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You booked an international flight, applied for (or renewed) your passport and have patiently waited for the blue book’s arrival. Weeks have gone by, and there’s still no sign of your passport in the mail.
With an upcoming travel date approaching faster than Usain Bolt running toward the finish line in the 100-meter dash, you might be stressing about where your passport is and whether you can get a passport quickly should you need to shift gears.
If you’re wondering “Can I get a passport in one day?” The answer could depend on where you live. So if your passport hasn’t arrived or you forgot to send it in for a renewal, here’s what you need to know about passport processing times and 24-hour passports.
What types of passport services are available?
The U.S. Department of State offers four types of passport services: routine, expedited, urgent travel and emergency. The type of service depends on whether you have proof of confirmed travel dates and when you’re traveling.
Routine and expedited processing timelines are prone to change, while urgent and emergency processing remain set. Current posted processing timelines for routine and expedited service are as follows:
Routine processing: Seven to ten weeks.
Expedited processing: Three to five weeks.
Routine passport service is the slowest service available. This option is best for travelers who don’t have any international trips coming up within that time frame. To apply for a new passport or renew an existing one, you’ll need to submit your documents by mail or at an acceptance center, such as a library or post office.
Expedited passport processing still takes several weeks, according to the State Department. You’ll submit your application the same way you would for routine processing. Expect to pay a $60 fee on top of the routine passport fee for expedited service.
If you’re traveling internationally sooner than expedited processing will allow, you’ll want to select nonemergency urgent service to receive a passport in time for your trip.
If you’ve already applied for a passport and are within 14 calendar days of travel, you should call the National Passport Information Center to notify the processing agency of your upcoming travel. If you haven’t applied yet and are traveling within 14 days, you need to make an appointment to visit a passport agency in person.
If your international trip starts within five calendar days, you must schedule an appointment at a passport agency. You’ll also need to provide proof of travel. Keep in mind it can be tricky to get an appointment since time slots fill up quickly.
An emergency passport can be processed within 72 hours only if you have a qualifying life-or-death emergency. You must call a passport agency for one of these appointments and provide proof of international travel.
Qualifying life-or-death emergencies include:
An immediate family member has died.
An immediate family member is dying or in hospice care.
An immediate family member has a life-threatening injury or illness.
Immediate family members include parents, legal guardians, children, spouses, siblings or grandparents.
You must get documentation of the emergency, such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary or a letter from the hospital. If the documents aren’t in English, you must have them translated by a professional translator. However, they don’t need to be notarized.
» Learn more: Do you need a passport to book an international flight?
How to make an appointment at a passport agency
There are a limited number of appointments available for applicants traveling internationally within 14 days or who need to apply for a visa within 28 days.
To make an appointment at a passport center for urgent travel, you must call 1-877-487-2778 (closed on federal holidays). For life-or-death emergency travel, call 1-877-487-2778 during the week or 1-202-647-4000 outside of business hours. You’ll receive unique confirmation information that only you can use on the day of your appointment.
Note that you can’t transfer your appointment time slot to another person. If you can’t attend, you must cancel by phone or by emailing [email protected], and your time slot will be assigned to another person.
A passport agency appointment is free of charge. If you’re asked to pay for an appointment, it’s not a legitimate appointment. Walk-ins appointments aren't available.
Bring a completed passport application, a passport photo, a valid government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, and payment for passport processing. Also, don’t forget the documentation required for one-day passport renewal, such as proof of travel and life-and-death emergency documentation.
» Learn more: What’s the passport photo dress code?
U.S. passport agency locations
If you need to rush your passport, you can make an appointment at one of the 26 U.S. passport agencies that are open to the public across the country. If the closest and most convenient location doesn’t have open time slots, check the next closest one to which you can drive.
For example, Los Angeles and San Diego are within driving distance.
The U.S. passport centers are located in the following cities:
For locations and operating hours, go to the passport agencies page on the State Department’s website and scroll down to the frequently asked questions.
Can you get a passport in one day?
If you’re trying to get a passport in 24 hours, know that it might not be easy. It could take longer to process your passport, even if you score one of the limited appointments at a passport agency.
Make sure to bring the exact documents required for a passport and ensure your photo follows the guidelines outlined by the State Department. Your trip is at stake, and you don’t want to mess this up.
» Learn more: Can you wear makeup in a passport photo?
As a last resort, contact your member of Congress
If you can’t get an appointment at a passport agency and all else fails, contact your U.S. representative's office. Believe it or not, they may be able to expedite the processing of your passport. However, you shouldn’t rely on this method — use it as a last resort only.
You still might not get your passport in one day, but it’s worth a try if you only have a week or two left before your trip, especially if you don’t live near a passport agency. Use a Google search to find out who represents your district and how to contact them.
How to get a passport in 24 hours
"Maybe" is the answer to “Can I get my passport in one day?”
The only way to get a same-day passport is by visiting one of the passport agencies — but only if you can get an appointment — and even that can take longer than 24 hours. The available slots are hard to come by, and you might be left behind while your travel companions jet off without you.
If you think you’ll travel in the future, we recommend applying for a passport now. And if you currently hold a passport, check its expiration date and renew well in advance to avoid having to scramble later.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card