U.S. citizens are constantly wondering, ‘How long does it take to get a passport? When will I be able to travel internationally?
That little blue book of stampable pages is essential to international travel, but obtaining a passport is not always a simple process.
If you’re looking to travel outside the United States but you don’t yet own a passport, it’s important to understand the timeframe and costs for when you can expect to be passport-ready.
Check out this article if you’re not sure whether a passport is required for your trip.
How long does it take to get a passport?
There are two different timeframes for how long it takes to get a passport. There’s the regular process and the expedited process.
- Routine: 6-8 weeks
- Expedited: 2-3 weeks
- Expedited at Agency: 8 business days (and only available in certain circumstances)
Once you’ve had your passport photos taken and submitted all the relevant forms (usually about 2-3 hours required), the time-frames are as followed:
For routine and expedited services, these timetables include the time for the passport to reach you by mail.
Although these are generally the timelines, unexpected delays may occur. If you applied for a routine passport, you should not book an international trip that is less than eight weeks away. Even with an expedited passport application, do not plan on being able to travel internationally before three weeks.
An expedited passport application costs an additional $60 on top of the $110 fee for renewals or first-time applications (+$35 execution fee for first-time only).
Need a passport even faster?
You can also pay for 1-2 day delivery of a) your documents to the application office and b) the return of your passport to you.
- When sending your documents: Purchase 1-2 Day delivery service at the post office or shipping facility. Price varies on region/company.
- Return to you: Include $16.48 for 1-2 Day delivery service with your passport fee in the check payable to the U.S. Department of State.
For all the information on how to get a passport in a hurry, visit this page at the U.S. State Department’s website.
Can’t wait three weeks? See if you qualify for an expedited passport at an agency.
How can I get a Passport Expedited at an Agency?
How long does it take to get a passport expedited in person at an agency?
If you have proof of imminent travel or a life and death situation, you can apply at a passport center to receive a passport in less than the 2-3 weeks expedited time frame.
Proof of immediate international travel, the Expedited Fee, and an appointment are required for each application submitted at a Passport Agency or Center. You can see a list of local offices and make an appointment on the State Department’s website.
If you have any questions you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.