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How to Renew an Expired Passport in Nine Hours

Update (3/17/14): I wrote this post a few years ago, so please take that with a grain of salt. That being said, based on the happy user comments, it looks like nothing of the process I describe below has changed–everything is still accurate and should work for you.

It was the day before Startup Festival and I was just a few hours away from hopping on a red eye to Montreal. I went to United’s website to check in when I was prompted to enter my passport number. I pull out my passport and take a look at the information, expires July 8th 2011. It was July 12th—shit. My passport expired four days ago and I had a flight to catch.

I call up United and, as I suspected, they inform me that I won’t be able to fly on an expired passport. My only option was to cancel the flight, scramble to renew my passport in a day, and book a new flight tomorrow. This is how I did it.

Disclaimer: I did this in Los Angeles. The process should be the same elsewhere in the nation, but your mileage may vary. Also, I cut this close; there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to renew your passport the same day, but it’s worth a shot.

  • Make an appointment. Call up the US Passport Office and use their automated phone system to make an appointment. When I called, they gave me a date late into next week. That wouldn’t work for me so I decided to hangup and show up the next day, sans appointment. Following the appointment process is the recommended way, but I was desperate.
  • Get your photo taken. An expired passport means an outdated passport photo. In order to renew your passport, you’ll need new photos. Call around to the local CVS and Walgreens. I was able to find a nearby Walgreens that had a photo department that was open until 10 PM. I went over and had two photos made. It cost me around $10. If you can’t find anything, you can go to the photo place near the Federal Building’s cafeteria the next morning. They open at 7 AM and charge $14 for two photos. (Avoid this since it would cause you to lose your place in line.)
  • Fill out the renewal form. Go to the US Passport Office’s website and download the DS-82 form. Print it out and complete it ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling last minute. Don’t staple your photos to it, they’ll take care of it at the office. When filling out the form, you’ll want the passport book, not the passport card. (I accidentally checked “both” and had to change it later.)
  • Print out your itinerary. In order to renew your passport at the last minute, you need to be able to prove that it’s urgent. Print our your itinerary that shows that you’re flying soon. (I attempted to use my hotel reservation, but they wanted to see a flight itinerary.)

The next morning, bring with you:

  • a copy of your itinerary
  • your DS-82
  • your expired passport
  • your wallet
  • Line up early. At the time of this writing, the Los Angeles US Passport Office opens at 7 AM. (Check the website for your location’s hours.) I woke up at 5 AM and was at the office by 5:30 AM. There were three people already lined up in front of me. Get there early. If you don’t have an appointment, you’ll need to line up at the “Will Call” windows. You should be able to see them when you arrive at the Federal Building. They’re labeled “Will Call A” and “Will Call B”. There will be two lines, one at will call for people that don’t have appointments, and one at the door to the passport office for those that do have appointments.
  • Make your case. At around 7 AM the window will open and they’ll take people one at a time. Be polite, show your itinerary, and explain your situation. “My passport expired and I need to fly out tonight. I don’t have an appointment, is there anything you can do?” The person will give you a ticket with a number on it and tell you to go wait in the line with people that have appointments. That ticket is essentially your appointment.
  • Wait. You’ll slowly make your way through the appointment line to security. The security check is just like the one you’d find at an airport. Turn off your cell phones (this is required) and leave as much as you can in your car (don’t bring a laptop or anything more than your paperwork and old passport). Once in the building you’ll head to the Passport office and stand in another line. Eventually you’ll get to the window where the clerk will look your paperwork over and give you another ticket. You’ll then sit in the waiting area and wait for your number to be called. Cell phones and laptops are not allowed, so chat up the people next to you or bring a book—the analog kind.
  • Pay the fee. Eventually, your number will be called and you’ll go up to a window. (By now it was around 9 AM.) The clerk will look over your paperwork once more and you’ll pay $110 to renew the passport and $60 to expedite the process, so $170 total. (These prices were at the time of writing, they may increase. They accept credit cards.) If everything goes well, they’ll give you a receipt with a time to come back to pick up your passport. Typically, it’s between 1 PM and 3 PM that same day. If you got this far, there’s a very good chance you’ll be getting your passport.
  • Wait some more. Go grab lunch at In-n-Out and come back to the Federal Building around 2 PM. (The receipt says to show up between 1 PM and 3 PM, but they never have it ready that early.) Stand in the will call line and give the clerk your receipt. They’ll either have your passport ready, or ask you to wait a bit longer. I ended up getting mine at 3 PM, right when the Passport office closes.

