How to Renew a Passport Fast

By Dan Miller · July 24, 2023 · 4 minute read

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How to Renew a Passport Fast

Standard processing time for passport renewal is between 10 and 13 weeks. While that may work for people who don’t have an international trip already planned, you may need to renew your passport faster than that.

The State Department offers a few ways to get your passport faster. One option that is available to everyone (for a fee) is Expedited service, which takes seven to nine weeks. If you have urgent travel or a life-and-death emergency that requires overseas travel, you may be able to call to get an appointment within a few days.

How Does Passport Renewal Work?

There are a few ways to renew your passport. Many people simply mail in their forms. But if your passport was issued a long time ago, damaged, or issued in a former name, you’ll need to appear at a passport processing facility in person.

In 2022, the State Department began a pilot program for citizens to renew their passports online. At the time of this writing, however, the program was paused.

If you are renewing your passport by mail, you can mail in Form DS-82, your old passport, a passport photo, and any relevant name change documentation. If you don’t qualify to renew your passport by mail, you must appear in person. You’ll need to bring Form DS-11, along with documents like proof of citizenship, identification, and two passport photos.

Average Wait Time for Passport Processing

According to the State Department, the standard wait time for processing a passport is between 10 and 13 weeks. If you choose to pay for expedited processing, it will take between seven and nine weeks. Figuring out when to renew your passport can be tricky, especially if you are a frequent international traveler or need to schedule getting a visa.

Expedited Passport Services

If waiting 10 to 13 weeks for a standard passport renewal doesn’t work for you, you have a few options. You can pay $60 for expedited service. The State Department offers additional services for emergencies and urgent travel.

How to Renew a Child’s Passport Fast

If you travel internationally with your family, you’ll need to keep your children’s passports current. This can be even harder for an adult passport. While adult passports are valid for 10 years, children’s passports are good for only five and must be renewed in-person. There are no special exemptions for renewing children’s passports fast — you’ll need to pay for expedited processing or call the State Department if you qualify for emergency- or urgent-travel processing.

Using Passport Expediters and Couriers

There are many companies that claim to be able to renew your passport fast. These companies are not part of the State Department, and you won’t get your passport any faster than if you appear in person at an official Passport Renewal Facility. Passport expediter or courier companies also charge additional fees.

Pro Tips for Getting Your Passport Fast

Regularly check your passport expiration date: Put it on your calendar once a year, tied to a larger financial or documents review. If international travel is on your agenda, don’t put off passport renewal; assume that it will take 13 weeks, and start the process ASAP.

Here are a few tips for getting your passport fast:

•  Gather all of your citizenship and identification documents.

•  If you have a life-or-death emergency or urgent international travel, you can call the State Department to get a rapid appointment.

•  If you’re renewing a young child’s passport, you’ll need both parents to appear in most circumstances.

The Takeaway

The State Department notes that passport renewal processing times are 10 to 13 weeks. You may pay an additional fee for expedited processing, which is between seven and nine weeks. If you have a life-or-death emergency or urgent international travel, you may also qualify to renew your passport fast by calling the State Department for a renewal appointment.

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Can you renew a passport online?

In 2022, the State Department began a pilot program that allowed certain people to renew their passports online. As of March 2023, that program is paused, but it may open again at some point. Courier and expediting companies that are not part of the Department of State cannot help you renew your passport online — be wary when dealing with companies that promise online passport renewal.

What happens if my passport has already expired?

If your passport expired, what happens next will depend on how long ago it expired. Generally you can still renew your passport by mail as long as it’s not more than five years out of date. After that, you will need to renew your passport by appearing in person.

What is the quickest you can get a passport renewed?

If you qualify, you may be able to get your passport renewed within 24 hours. You’ll need to show proof of a life-or-death emergency that requires urgent international travel. You’ll also need to call the State Department and hope that there are immediate renewal appointments available. If possible, do your best to plan ahead before it becomes an urgent issue.

Photo credit: iStock/Evgenia Parajanian

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