How to get a last minute US Passport

by Joe Gee
3 Minute read
How to get US passport last minute expedited emergency joe gee michigan united states

I got really excited and paid for an expensive trip to Costa Rica and forgot I needed a US Passport 🙁 I was freaking out but after doing a ton of research and talking to the passport agency on the phone, I was told there’s still hope as long as I apply for an expedited passport within 14 days of traveling.

I called exactly 14 days before my trip at 8am when they opened. I actually called at 7:59am because I knew it would take me about 1 minute to get through the automated system that would tell me they’re closed. I timed it perfectly and the guy answered the phone. I told him I made a mistake and NEED a passport or I’m out almost $8,000. He told me there’s a few appointment spots left and started naming them off to me. I immediately cut him off and told him to book any one of them before someone else does. He let me know that all the appointments in Detroit were booked but there’s a spot open on February 24th at 10:30am in Chicago. I was so happy to hear that! If you find yourself in a similar situation, just follow the instructions below and you should be able to get an appointment.

Update: It took me 12 1/2 hours to drive to Chicago, get my passport and then drive home. The whole process was pretty easy. Once you check in and provide your information to them, they tell you to come back in about 2 hours to pick up your new passport. The passport office is on the 9th floor and there’s a cafeteria on the 2nd floor. So I ate some snacks, played some games on my phone and read some paperwork for my trip.

Here’s some information from the US Passport Agency’s website.

Expedite at a Passport Agency or Center

We have two types of appointments: Life-or-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service. You can only make an appointment by calling us.

You cannot walk-in. We do not charge a fee to make an appointment. You cannot transfer your appointment to another customer. When you call to make an appointment, we will provide unique confirmation information that our staff will verify on the day on your appointment. 

Life-or-Death Emergency Service: We are prioritizing customers who are traveling internationally in the next 3 business days due to a qualified life-or-death emergency. If you need this service, call us. What number you call depends on the day of the week and time of day. Learn more on our Life-or-Death Emergency page.

Urgent Travel Service: Some agencies and centers are also offering limited appointments for customers who have urgent international travel in the next 5 business days for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency. You may schedule an appointment if you are traveling within 2 weeks or need a foreign visa within 4 weeks; however, the appointment cannot occur more than 5 business days before your date of travel, or 10 business days if you require a visa. Call 1-877-487-2778 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, Mondays through Fridays. Our appointment line for Urgent Travel Service is closed on weekends and federal holidays. 

Preparing for your Appointment: Collect all of your application materials before you arrive for your appointment. Bring the information you got in the confirmation email from the National Passport Information Center when you scheduled your appointment. 

Use our online form filler to fill out your form and print it before you arrive for your appointment. You can also print a PDF of your form and complete it by hand in black ink before you arrive. Both of these options reduce the amount of time you spend in our lobby on the day of your appointment.

Arriving to your Appointment: We have fewer chairs and more signage in our waiting rooms to enable social distancing. We require appointments, and we currently do not offer walk-in services. You cannot transfer your appointment to another person.

*We ask that you come prepared and bring a mask or face covering to your appointment. While public health guidance has changed during the pandemic as more U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, some of our agencies and centers are located in buildings that have different policies for wearing masks and face coverings. Follow the signs posted in the building, which will display the most up-to-date mask and face covering requirements.

I hope this information helped you out 🙂

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