There you have it, a passport in nine hours. Now, never do this again. Be prudent and renew by mail well in advance next time. Happy travels. Tips are totally unnecessary, but always welcome :) My Paypal/Venmo address is rsonawalla@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Dave on April 21, 2015

    Since this post comes up pretty high in the search rankings when frantically scrambling for a immediate passport solution, I feel compelled to comment and let everyone know that this process still works. And, I’d like to thank the author and commenters for giving me peace of mind last night when I was pretty sure I was not going to Paris and I was going to have a huge problem with my work.

    The keys are:

    1) No need for a reservation for the day you are going to walk up but it’s probably a good idea to book the soonest one you can so you have a confirmation number. Call the US Passport agency hotline and use the automated system. You’ll have your number in 5 minutes. You will be asked if you have a number. I said yes but not for the time I was there and went on to explain my situation. She never asked again or for the number itself. I don’t know what would have happened had I said no but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

    2) In Chicago, the line starts at 8:15 (15 minutes before the office opens). You can probably start hanging around 10 minutes earlier to get to the head of the line but no real need to show up much earlier than 8:00.

    3) You absolutely must have confirmed air travel if you are going to get them to turn this around fast. If you don’t have a printed itinerary from an airline, forget it. And, it must be printed. They won’t accept something on your phone. The printed itinerary goes in the submission package so have it.

    4) If you can make it in the first wave of people in the morning, you can get this done quickly. I was first in line, had all my paperwork and payment submitted by 8:45, and I had my passport at 10:30.

    5) Have all your paperwork (Form DS-82) completed, have your old passport, have a way to pay, and have two passport photos with you when you get there. Don’t give them any excuse to delay the process. I first wrote a check and my handwriting is terrible and the agent warned me that the check would probably get rejected and delay the process by a day. I’m glad she warned me but it’s instructive that anything can mess this up so do what you can to avoid any potential problems.


  2. sasha on May 20, 2015

    am an african who got married to an american man…we lived in iraq coz he was in US army…he left me wth a pregnancy before his death….but i ve sturved to get back in my country wth my baby cos of passport here in iraq……when even mine is getting expired….i really dont know wht to do….any idea of getting my baby a passport rahim…


  3. Rahim Sonawalla on May 21, 2015

    Sorry, Sasha, but your situation is way beyond anything I could answer.


  4. mariam on May 26, 2015

    Hi, I just checked my daughter’s passport and it had expired. We are travelling tommorow night to Pakistan. I can’t believe I was so stupid and i didn’t check it before.. I am going there early morning now to see if they can get her passport issued the same day.. this helped a lot…thanks for sharing.


  5. Ramil on June 1, 2015

    We were in the Los Angeles office today at 6:00am. The flight is on Friday
    June 5, but we didn’t have an appointment. The clerk said come back on wednesday because the policy is “you are traveling within 72 hours if you are renewing without an appointment”. I hope this will help.


  6. Daniel on June 2, 2015

    Hi, I am flying on the 15th of June to London, but I need to take the bus to New York on the 14th. I have an appointment on the 8th of June at 10AM with the passport agency in Atlanta. Will they be able to process and send my passport back to me(I live in Tennessee) in that time frame? I imagine I should take my bus itinerary to the agency so that they know that I will be leaving the 14th to catch my flight on the 15th, right? Any response is much appreciated. Thanks.


  7. Rahim Sonawalla on June 6, 2015

    Hi Daniel, I think you’ll be okay. However, you shouldn’t do the mail option. The US Passport website says that rush processing for mailed passports is around 3 weeks, and you don’t have that kind of time.

