Getting or renewing a passport: How long does it take? What is the fastest way to get one?

·3 min read

Are you traveling internationally for the first time? You’ll need to secure a passport, which attests not only to a person’s identity but also their nationality when crossing borders.

In 2021, the U. S. Department of State faced a massive backlog for new and renewed passports due to coronavirus restrictions and, subsequently, foreign travel restarting after a year-and-a-half long break.

Whether your old passport is about to expire or your newborn needs a new one, you can plan your travels by applying for a passport. Here's how long a passport could take to process.

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How long does it take to get a passport?

As of July 2022, the processing times given by the U.S. Department of State were eight to 11 weeks. The processing time of a passport starts as soon as it’s received by a center or agency, not the day it’s sent in or applied on.

Applicants can track the status of their application online by visiting here and checking for progress.

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What is the fastest way to get a passport?

Non-urgent travel:

For folks who wish to travel sooner and want their passports to be ready faster than the usual processing times, there’s an expedited process available. The expedited process, which costs $60, can take from five to seven weeks to process a passport.

You can request an expedited process by mail if it’s a renewal and in person at a passport acceptance facility for new passports.

Urgent travel:

In an emergency such as a serious illness, injury or death in your immediate family, you can request an appointment at a passport agency if you need to travel within 72 hours (three business days).

Additionally, you’re qualified if you have urgent travel within two weeks. For this, you must provide proof of immediate international travel such as purchased airline tickets.

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How to renew a passport?

According to the State Department, you don't need your passport to be expired to renew it. If you want a new book or a new card, you can submit the valid documents in exchange for new ones.

Also, you can renew your expired passport if it has been issued within the last 15 years. Additionally, the passport must have not been stolen, damaged or lost; you must have been 16 or older when the passport was issued, and the passport must have been issued in your current name or you must provide legal proof of a name change.

If none of these fit, you can apply in person using Form DS-11.

Otherwise, you can renew your passport by mail using the Form DS-82. All the conditions mentioned above must be checked to apply for renewal by mail. If you fail to meet all the above statements and meet only some of them, you must apply in person using the same form.

After filling the applicable form, provide additional documents such as current passport, identification and a photo, calculate fees and submit your application. Take note of your application number to track its status.

What documents do I need to apply for a passport?

The State Department says these are the documents you need if you're applying for a passport:

  • Application form

  • Personal documents including but not limited to proof of citizenship, an acceptable photo ID, photocopies of both

  • Passport photo

  • Payment

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Getting or renewing a passport: How long does it take?