How do I get my adult child’s passport in 27 days?
February 17, 2022 2:59 PM   Subscribe

My family had an overseas trip booked in just under four weeks (we are in the US-American citizens). Several months ago, we realized my adult daughter no longer had her passport. It was destroyed in the 2020 oregon wildfires. We then learn that victims of that disaster can take new pics, fill out a form, and have it replaced for free. Sweet-but now it’s been rejected twice…

First time we get an obscure letter saying that our request was related to inaccurate information on the passport that we wanted to be corrected. Daughter resubmits. We now can tell online it was rejected again, though we have to wait up to 10 days to find out why.

There is a phone number listed on the website and in our letter that says we can call to speak to customer service representatives. But no way through the phone tree that either of us have found.

We now have decided to just do regular process and pay-except we just have a few weeks, we have to now wait for a new copy of her birth certificate, and I’m panicking. Someone advised we contact our congressperson. We can wait til the week before and try to get an appointment in Seattle-that’s six hours away from us.

Any tricks? Anyone know how to get an actual person on the phone?
posted by purenitrous to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going through passport hell right now too! It's impossible to get anyone from the passport department on the phone or through email - contacting your congressperson's office is the way to go. It's super weird but they're like the secret customer service agents for this stuff. They can directly contact people at the passport office and they'll have someone on staff whose job it is to fix this for you.

Also FYI, you can get passport appointments at many post offices: check here to find the site closest to you, it might be closer than Seattle.
posted by theodolite at 3:08 PM on February 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

I got a passport issued same day in 2019 by traveling to the nearest US passport office - for me, Buffalo NY. My senator's office helped me get the appointment and sort out what documentation I needed (in my case, it was a work trip so I needed a letter from my employer attesting to the need for a speedy issue). theodolite is correct, your local congressperson/senator's office will have a staff of people whose job it is to help constituents with this kind of thing. I made friends so to speak with the woman assigned to me, and when it was done, I wrote my senator a letter praising her efforts.

While waiting in the Buffalo office I chatted with a nice couple also waiting for expedited service; they were traveling to the Bahamas for fun and she lost her passport. You'll need proof of your upcoming trip (airline itinerary) along with the usual personal documents. I brought everything they asked for and it was a pretty smooth process. I showed up at 8am, and came back at 3 to pick up the passport.

This can be done. Try making an appointment at the passport office closest to you and go from there. Definitely reach out to your elected officials for help.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:44 PM on February 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

There are a few one day passport places, I know Tucson has one. San Francisco has o e.
Here is the list, for travel within 5 days, so surely they also have info.
posted by Oyéah at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2022

Call and email your congress-critter. You don't need to wait for an appointment. I had a major surgery kind of last-minute and didn't realize my passport was expired. I tried everything, and the only thing that worked was the glorious staff at my congress-person's office. They got me an appointment to get a passport in-person in just a few days. I never had to see the congresswoman, and I suspect she never even knew about it--the staff worked their magic.
posted by liminal_shadows at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Editing to add I'm not 100% sure if your congress-person's office will be as accommodating, but I had called and called the passport offices (and talked to real people and they couldn't help), so I would try the elected official route. They really did help me, and they were fast and kind
posted by liminal_shadows at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2022

Buy a refundable airline ticket for international travel in the next 2 weeks (I'd suggest 12 calendar days from today). Call the US Passport agency (number is in the "urgent international travel" section of this page). Tell them your name and the confirmation code for your airline ticket. They will give you a list of appointment options for going in person to the Passport Agency closest to you. The appointment will need to be within 5 business days of the date of your travel, although you can make the phone call to schedule it within 2 weeks of the date of your travel. Receive your passport, the same day if you're lucky. Cancel your airline ticket and get a full refund. (Southwest has excellent policies for this. Get an Anytime ticket, it will be fully refundable until 10 minutes before departure time.)
posted by danceswithlight at 5:05 PM on February 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

N-thing Congressperson. The people who are saying they had same-day etc. -- this was before Covid. Several of my friends and colleagues have been in passport hell over the past year, and Congressperson was the solution in all but one of their cases (in one case a middle of the night fluke appointment 7 hours away yielded results).
posted by virve at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding if you are near a passport office to go there. I got mine in a day doing that as well.
posted by creiszhanson at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2022

We went through this with my passport last year, and nthing the Congressperson as the way to go. The official US webpage about getting you US passport fast is here--I recommend calling ASAP to get an appointment now. You can always cancel it--we got an appointment for me, and ended up cancelling it after the Congressperson angle worked and my passport appeared.
posted by telophase at 10:34 AM on February 18, 2022

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