    Rather what you’ll need to do is go to the Atlanta office for your appointment as you’ve scheduled on the 8th and pay the fee to expedite the processing to have the passport made that same day rather than asking them to mail it to you. Basically, prepare to spend the entire day in Atlanta. The upside is you’ll be heading back home with passport in hand, rather than waiting by the mailbox, hoping it’ll come in time.

    The process will be the same as what I’ve described in my post, just that you’ll already have an appointment, so you won’t need to go to the “Will Call” window and you won’t risk being turned away (since you were prudent and made an appointment). Just get there a bit before you’re appointment time and stand in the appointment line.

    Be sure to have all the documents I described in my post ready to hand them when you get into the office. New passport photos, filled out DS-82, your expired passport, proof of travel (including your bus itinerary)–everything! It’s better to come with more documents than you need than to be turned away because you left something out! When you get to the window, pay the fee to expedite the passport so that it’s same day, it’s worth the peace of mind, and just hang around until it’s ready.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


  8. jasmine on June 15, 2015

    i have an emergency trip to make to Guatemala but my passport is in the process of being renewed so i wont have it until the beginning of July, is there anyway if i go without an appointment they could still provide me with a passport within the next 72 hours.


  9. terry on June 16, 2015

    This is really very very helpful information. I am in the same situation , except I already missed my flight last night. Now I can’t wait for my next week’ s appointment for passport renewal, so I will just go tomorrow morning. I am just wondering should I assume that I will definitely get the passport renewed? so I can re book the ticket now?

    Do you know how the refund policy for the ticket works if you had to miss the flight because your passport had expired, and you didn’t know in advance? I am very upset about the whole thing, and the airline is not helping me with the ticket that much.

    Thanks so much for the post. This post is truly very helpful. This is like Godsend message for me.


  10. Rahim Sonawalla on June 18, 2015

    @Jasmine I think as long as you can provide proof of immediate travel, they should be able to help you out. I know one of the things they ask for during renewal is your old passport (they punch a hole through it), but maybe if you explain your situation they can help you out.

    @Terry While nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the Passport Agency, I think as long as you’re one of the first ones there and you’ve got all your paperwork ready, you’ll be okay.

    Airlines aren’t very accommodating with refunds for expired passports. I was able to get flight credit for my missed flight, but I had to pay the several hundred dollar change fee to use that credit on another flight :/


  11. ilene on June 24, 2015

    My husband wet his passport it looked perfectly fine but we didn’t want to risk the chip being damage then him not being able to travel with us so we sent it in to get a new one, paid for the expedite service and also sent in a money order for 14.95 so they can overnight it back to us! Well they never honored the 2-3 weeks its been 5 weeks and we leave tmrw to Mexico he has call the passport number at least every hour for the passport status for the past week. They kept telling us it was processing and it should be ready soon. And they even asked us for our travel dates its all just false hope they ask for your flight confirmation and flight details tell you they will send it over to the agency. but the agency never gets it (i will explain more at the bottom) Only way we can do anything we were told by the agents was to make an appointment which were 5 days out and 4 days past our departure date! Finally in a panic he asked to speak to a supervisor– who then told us to just show up at the agency with out an appointment he said 99% of the time they don’t advise it but in our situation they would see us most likely even without an appointment..

    Fast word to the next day (today) he went into the passport agency an hour before it open make sure you are there EARLYYYY the woman at the window said the third party agency rarely sends them good info and the best thing to do is to come in even without an appointment! They had not received any information from the people who said they will send over flight details and to top it off the agency didn’t even crack open the envelope with his passport paper work that we sent over 5 weeks earlier!! He brought his travel confirmation and all the things you would need i.e birth certificate and i,d that you initially need to apply for a passport to the agency just in case, depends on who you get at the window some asked for it some didn’t so bring just in case! Everyone was nice he filled out a form took an oath and he was able to get a passport the the same day, (The day before we leave— such a close call) wait time is 2-4 hours for them to make the passport. but you are able to leave and they call you the minute it is ready. they give you a ticket when they call you bring the ticket up to a window and you pick it up in less then 1 minute! Wish we would have done this sooner!!! Don’t wait just go to an agency most likely they will see you. Also they are open on weekends which they don’t advertise!!– PS this office was out of Portsmouth , NH
    Good luck and safe travels!!


