Urgent Travel Passport Renewal turnaround time lately?
August 23, 2021 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Specifically the Chicago passport office, if anyone has recent experience there. My passport is expired and the first/only Urgent Travel renewal appointment I was able to get is 10:30am on the day I fly out of town (Friday 9/3). My flight is at 6pm.

Is it actually humanly possible AND likely that my passport will have a 5-6 hour turnaround time? Not looking to explain why I'm in this pickle, just looking for answers from people who've done the Urgent Travel renewal in the last 6-12 months and can tell me how long it took from their appointment time until they received their new passport.

If it's possible for this to actually happen, hooray! If it's not, well, boo - but I had already resigned myself to eating some costs of the trip if I tested positive for Covid anyway, so I just want to figure out (soon) if I need to start canceling reservations or just planning for a later start date for my trip, or call it a wash and embrace my staycation.

If you're tempted to tell me I should have planned for this earlier, or that I shouldn't be traveling now anyway, or anything that will make you feel virtuous but does not answer the actual question... PLEASE COULD YOU NOT.
posted by All hands bury the dead to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I've heard about people joining a Facebook group about the topic and being able to get earlier appointments due to the assistance of the people in the group.
posted by xo at 5:36 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don’t know how quickly or how often this works anymore since COVID, but in the before times you could contact the field (home state) office of your US Senator or House Representative to request an expedited passport via their constituent services staff (and it didn’t have to be a matter of life or death…I had a colleague who was able to get rapid turnaround—days, not a week or more—for an last minute business trip). Worth it to try reaching out.
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have an acquaintance who had a similar situation but it was at the Seattle airport and it was in 2017. She also was very uncertain that she'd get her passport on time, her appointment was also the day of her flight, and they got her in and out really fast, with time to spare. So... it seems that it is possible. Hopefully this is still the case, and in Chicago as well.
posted by happy_cat at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might try going there towards the end of the day, being super polite and seeing if they'll take you without an appointment after everyone else. That used to be a thing; I don't know if it still is.
posted by trig at 6:11 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: I know of this office being used in 2021, but before Delta. Dicey. It should be quick. If you have an urgent travel appointment, make it to the appointment with everything you need and have proof of travel, they’re supposed to accommodate your level of urgency. Bring backups of everything (multiple payment methods, backup passport photos, old passport, multiple copies of required paperwork.) I’m nervous posting this in case something different happens and your trip is ruined, but that’s my data point.
posted by michaelh at 6:16 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: Yes. Possible. My partner had an appointment at the Portsmouth NH office in June and picked up her finished passport an hour or so later. Not even for same-day travel. Getting the appointment was the hard part.
posted by ambulanceambiance at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2021

I've used this expedition service in the recent past with success. Total time from shipping them the passport information to receiving the new passport was less than 1 week. It's not cheap, but effective.

I would call them and discuss your situation and see if they can help.

Edit: *recent past was pre-covid, not sure that matters.
posted by wile e at 12:23 AM on August 24, 2021


Here is a New York magazine article on it - it shouldn't shouldn't pay walled but I believe you are limited to a certain number of articles per month.
posted by jello at 9:59 AM on August 24, 2021

Best answer: It looks like the office closes at 3, and you will 100% get your passport that same day. Be prepared to go straight from the office to the airport. Be very polite and appreciative to everyone at the office, they will get it done for you.

Source; have done this twice, but in NYC.
posted by nancynickerson at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2021

Best answer: I've done the same. Yes. They take your stuff. Verify ID. Review application. Then give you a proof (ticket, etc) to go back through security and skip the longer first line at the appointed time to return. You go up and they hand you your passport. I've both gotten a renewal and had pages sewn in and in both cases it was maybe an hour wait from end of stage 1 to passport in hand. Follow MichaelH excellent advice on taking everything and then some and you'll be just fine.
posted by chasles at 2:39 PM on August 24, 2021

Response by poster: OMG IT WORKED! Currently on my flight out, thank you to all who answered this super-resolved question.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 4:04 PM on September 3, 2021

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