How Long Does It Take to Get a US Passport

If you’re planning on applying or renewing your U.S. passport, it’s important to know how long it takes to avoid delays in your travel plans. How long does it take to get a U.S. passport?

How long to get a passport for the U.S.? It takes about 6-8 weeks on average to get a passport for the U.S. There is an expedited service that will speed up the application process. The expedited service costs $60.

Read on to learn more about how long it takes to get a US passport and what is involved in the process.

How Long Does It Take to Get a US Passport

Due to the high passport workload—about 20 million in 2019—it now takes longer to get a U.S. passport. It normally takes bout 6 to 8 weeks to get a U.S. passport.

If you need it sooner, there is an expedited service that will speed up the process. The expedited service costs an extra $60 (in addition to the regular application fee).

It is possible to apply or renew your passport within one day. You can expedite your passport application as long as your reason for requesting it falls within the federal guidelines.

You can pay to get an expedited passport if:

  • You need to travel within 24 to 48 hours because of a life-or-death emergency within your immediate family, serious health problem, or injury.
  • You have upcoming travel and need your passport within 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure you can provide proof that you’re going to travel abroad immediately, like a cruise ticket or an airline ticket.

Applying for a one-day passport renewal is a lot easier than getting your first passport fast. What’s more, when applying for your first passport, you need to appear in person before an authorized agent. If it’s only for renewal, you can have it sent to you by mail.

Another consideration is where you live. If you live near one of the regional passport agencies or centers (Boston, Dallas, New York City, etc.), you’ll have a better chance of getting a passport in 24 hours.

The expedited fee is normally $60 plus the $135 standard fee for first-time applications or $110 for passport renewals.

If you can wait for a few more business days, you could set an appointment with your regional passport office. They can release your passport within 14 days or earlier. You could get it within 28 days if you use the government’s expedited service.

There’s no guarantee that an agency will accept the request of walk-in applicants. Agencies can accept only a certain number of applications.

Note: The U.S. Department of State doesn’t endorse any passport agencies.

Or, you could request an expedited passport in person. Here’s how to do it:

  • Contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 or go to the U.S. State Department website to set an appointment with a passport agency near you.
  • Once you’re at your passport agency, you can submit your application and get your files.
  • Don’t forget the $60 expediting service fee, which is in addition to the regular application processing fee. This fee is exclusive of the 1-2 Day Delivery.
how long does it take to get a us passport

How to Get a US Passport

1. Gather Documents

Apply for your US passport several months before your trip. First-time applicants, minors, and any applicants who need a new passport but might not renew by mail may submit their passport application at the Post Office. The State Department website explains what you will need to bring with you.

  • Application forms (unsigned)
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship document and a photocopy of the front and back
  • Proof of identity document and a photocopy of the front and back
  • Passport fees

The time it takes to get all our documents ready should only take a few minutes if you know where they all are.

2. Prepare the Application Package

Visit the U.S. Department of State website to see how to apply for a U.S. passport and what documents you need.

  1. Complete the DS-11 Application Form for U.S. Passport on the State Department website.
  2. Print the completed application.
  3. Do not sign the application. A Postal employee needs to witness your signature.
  4. Get a passport photo taken.
  5. Photocopy your U.S. Citizenship documents and proof of identity.
  6. Calculate the fees.
  7. Post Offices accept credit cards, money orders, and checks for Post Office acceptance fees.
  8. State Department fees will be mailed with your application. You can pay the fees with a personal, certified, cashier’s, or money order. Make the fees payable to “U.S. Department of State.”

To prepare the application package, it might take about an hour or two.

Step 3: Schedule an Appointment

Post Offices that provide passport services have set hours, and you’ll need to book an appointment using the online Customer Appointment Scheduler or a Post Office self-service kiosk.

To schedule online, go to Schedule an Appointment.

To schedule at a self-service kiosk, go to a post office location with a self-service kiosk. Find UPS locations.

The US passport application appointment should take only about 15 minutes.

We’ve looked at how long it takes to get a US passport and how to get a US passport; next, let’s look at why a passport gets denied or delayed.

Reasons a US Passport Gets Denied

Applying for a passport can be stressful, especially if you don’t get the services of a private expediting company. One mistake, and you could potentially face a delay in the processing of your passport.

If you don’t want a long turnaround time, make sure to avoid these common mistakes that could lead to passport application delays or rejection.