  12. ilene on June 24, 2015

    Also we didn’t pay any fees because we had done that initially when we sent the application in 5 weeks earlier!


  13. Gabrielle on July 3, 2015

    You’re soo awesome! I do not believe I have read through anything like that before.
    So great to find another person with genuine thoughts on this topic.

    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website
    iis something that is required on thee internet, someone with some originality!


  14. Jose on July 4, 2015

    My wife and I are in the same situation as most people above. We are traveling to Mexico this Monday July 6th. Luckily our flight departs at midnight so we can do what most people have done. However, I have one question. Has anyone had an experience at the Seattle agency? We live in Oregon, so we will have to go up to Seattle.


  15. Taneisha on July 5, 2015

    Thank you so much for this!! I was to travel today, July 5th, to Portugal. My passport is still valid but I learned once I arrived at the airport that my passport must be valid 90 days after my return(July 11th) in order to fly. After the tears in the airport and calling my husband to come and get me, I got it together & the ticket agent was able to re-book my flight for the same departure time and arrival, just a day later with no fee!! She told me to go to the US Customs building tomorrow & I should be good. Thank goodness it is only 30mins from my house.She also told me that this happens all the time.
    I returned home & immediately jumped on the US Customs site in Philadelphia to see what I could do. Of course, an appointment was not available for 2 weeks but I called the 24/7 number in DC & spoke to someone who told me to do EXACTLY what you posted. I will be in line by 6:30am for the office opens at 8am(I’m not taking any chances!!).
    Your experience really gives me hope that this will work & I will be in Portugal Wednesday morning!! Thank you & I will let everyone know how I made out & if it works in Philadelphia.


  16. Albert SANCHEZ on July 7, 2015

    I want to go to dr the 28th but I don’t want to wait for my passport but I don’t want to buy my ticket now. Also what is the difference between a emergency passport and normal passport u wait for any suggestions would be very helpful


  17. Rahim Sonawalla on July 9, 2015

    @Albert there isn’t any difference between an emergency passport and a normal passport, just that one is issued quicker than the other (and for a higher fee since it’s expedited). Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do a same-day passport without having proof of upcoming travel.


  18. Maria on July 10, 2015

    Hello,
    I sent my passport and requested expedited service 3 weeks ago. I paied 180$ including overnight shipping. it was supposed to be here in 2-3 weeks. I called today and they said I still have to wait 1 and half week because its summer and they are busy.. Im traveling in 7 days!!!! any suggestions about what I could do?? Thank youuu


  19. Renee on July 13, 2015

    My trip to mexico leaves on saturday the 18th.. still are waiting for my sons passport. Still in process.. I am planning to go to the Detroit office tomorrow.. read in a couple of blogs where you may not need an appointment. Does anyone know if they may redo another passport eventhough I have one in process? I don’t know what else to do. Called the senator.. spoke with the passport people on the phone almost daily X 2 weeks. HELP!


  20. Maria on July 15, 2015

    @renee I have the same problem!!!! I don’t know what to do. did you find a solution? I will really appriciate it!


  21. Ed on July 16, 2015

    Thanks, I was panicking over a work trip to Canada in two weeks. Knowing you got yours in a day took all the pressure off. Makes me feel silly for panicking over a trip two weeks out.


  22. Natalia on July 17, 2015

    @Maria and Renee: I am in the same situation! I am traveling in 10 days and my son’s passport still in process. did you find a solution?


  23. beth on July 28, 2015

    Has any one used a held itinenary? I am waiting to book my flight so did a 7 day fare lock, because i have to make sure i can get my passport and visa in onetime.


  24. Jon on August 7, 2015

    I leave sunday night and i still havent recieved my passpor, are they open weekends so i can go to the agency asap??


  25. Rahim Sonawalla on August 8, 2015

    @Jon Unfortunately, the passport office is closed on the weekends!


