Need A Passport Now? Tips On Getting Passports Fast

by erin on January 9, 2010

passportpixHere are some tips on getting US passports fast. First and foremost, it is always best to plan ahead whenever possible, especially when the need arises for sudden international travel. To reduce last minute delays, it can never hurt to have a valid passport at the ready. This is important especially when one’s travel itinerary might require visiting countries where entry is difficult to obtain. Also, every consulate has their own process of granting visas.

Obtaining a passport, depending on one’s immigration or citizenship status, can take a while. There are, however, firms and companies that can help expedite the process. For first time applicants, generally the process has to be done in person and requires significant documentation. In these cases, it definitely helps to plan ahead. All infants, including babies and newborns, need passports.

Depending on one’s country of residence and planned destination, an immigration visa is often required. Generally, neighboring countries are not as strict as they might be for distant sovereignties. If one does not know the immigration protocol, to make things easier this information should be determined. Most consulates have some type of information available on the Internet or travelers can simply call the local embassy to obtain the necessary information.

For passport renewals, the time it takes to get the passport application returned is directly proportional to the amount of money one spends. The standard process can take up to a month. Usually the applicant fills out a form, that can be obtained either online or through the mail, and mails the passport along with all necessary documentation to the appropriate address. There are expediters that can hasten the process. For visa applications, however, there is less certainty because even expediters have less control over foreign consulate operations. In general, most consulates are rather prompt.

Passport photos are vital. Aside from having all the appropriate documentation, for either a visa or passport application, many embassies and immigration offices require specific types of passport photos with a light background that shows the full face without any coverings, such as hats or sunglasses. Photos can also be expensive if one waits to the last minute. Although in this day and age of digital photography, the task is made simpler.

Forms and documentation can be a hassle but there is no avoiding them. Most of the forms are available online or through the mail. Often times, one can simply go to the local consulate and obtain the necessary paper work. Most of these forms describe the process and what to expect with regards to timing and fees.

Fees also vary depending on the type of immigration service, passport renewal, or visa application. All expedited services have a significant surcharge. In addition, there are collateral expenses, such as photos and photocopies, along with the application fee. Visa application fees also vary from country to country. Although most fees are not overly burdensome, the process can be tiresome. Most embassies, however, provide some assistance or guidance where one can obtain the necessary services quickly and reasonably.

In short, getting US passports fast from any consulate or immigration office is a task that can be expensive and time consuming. However, this all varies depending on the travel circumstances, destination, port of origin, and American passport requirements. If there are special cases, such that might require a legal standing as in the case of political refugee or asylum, then it might be best to obtain the services of a legal professional.

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