Having a valid passport enables you to travel outside the U.S. and its territories by meeting the ID qualifications in foreign countries.
However, in most cases, your passport should have at least six months of validity for you to get a visa. As such, even people with valid passports often find themselves seeking new passports when they want to travel. You can get more information about passport types and costs in this passport fee guide. But what happens when you need to travel soon and don’t have a valid passport? The key lies in using expedited passport services!
Should You Expedite Your Passport?
One would think that a passport application would be smooth and that the new passport would be ready in just a few weeks. In fact, most states claim that passport processing takes five to seven weeks. However, these are averages based on ideal timelines. In many cases, people wait several months before getting their passports. As you can imagine, such lengthy and unpredictable waiting times often work against urgent travel plans.
So, what affects passport processing times?
a. The state: Some states process passports faster than others as they have fewer applicants or have streamlined their systems to accommodate faster turnarounds.
b. The number of applicants: If you apply for a passport in a state where many people also want new passports, you often end up waiting longer than if you had applied when fewer people had made applications.
Unfortunately, there is no way of telling how long you will wait when relying on the standard passport services. But you can always skip the lines by using expedited passport services!
How Expediting Works
Expediting your passport means that you shorten the waiting time by skipping to the front of the line. This process is available in two ways:
a. State expedited services: While most states process passports in five to seven weeks, they offer expedited services for people on a time crunch. Usually, the waiting time is weeks less than that of standard applicants. However, since these services are still subject to state waiting times and backlogs in passport offices, it could still be months before you get a passport!
b. Passport expediting services: Companies such as Travel Visa Pro offer flexible, fast, and reliable expediting services. Unlike state services, these companies can guarantee you a passport within a given time. In most instances, the waiting times range from a few days to weeks, enabling you to get your passport faster than someone who used the state’s expediting services.
The goal of expediting is to reduce the uncertainty of passport timelines and get your passport in time for your travel. Additionally, if you use passport expediting services, you can also benefit in the following ways:
– Experts will review your passport application documents to ensure they meet the minimum criteria,
– You do not need to go to the passport office and can send your documents via courier, and
– The agency will follow up on the application on your behalf.
You also get to enjoy a guarantee and can plan your trip knowing that your passport will be ready by the departure date.
How Much Do You Pay for Expediting? State offices often charge $60 to expedite passports – checking with the state is always a good idea to know what applies at the time of application. Passport expediting services charge fees per the timeframe chosen. For example, someone who wants their passport within four days will pay more than an applicant who wants theirs in two weeks. This flexibility allows you to choose the timeline that best suits your needs.