  26. John on August 9, 2015

    Thanks so much! It still works. I awoke at one a.m. the night before our trip to Brazil the next day at 5 pm to my wife shrieking and crying uncontrollably . Her “old eyes” had thought the tiny expiration number on our passport said 6 instead of 5. Now with less, much less, than 24 hours to go to meet our son and his friend in Miami for the last leg of our journey. To make it worse, my wife has a heart condition and this much stress is dangerous. I found your post among the various “rush” passport services. So, we jumped in the car and drove 5 hours to Atlanta getting the new photos there at the Fed Ex/Kinko’s. As you stated, we were asked if we had an appointment when we arrived at 8:30 am. When we said no, they simply gave us a ticket after the supervisor came out and we explained the situation and that we had what we needed. Once inside, we were called in 30 minutes. Once we explained we were going to try to travel that day (my wife cried a little) and proved it with a printout from the airlines- take one for each person,they took our information to get new passports. They said to check back in two hours and we went to get breakfast. When we returned in 2 hours, the passports were ready. Actually, they had called us 15 minutes before and we failed to notice the call. All because the nice woman put us at “highest priority ” because we were traveling that day. We jumped in the car and drove back to Nashville in time to catch our flight ( straight to the airport) and the rest dis a wonderful time in Brazil visiting a former exchange student who just had her first child. Thanks so much for passing this on, saving our vacation and my wife’s heart!


  27. Gary on August 11, 2015

    Rahim this post is giving me some hope after the horrible way my day started off. I have made plans to go to Beirut, Lebanon on August 22nd. I already purchased my plane tickets and made my arrangements for lodging and travel. This morning I wake up to an email from the National Passport agency saying that there was an issue with the application i submitted 3 weeks ago for expedited processing and i needed to submit a supplemental questionnaire along with 5 forms of ID that are 5 years or older. I couldn’t believe it! i was suppose to have my passport back by now. so all day i have been trying to put together 5 forms of ID that are 5 years or older that have a picture, name and date of issue or signature, name and date of issue (its harder than it sounds especially since they already have my expired passport that i had submitted with my passport renewal application). I put it all together and 2nd day aired it since i had missed the deadline for next day air. they should receive everything by Wednesday morning. if i have not heard back from them by Monday morning i will be at their office Tuesday morning with all the ids i sent photocopies of today. I also live in Los Angeles and was wonder what location exactly did you go to? do you recommend i fill out the form again? also currently they are in possession of my expired passport do you think that would matter? Ahhh! so many questions and concerns. As you can tell i am still very frustrated and haven’t been able to sleep.


  28. Gary on August 11, 2015

    @maria @renee @natalia i just saw your posts any update on your situations?


  29. Rahim Sonawalla on August 11, 2015

    @John Glad to hear things worked out well for you!

    @Gary I went to the one in the Wilshire Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd #1000, Los Angeles, CA 90024. I haven’t heard back from the Maria or the others, but I think if you explain your situation, the people at the Passport Office may be able to help out. (Sounds like it’s a somewhat common situation.)

    I don’t think they’ll allow you to arrive without an appointment like I did, however, since you’re not flying out until next Saturday. I’d say call and try to make an appointment for early next week just in case you don’t get anything in the mail. Go with all the forms filled out again as if you were renewing, and see what they say.

    If you get a chance, please come back and let people know how it turned out for you. I think it’d be really helpful!


  30. Dave on August 14, 2015

    Thank you so much for posting this!!


  31. janine on September 7, 2015

    I’m traveling on 9/20/15. I have an appt for a renewal passport on 9/11/15. Do you think I will get it the same day? Should I just walk into the office before that and go to the will call window?

    Any help would be great.


  32. Rahim Sonawalla on September 8, 2015

    @Janine You should get it the same day, so it’s best to keep your existing appointment.


  33. Mark Clark on September 11, 2015

    Don’t they just do it at any regional passport agency? Since the los angeles area is one of them, or you really think it’ll work at any passport offices?


  34. Laura on September 13, 2015

    Thanks for all of this info! Going to NYC office on Wednesday. Feeling better.


