posted by dawkins_7 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
You probably don't need a service, see here. You can try filling out the forms and taking the passport holder, the documents and the travel documents to a main passport office. They also have a 1-877 number you can call listed here.

(Edit to add, sorry, didn't see you already knew about expedited service. Try calling and see if you can get faster service in person at a main office.)
posted by beowulf573 at 8:05 AM on March 1, 2015

Best answer: I did this two days ago for my 16 year old; no lie. The fastest way to do it IN PERSON is to make an online appointment for an expedited passport at your local State Department Passport Agency. I went to this one in Boston. I needed a copy of my kid's airline ticket, dated for 3 weeks away. Got the passport while I waited.

According to the website, a non-emergency passport will be mailed within 8 business days. You'll be fine.**

**All custodial parents need to come OR you need a signed waiver if one of the parents isn't there.
posted by kinetic at 8:05 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I recently applied to renew my ten year old's passport. I paid for expedited service and then realized that not even that service would get the document back to me in time to arrange visas. I wasn't close enough to a main passport office to arrange a visit. I asked my local congress person for help and I had the passport in three days.
posted by firstdrop at 8:13 AM on March 1, 2015

Mr. BlahLaLa did it in person in L.A. and got the passport in 24 hours. We made an appointment, we had to BOTH come in to get it rolling, and then the next day one of us went back and picked it up. Pay close attention to the both parents requirements -- if you're not both going to be there in person there are more hoops to jump through.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:21 AM on March 1, 2015

Bring cash.

Make sure all custodial parents are in attendance, or have a letter signed by any custodial parent not in attendance granting explicit permission for the passport renewal with the signature witnessed and stamped by a notary.

Have your renewal application filled out and ready to go.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:27 AM on March 1, 2015

Regional passport agencies
posted by ersatzkat at 9:05 AM on March 1, 2015

About the parental signature requirement, the form for an absentee custodial parent needs to be NOTARIZED. I just remembered when I did this a few years back; I didn't have that form for their absentee dad and I couldn't get the passports renewed.
posted by kinetic at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2015

Best answer: The last time I needed a passport quick (2012) we got them for the whole family expedited by going to the our local capital city (Portland) and they took about a week and a half to show up. If I went down to San Francisco, they said they could issue them within 24hrs.
posted by mathowie at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2015

Capital city, Mathowie? :)

OP, how old is the child? Are both parents available?
posted by purenitrous at 4:07 PM on March 1, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I was asking for a friend and I think she's all set. Both parents will be able to go to the appt at the regional office tomorrow. Sounds like the courier service company would just complicate things further.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:46 PM on March 1, 2015

Just a comment that it's not either/or. You can start the expedited version now (and they are pretty reliable about 3 weeks door-to-door) and if the tracking information is not forthcoming, you can do the in-person thing, which I think is reserved for those with actual travel plans within two weeks. Not that they won't let you, but it seems like it would save a lot of trouble. We did an expedited passport for my minor son and it took less than two weeks.
posted by wnissen at 11:19 AM on March 2, 2015

Response by poster: Just wanted to follow up and let you know what worked best:

So the first thing was to call and get the earliest available appointment. That meant calling a few different locations and seeing what was available. This meant the difference in getting an appointment today vs. two weeks from today.

Then, after they booked an appointment, we called our local congress person. In our case, they connected us right away to the "passport person" who walked us through the process. They will expedite the passport and it should be here in a few days.

Thanks again for the tips. Mefites are the best.
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:46 PM on March 2, 2015

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