Should some of us be so lucky/unlucky to need to travel on a whim and need a passport ASAP, it can be slightly unnerving waiting and hoping your new passport arrives in time for your trip. As an avid traveller, I figured I’d share how I renewed my passport fast.
It all started last July when my supervisor told me I would be going to London in August, and my passport was going to expire in two weeks. That left less than twenty days for me to have a brand new passport, and for those of you who may not know — it takes normally 6 weeks (42 days) to renew your passport.
My job requires me to stay on top of these kinds of things, so I immediately hopped online to figure out how I was going to pull this off. That’s when I discovered Renew Passport By Mail. In the past I always renewed my passport at the post office, so I was quite excited about this. But that’s not even the best part — the best part was that it would only take 2-3weeks and I could easily calculate the fees for the rush.
I must admit, I was quite nervous because I needed it in closer to 2 weeks rather than 3; but I had no other option. So I thoroughly read the instructions and here’s how you can renew your passport fast!
First, your most recent passport must meet the following requirements, so make sure you can answer YES to ALL of these questions:
- My Passport is undamaged (other than normal “wear and tear”)?
- My Passport was issued when you were age 16 or older?
- My Passport was issued within the last 15 years?
- My Passport was issued in your current name (or you can document your name change with an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)?
If like me you meet all of the above, it’s time for step two — picture time. Costco, CVS, UPS, and FedEx are great places to go for a passport photo. I recommend sticking to one of these places if possible, as there are very strict requirements; I discovered you must show your ears in the photo… who knew? I went to FedEx and they gave me two photos for $16.30 (the application only requires one). Costco charges around $10, but I was not in the mood to drive that far. All locations should immediately print out your photo for you to take home that day.
Once I had my photos, I printed the DS-82 Passport Renewal Application and filled it out. It’s a fairly short application, and I completed it in under ten minutes. I neatly stapled my photo to the DS-82 form in the allotted location and carefully proofread my application. Please proofread, as the US Government is nothing to play with.
Next I calculated my fees for the expedited services using the Fee Calculator
I wrote one check for $170 dollars made payable to the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE and wrote my name and birthdate in the memo section of the check.
Now we must prepare for take off. I grabbed an 8.75” x 11.25” envelope and placed my (1) DS-82 application (photo attached), (2) my current passport, (3) and $170 check inside. I wrote “EXPEDITE” on the envelope, sealed it, and then placed the sealed envelope into a Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope — this is not required I just wanted the extra protection for my passport and private information. I addressed the envelope to the Expedited Address — be careful because there are two addresses. Total postage cost me $6.80 for two day shipping from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
From then on, I diligently tracked my order online. Here’s a timeline:
As you can see the online tracking on the official website was slightly off. It indicated that my passport was going to be shipped on the 6th but it had already shipped on the 1st.
So there you have it. From start to finish I received my passport in 11 days. Right in time for my business trip!
Have you ever had to renew your passport fast? Tell us in the comments.