Fast Passport Renewal NYC
August 22, 2022 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Hi all, I looked in the archives and I think I need up to date Pandemic times advice. I had let my passport expire but it is still in the window of time to renew it rather than re-apply. I have a potential international trip coming up in mid September that is important to me and I would love to make it happen.

Does anyone have tips on how I might get my passport renewed in time to leave NYC on the 13th? I am not sure if I should find an expediting service (are they scams??) or just send in my application today via mail and pay the fee for expedited and hope it gets back in time? I can’t get through the information line to make an in person appointment. Advice appreciated!
posted by catrae to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
I just renewed by mail and paid for expedited service. I mailed ît on July 25th and got it back Aug 12th. I think you can get an in person appt if you have travel booked within 2 weeks.
posted by sulaine at 7:19 AM on August 22, 2022

Wait-times and delays have been very long recently for anything passport related. We paid for expedited service and had one (of three) delayed until the last possible moment just a couple of months ago. I was lighting up the State Department on Twitter (they respond via DMs) and was starting to get my Senator's office involved - most of them have "passport assistance" as one of the services offered to constituents. In-person appointments were not an option for us unless we were willing to fly to Miami or (lol) Honolulu for them; one in Atlanta got claimed while were booking it on the phone. It was completely gonzo. We got it, but literally the day before international travel. Way too close for my comfort.
posted by jquinby at 7:25 AM on August 22, 2022

Three weeks is cutting it way too close unless you can get an in person appointment or book refundable tickets. You should keep trying to get an appointment. The phone lines are only open 8am-10pm Eastern Monday-Friday.
posted by soelo at 7:35 AM on August 22, 2022

Best answer: I’d suggest that you start calling at 8am exactly 14 days before your trip departure date. Keep calling until you reach a live operator. If they say no appointment available at the New York passport agency, you can ask if they can look for anything in Connecticut, Boston, Philly or DC (if you can travel there without too much trouble). On the call, they will only ask for last name, your departure date and city of birth to create a unique confirmation code. They don’t need any other details.

Once you get an appointment, collect your documents, print out your itinerary and show up at 7:30am even if your appointment is for later in the day. They just want to see that you have an appointment for the day and they will let you in. If your docs are good, you will be able to get a passport the same day, usually around 11am or noon. I just did this at the Washington DC passport agency earlier this month. They were really helpful and the process was straightforward (as long as you can get an appointment).

Do not use any of the private passport expedite agencies, they are no faster than doing it yourself.
posted by thewildgreen at 9:04 AM on August 22, 2022

Best answer: I had to do this twice recently in order to get an appointment in Boston and then change that appointment; things may be a little less crazy now with summer travel mostly over but here's what worked for me in June:

I believe that they release appointments ten business days out. You should call the phone line exactly at 8am Eastern and you will probably get a message that they are unable to connect you because too many people are on the line. Keep trying to call back every time you get this message; it helps to have two phones so that you can call more frequently. In my experience it takes about twenty minutes to eventually enter get through and enter the queue, and then once you're in the queue it's another 25 minutes to wait. I recommend that if you get an offer for a call-back to decline and stay on the line as their call-back system failed me once, but ymmv. Once you finally get through all of their agents are very helpful.
posted by bergamot and vetiver at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2022

Best answer: Forgot to add -- in my experience you can call more than fourteen days ahead of your travel, but your appointment has to be within two weeks of the travel date. (The website is a bit unclear on this point iirc.) So one should start calling (fourteen days + ten business days) out.
posted by bergamot and vetiver at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Especially if you have certified copies of your birth certificate and any other supporting documents (marriage license, name change, naturalization papers), I think you should do both. Overnight your application today (use FedEx if necessary, USPS has very early cutoffs, like noon in many places, vs. 5 p.m.) for expedited service. Turnaround is pretty quick these days, even regular service is taking 6 ish weeks with First Class. And then also try to get an appointment. One of them should work.
posted by wnissen at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2022

Best answer: I have done emergency passport renewals twice. In NYC maybe 20 years ago and maybe in Connecticut (I think I must have been driving NYC to Boston and did it on the way). In NYC there were a lot more people and I feel like in CT there was almost no one, but in the end I think it took about the same amount of time altogether between going in and walking out with a passport. It is totally doable and I think worth the expense to wait until you are within the upcoming travel time to do the emergency service and get it same day.
posted by snofoam at 11:12 AM on August 22, 2022

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