So your dog ate your passport? This may be the oldest excuse in the book, but getting a new passport quick can be stressful. A week before my trip to Europe in May I realized that I was out of blank pages. After some quick Googling, I realized that for most of the countries that I was traveling to required at least two blank passport pages to enter. Even though the blank pages rule is not always strictly enforced, I didn’t want to risk it.
The quickest way to get a new passport is to go to one of the twenty-six regional Passport Agencies. To go to the agency I highly recommend booking an appointment in advance. From my experience in Chicago, the agency prioritized appointment holders even if when they arrived extra early. To be eligible to get your passport from a Passport Agency you need to be traveling internationally within two weeks or need a foreign visa within four weeks.
So now that you have your appointment booked get your paperwork together. First, you will need new passport photos and proof of travel (I printed my hotel and flight confirmations). To avoid paying $14.99 at Walgreens for a less than stellar photo I recommend having a friend take your picture against a white wall. Make sure you follow the US Government’s passport photo criteria. You can print the photos out on wallet-size prints at Walgreens for a couple of dollars and cut out the photo down to the appropriate size.
Next, fill out the appropriate passport paperwork and make sure you sign it. If you need help determining what paperwork you need, check the Travel.State.Gov website. Finally, check the Passport Agency website to make sure that you have the correct identification sources. The identification you will need depends on if your passport is a renewal or replacing a lost/damaged/expired passport.
After your appointment is booked & forms are filled out the hard part is over. I arrived about thirty minutes early to my appointment and the agency got me in right away. The agents asked me for proof of travel and determined how quickly I would get my passport based off of how soon I was traveling. Overall I spent about 20 minutes in the Passport Agency in the morning and by 4 PM that same day, my new passport was ready to be picked up.
Getting a new passport can be stressful, but luckily the process at the Passport Agency is easy.