  35. eric on September 19, 2015

    @taneisha how did everything work out? i have a flight monday evening from philly to peru at 6pm. my passport expired two weeks ago. i made an appt at the passport agency here in philly for 9am monday, and got all the necessary paperwork. do you have any other advice that may be helpful to know going into their? on the website it says to bring a photocopy of both sides of the drivers license…was this necessary too?


  36. eric on September 21, 2015

    welp. en route to lima. anyone tryna do this through philly office…things are pretty simple if you bring the necessary paperwork. no need to bring photocopy of ID (as it says on the website). and i showed up at 7am (opens at 8am; appt was at 9am) and was third in line. moved quickly, and was able to get it by 130pm. that was probably overkill..as there were people who showed up for their 11am appts and got their pp at the same time as i did. any other qs, feel free to email me @ goldwas3@gmail.com. apparently there is a nj office up in union county (westfield) that’s open on saturdays.


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  38. SIMON on November 17, 2015

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!
    Realized my passport expired 2hrs before the flight..
    After freaking out and reading your post, I went to the NYC passport agency by 7am. There was already 15 people online..
    They opened the doors at 7:30am and I was on line B.
    I received a ticket and went to the 10th floor – 7:40am.
    I was called, paid $170 and was told to come back in 3 – 4 hrs to pick up the passport!!
    I was done by 7:45am!
    Thank you so much & hope this helps others as well!


  39. Rahim Sonawalla on November 17, 2015

    @SIMON Glad it helped!


  40. Wendy on November 20, 2015

    Thank you for this amazing information! I have a flight tomorrow and realized yesterday that my passport will expire in 4 months and entry into Honduras requires a valid passport for 6 months.

    I called the number you recommended (I live in LA) and was able to get an appointment for this morning at 9:30am. I arrived 45 minutes early. They asked for my confirmation number and was admitted into the office. They reviewed my paperwork and gave me a number. I was called within about 20 minutes. NOTE/WARNING: I had my passport photos taken at RiteAid last night, but when the passport office reviewed them, I was told that the photo was taken incorrectly and my face/head was not large enough in the picture. Oh, great!!!! Really? I was lucky enough to have a couple of photos stapled in the back of my passport for prior VISAs that I had received. I was able to convince her that one of the photos was recent (the rule is within 6 months) so they accepted it. Phew!

    I left the office at about 10am and have an appointment to pick it up at Will Call at 2:45pm.

    Barring any major issues, I expect to have my passport in hand by 3:00pm.

    Thanks again for this post!

    So, I left the office at about 10am


  41. Wendy on November 20, 2015

    Update:

    I was told to not come back until 2:45pm, for a 3:00pm pick up. I wanted to respect the instructions, but still showed up at 2:30pm. When I arrived at the Federal Bldg, there were at least 150 people in line for the Will Call to pick up their passports. I was shocked to see such a long line but when I asked one of the officers, he reassured me that everyone in line would be processed before the office would close. They were really efficient and did get everyone processed before the end of their day.

    I have my new passport and can get on the flight tomorrow! Phew!!!


  42. jim on December 29, 2015

    Thanks Rahim!

    My family and I had a monday departure and on saturday noticed that our six year old’s passport had expired! I found this post and it showed us the way.

    We managed to move our flight to tuesday and then Monday followed your advice and I’m typing this from the great white north where we arrived today.

    A couple of notes to share: We went on Sunday to the Beverly Hills library, we being my wife my daughter and I, and had the person at the passport office there do all our documentation. Both parents usually have to be at the federal building, along with the child, to get a passport, but by having the lady at the library do our paperwork (we had photos, had printed out docs filled out on line, and had birth certificate) and then seal the envelope, neither my wife nor my daughter had to go wait in line with me on monday morning, which was early and cold! I got there at 6:30, was about twentieth in line and (for reasons unknown) got out of there by 8.

    I also was told to come back at 245pm, which I did with my daughter, to pick up the passport. There were a good seventy five people in front of us and it took until 345 to get it, but we did and were grateful. Coming at 215-230 would have saved us some time. A guy I saw from the morning had come back that afternoon about twenty minutes before us and was about twentieth in the pick up line.

