Imagine getting a phone call at 3 a.m. from one of your closest friends who offers you the trip of a lifetime. Everything is ready to go, all you need to do is say yes. The only catch is that you leave in less than a week.
While it may sound to good to be true, that’s exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago. The opportunity to spend 16 days in Europe was thrown at my feet and I was absolutely ecstatic. My mind immediately began racing with what to pack and when to schedule my pre-trip manicure.
All of a sudden my stomach sank as I realized that my passport expired two months before and I had never gotten around to renewing it. There was no way I would be jet-setting to Rome in six days and all because I did not have that little, blue booklet. I went from excitement to a mix disappointment and frustration. Why didn’t I renew my passport earlier? I kept saying I would, even put it on my to-do list a couple of times, but never did.
Obviously I do not practice what I preach since I had just written about the benefits of having a passport along with information on how to apply for a U.S. Passport.
I called my friend to deliver the bad news but instead of sharing my dread she gave me a glimmer of hope. Apparently, there are services that specialize in last-minute passport services. As we dug further, however, we found out that these methods were very expensive (upwards of $300 or more) and not always secure. I did not feel very comfortable mailing my personal information along with hundreds of dollars to an unknown entity then sitting back and praying that it all worked out.
Later that day I got an email from my husband. In it, there was a link titled “Atlanta Passport Agency Offers Same-Day Service”. I tried not to get my hopes up but as I read further it seemed as if my dilemma had been solved. The Atlanta Passport Agency had opened only months earlier and was specifically designed to deliver last minute passports to hopeful travelers.
To make a long story short, I made an appointment for the following day and picked up my passport less than 24 hours later.
Now you may be thinking, “Gee, that’s a great story but how does that help me since I don’t call Atlanta home?”. Well, the good news is that there are many of these government passport agencies scattered all across the country. So if an international trip has presented itself to you and all you need is that pesky passport then fear no more because I’m here to help you get it.
The first thing you need to do is find your nearest passport agency. Keep in mind that depending on where you live you may need to drive a couple of hours (or more) to reach one but with over 26 locations there’s a great chance that you’ll find one within reach.
For a complete list of passport agencies click here.
Once you find the correct agency call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment, you can do so 24/7.
You must also fill out and bring Form DS-11. Click here to obtain the form.
When You Arrive for Your Appointment:
1. Be sure to arrive on time because you will not be admitted more than 15 minutes before or after your appointment.
2. You will be given a confirmation number when scheduling your appointment that you will need to bring to verify your appointment time.
3. You must present proof that you are traveling internationally within 2 weeks of the appointment. The best thing would be your flight receipt and itinerary.
Keep in mind that you may NOT present a travel itinerary on an electronic mobile device as proof of travel. All agencies require that proof of travel be presented in hard copy, except for the passport agencies in Colorado, Minneapolis, San Diego and Vermont, which do not require proof of travel to make an appointment.
4. You need to present evidence of U.S. Citizenship.
5. Bring current Identification along with a photocopy for the agency to keep.
6. Provide a passport photo. Do NOT attach your photo to anything.
7. Pay the fee which is currently an additional $60 to the already $110. Payment methods include: Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover), debit/check cards (not ATM cards), Checks, bank drafts and money orders.
In some instances you can receive your passport the same day as your appointment. If not, you will have it in 24 hours.
You can get all of this information and more at travel.state.gov.
Good luck and happy traveling!