Passport Renewal Timeline Woes
September 24, 2016 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I got accepted to speak at a conference in Canada. Yay! My passport has expired. Boo. Regular passport renewal is 6 weeks. The conference is 49 days from now.

I could do an expedited one, but it looks like I need to provide proof of travel - I have no tickets yet, and since I work for a small government agency ticket purchase is going to take a while to get through the system.

So, my question: do I just do a regular timeline passport renewal and hope for the best? Is that 6 weeks I keep seeing a hard number? Do I wait until the travel goes through and do expedited? Or is a letter of acceptance enough proof of pending travel?

My expired passport is in perfect condition, in my hand. I was older than 15 when I got it and it expired 2 years ago.
posted by dirtdirt to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, and this is about the intricacies of the US Passport system.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2016


> I could do an expedited one, but it looks like I need to provide proof of travel - I have no tickets yet, and since I work for a small government agency ticket purchase is going to take a while to get through the system.

Book or hold a ticket on any airline (say United) and cancel it within 24 hours for no penalty. Print the ticket before you cancel. Also include your letter of acceptance.
posted by special-k at 7:50 AM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since you need it in six weeks but not under three, it looks like you don't need to give a reason/supply proof of travel per the State Department website. You just pay the $60 expediting fee.

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/services/expedited.html
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 7:50 AM on September 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


HonoriaGlossop has it. There's basically always a way to get your passport renewed, provided you're willing to pay for the service.
posted by xingcat at 7:58 AM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Call the passport office and ask if the letter of acceptance & an approval for travel from your office is sufficient proof of travel date for the renewal, but expedited should do.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:12 AM on September 24, 2016


I am just going through this! I have a flight to Dublin in 3 weeks and 2 days. Go to this US passport site (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/services/expedited.html) and call the number at the top right. You'll speak to a very friendly AND helpful representative who'll assuage your fears and guide you through the process and give you some tips along the way (mail from USPS b/c others don't deliver to a PO box).

Net net, on Wednesday, I just filled out the form, got my picture taken at CVS, wrote out a $190.66 check (eek!) and overnighted at USPS with my original passport. The phone representative assured me that the normal expedited process over the mail had a MAX return to my doorstep in 3 weeks. Here's hoping that I get my passport before I need to fly in mid October.

Proof of travel is only required if you need to go to the passport office in person for the expedited expedited process. With your time line, you can do everything over snail mail.
posted by ellerhodes at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2016


I just renewed my US passport. I did not pay for expedited service but got the new one in in the mail about two weeks. I've heard from many people that 2-3 weeks is very common. Me, I'd chance it, and do regular renewal.
posted by Pineapplicious at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2016


Anecdotally, I just renewed my passport - NOT expedited - and got the new one in the mail in a week and a half.
posted by amro at 9:25 AM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I paid for expedited (but not emergency) for a renewal back in May (so the kind that doesn't require proof of upcoming travel) and I got mine in about a week and a half too. Expedited is probably not necessary, but if the cost isn't prohibitive it may be worth shelling out for the peace of mind.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2016


I got an expedited passport in 6 hours by going in person with proof of travel - I went (with an appointment!) on Friday and was leaving Sunday. This was in NYC, and it cost $120 I think? Not reccomended per se, but it worked.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2016


My husband and I got our passports expedited for a trip to Canada without prof of travel, as we were driving. So that requirement is definitely flexible.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2016


Go to Walgreens or somewhere that does them professionally to get your passport photo done, don't try to do it yourself. I did it for two friends and both of them came back because of the passport photo. That way your photo won't delay the process.
posted by just asking at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2016


What state are you in? Some US states can issue extended drivers' licenses that are good for travel to the US and Mexico, and renewing a drivers' license can be much quicker than passports.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:00 PM on September 24, 2016


Scratch that - those are only good for land/sea travel, so it wouldn't work in your case unless you fly to a border city.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:03 PM on September 24, 2016


Make a fake plane ticket and present it for expedited passport renewal
posted by Kwadeng at 12:16 AM on September 26, 2016


If it's any consolation, I just got my passport in the mail delivered yesterday! Not too shabby. :)
posted by ellerhodes at 3:11 PM on October 1, 2016


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