Understanding Passport Processing Times

Passport Information

by Passport Support, Staff

4 May 2016

Passport Processing Times

Passport Processing Times

When you apply for your U.S. passport, you’ll need to decide between routine service or expedited service. While applying for and renewing your passport early is always the best choice, you can choose to apply for expedited service if you’re in a hurry and need your passport as soon as possible.

Please Remember: if this is your first time applying for your passport, if your passport was issued more than 15 years ago, or if your passport has been lost or stolen you will have to apply in person at an authorized facility.

What is Passport Processing?

Passport applications are considered complete when your passport (or rejection letter) is either ready to be picked up at an authorized facility or is mailed. Passport processing times, regardless of which service you choose, do not include shipping time; all passport cards are shipped via First Class Mail and can’t be shipped using third party overnight delivery services.

How Fast is Routine Service Passport Processing?

Routine service is the standard, the cost is included in your application fee and routine passport processing times average anywhere from 4-6 weeks from the time your application is received.

The U.S. State Department recommends routine processing for passports if you’re not traveling within the next two weeks or won’t need a passport for a foreign visa in the next month. If you need your passport application processed in a hurry, Expedited Service is your best option.

How Long Do Expedited Passport Applications Take?

Expedited passport applications are usually processed within 8 business days from the time your application is received; most receive their passports or a rejection letter within 3 weeks or less. If for some reason your passport application isn’t processed within 8 business days your fees will be refunded in full.

But what if you need your passport faster? If you can show an urgent need for your passport, including a business letter, e-ticket or a family illness or some other life or death emergency, you may be able to get your passport much more quickly.

Keep in mind that processing times can vary throughout the year, but you’ll want to expedite your application if you’re planning on traveling within the next six weeks. Always check the U.S. Department of State’s website to keep up to date with processing times, application costs and expediting fees.

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