1. Serious Delinquent Tax Debt

The first issue that can extend the time it takes to get a passport is if you have tax debt. When then-President Obama signed the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act in December 2015, the U.S. State Department was given the right to ban the issuance of passports to IRS-certified, seriously delinquent taxpayers. Or, they could revoke passports if they’ve already been issued.

If you owe the IRS more than $50,000, you’re considered a seriously delinquent taxpayer. This amount includes unpaid back taxes, interest, and penalties.

The IRS is usually required to notify you in writing (Notice CP 508C) at the time they considered you as seriously delinquent in terms of tax. When you receive this notification, the best first step is to contact them as soon as possible.

2. Insufficient or Non-Payment Child Support

Owing $2,500 or more in child support could make you ineligible for a U.S. passport. Here’s what will happen:

  • Your state Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agency will inform the office of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) when this happens.
  • The OCSE will then forward your name to the U.S. State Department, so your case will be registered in the Passport Denial Program (PDP).

3. Issues with Parental Consent

Another issue that can extend the time it takes to get a passport is if you have issues with parental consent. Parents are required by the U.S. State Department to show proof of parental relationship or guardianship. Plus, parents need to accompany their minor child (15 years old or under) to get a passport.

For minors aged 16 to 17, they can apply for a passport by themselves. However, Passport Services advises at least one of the parents to go with them to demonstrate parental awareness and to identify them.

What about those minors with parents who are divorced or have custody agreements?

There are two things that you can do about this:

  • The non-applying parent must provide a notarized consent to the applying parent.
  • Or, the applying parent must show proof of sole legal custody of his/her minor child. In this case, the parent with sole legal custody doesn’t need to get the consent of the other parent.

4. Inadequate Evidence of Citizenship

Providing insufficient or invalid proof of citizenship is another factor that could derail your application. One of the primary pieces of evidence of U.S. citizenship is a certified true copy of the Birth Certificate (original, not photocopied).

If you don’t have primary evidence of U.S. citizenship, you can submit the following instead:

  • Early Public Records
  • Letter of No Record
  • Delayed U.S. Birth Certificate
  • Form DS-10
  • Foreign Birth Documents and Parent(s) Citizenship Evidence

If you were born abroad to parents with U.S. citizenship, you need to submit additional documents. In most cases, you need to prove that at least one of your parents holds U.S. citizenship and has lived in the country (or its possessions) for a certain time period.

There are two forms that are used to get recognition of citizenship:

  • Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States)
  • Form N-600 (Certificate of Citizenship)

But if you’re a naturalized citizen, you can use the original copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship as valid evidence of citizenship.

5. Providing a Non-compliant Photo

According to the U.S. Department of State, a non-compliant photo is the #1 reason passport applications could be delayed. In fact, almost a quarter-million passport applications were held up in 2017 because of this reason.

So, save those photo filters and trendy outfits for your social media accounts. When it comes to passport photos, there are specific requirements that you should meet to prevent delaying your application.

Before submitting your passport photo, make sure it meets the following requirements:

  • Don’t wear your eyeglasses in your photos. If that’s not possible, attach a signed note from your doctor or a medical professional to your application.
  • No selfies, please. Taking your photo too close or too far away is a surefire way to get it rejected. Let someone else take your picture.
  • Your colored passport photos shouldn’t be older than 6 months.
  • A blurry, grainy, or pixelated photo is also not acceptable.
  • You should also use a high-quality matte or glossy photo paper.
  • Don’t submit edited and filtered photos.
  • Observe correct lighting to avoid shadows on your face.
  • Use a plain white or off-white background.
  • Don’t wear the following in your passport photo: uniform (or anything that resembles a uniform), outfits you wear on a daily basis, and any camo clothing.

For the complete list of requirements for U.S. passport photos, please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Conclusion – How Long Does It Take to Get a US Passport?

How long does it take to get a US passport? In most cases, you could expect to wait between six and eight weeks to receive your U.S. passport. If you’re in a hurry, you could pay $60 (plus the regular passport application fee) to get an expedited passport.

To make sure you submit all of the correct documents and forms for passport application or renewal, create a checklist. You could also check the State Department’s guidelines on how to apply for a passport, so you can get things right the first time.

But if you don’t want to do this yourself, and you want to save yourself the headache, you might want to get the services of a private passport agency or center. When choosing the best passport expeditor or courier company, research them well to ensure they are reputable.

These are just some of the things you need to know about the processing time and requirements for U.S. passports. This article covers just an overview of the passport application and renewal process. I highly encourage you to check out the State Department’s website to get more the most detailed and up-to-date information.