    Thanks again!


  43. Rahim Sonawalla on December 31, 2015

    Jim, glad to hear things worked out! Also, fantastic tip about getting your paperwork done in advance if you’re renewing a child’s passport! I didn’t even know that was possible, but I’m sure that saved a lot of headache!


  44. Mikayla on January 10, 2016

    Does anyone know if this works if I am driving to Canada Friday and I have an appointment at 9:30 on Monday? I don’t have a flight itinerary to show because I am not flying and my friend reserved the hotel. Could I bring hotel confirmation and say that I am staying with her?


  45. Rahim Sonawalla on January 11, 2016

    @Mikayla I don’t think you’ll have a problem. Proving the urgency by showing a flight confirmation is only something I had to do to be seen last-minute (since I didn’t have an appointment). You’ve got an appointment, so you’re all set. Just go in and ask/pay the extra for expediting the processing. (It was $60 to expedite when I went it a few years ago.)


  46. KC on January 25, 2016

    Thank you for the write up. I just had a similar experience. I opened up my passport on Sat night to find out it had expired and I am leaving early Tuesday morning to drive from Seattle to Canada. I quickly made an appointment at the Seattle agency for Monday…gathered all my info, filled out the forms, and printed my hotel reservation (yes they accepted it as proof of travel since I was driving). My appointment was at 9:30 but I arrived at 7:45 and was 2nd in line. They opened the doors at 7:55. By 8:10 I was finished and on my way to work. I came back at 2:00 today and my passport was waiting for me at will call. Of course I was stressed going into the situation since I thought I may have to miss my trip but the process could not have been easier. Make an appointment…collect all your info…arrive as early as possible…and smile. They are there to help you.


  47. Manish on March 19, 2016

    Hi Rahim, Just found out now that my 10 yr daughters passport expired last week and we tracked to Mexico on Wednesday morning. Your post really calmed my nerves. I had a question though, do I meed to bring my daughter with me? We live in NJ and plan to go to NYC. Also do I still need to get an appointment even thiugh they are available for 10 days later?


  48. Rahim Sonawalla on March 20, 2016

    @Manish Generally, you’d want to make an appointment, but in this case, the earliest available appointment is long after your scheduled departure date, so you’ll have to just show up to the passport office without one like I did in the blog post. The keys being: have all the paperwork and photos completed ahead of time (based on other comments, it sounds like you may also need to bring a copy of your daughter’s birth certificate), be able to show proof of last-minute travel, such as airline tickets, and get there *early* to be able to get a good spot in the “Will Call” line.

    Unfortunately, I can’t give much advice about renewing a child’s passport, since my only experience is with renewing my own, but another commenter, Jim (commented on Dec 29th), had a similar situation with is daughter, so the information in his comment might be helpful to you:

    “My family and I had a monday departure and on saturday noticed that our six year old’s passport had expired! I found this post and it showed us the way.

    “We managed to move our flight to tuesday and then Monday followed your advice and I’m typing this from the great white north where we arrived today.

    “A couple of notes to share: We went on Sunday to the Beverly Hills library, we being my wife my daughter and I, and had the person at the passport office there do all our documentation. Both parents usually have to be at the federal building, along with the child, to get a passport, but by having the lady at the library do our paperwork (we had photos, had printed out docs filled out on line, and had birth certificate) and then seal the envelope, neither my wife nor my daughter had to go wait in line with me on monday morning, which was early and cold! I got there at 6:30, was about twentieth in line and (for reasons unknown) got out of there by 8.

    “I also was told to come back at 245pm, which I did with my daughter, to pick up the passport. There were a good seventy five people in front of us and it took until 345 to get it, but we did and were grateful.”

    Based on Jim’s comment, it sounds like both parents and child will need to be present at the Passport Office in NYC, unless you can find a smaller Passport Office branch in NJ (like Jim did on Sunday at the Beverly Hills library) to take care of some of the paperwork ahead of time.

    Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!


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