If you’re planning to travel internationally, it’s vital you apply and receive your passport in a timely fashion so you can book your flights for your overseas adventure. Timing is important for travel planning, as many airlines require you to submit your current passport number in the booking process.
While the process for applying for a United States passport is pretty straightforward, the waiting period for your new passport can be tough. Depending on your individual circumstances, it is strongly advised to plan your first-time passport application or passport renewal several months in advance.
How Long Does it Take to Get A Passport
Passport processing times vary throughout the year, but the U.S. government generally processes passport applications between 4-6 weeks. For the quickest turnaround, submit your application during low seasons for travel, like fall and mid-winter. Prime travel planning months such as March and April and summer months like June, July and August are the busiest times for passport processing.
Expediting Your U.S. Passport
There are ways to expedite your passport and receive it quicker than the normal 4-6 week window.
Need a passport in 2-3 weeks? You can request expedited service by mail or in person at a passport acceptance facility near you. In addition to the regular passport application costs, the expedited service will cost an extra $60, plus any delivery costs.
Need a passport in less than 2-3 weeks? If you are traveling within 2 weeks or need a foreign visa within 4 weeks, you should make an appointment at a passport agency or center. The passport agency or center will specify when you will get your new passport.
Need a passport now? For serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in your immediate family that requires you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 days), you can apply for a life-or-death emergency passport. This requires:
- A passport application with supporting documents.
- Proof of the life-or-death emergency (death certificate, a statement from a mortuary or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional). Must be translated or in English.
- Proof of international travel (itinerary).
Checking Your U.S. Passport Status
The quickest and easiest way to track your passport is to do so online. After you’ve submitted all your paperwork for your passport, it typically takes seven to 10 days for your application to be trackable. If you paid for the expedited service, it’s possible this information will be available sooner.
Alternatively, you can check your passport status by phone at 877-487-2778 between 6 am and 12 am Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time.
The slowest method of checking your U.S. passport application is by email. If you’re not in a rush, send an email to [email protected] with your full name, date of birth, last four digits of your social security number and your passport application number. Most inquiries will be answered with 24 hours.