The fastest way to get a passport will allow you to get your travel document the same day. Routine service takes from four to six weeks and expedited service through an acceptance facility or by mail takes from two or three weeks. When you cannot wait that long, then you have to get your application to a regional passport agency.
Regional passport agencies serve American citizens who must travel out of the country in two weeks or less. Individuals who also need to obtain visas for the countries they plan to visit can submit their passport applications at the regional agencies up to four weeks before their departure dates. All requirements for the type of passport service you need still apply when visiting a regional agency.
Passport application processing agencies can be found in several major cities throughout the United States. A couple of new centers were opened in 2009 and the State Department has plans to open another in Buffalo, New York in 2010. Agencies are located in Aurora (Co.), Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Norwalk (Ct), Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson and Washington DC.
In order to apply for a passport at a regional agency, you first have to set up an appointment by phoning 1-877-487-2778. Due to the high demand, it often takes several attempts to get through to the automated system. It is possible that the next available appointment is later than you can wait. In this case, you have two alternatives.
One thing you can do if you have difficulty scheduling an appointment is merely show up at the nearest passport agency. While the State Department states that applicants need to make an appointment and they have no obligation to receive applicants from those who do not schedule one, I have never heard of anyone being turned away. In fact, many travelers have shared how they were able to get same day passports without an appointment.
A second option you have if you are unable to set up an appointment or you just do not have time to get to a regional agency is to authorize a professional expediting service to submit your application in your place. Expediters have been around for decades and are a reliable means for getting your passport fast. Just be sure to choose one that allows you to request their services online and has good reviews and ratings with prior customers.
If you are in a hurry, applying at a regional passport agency is the fastest way to get a passport. Whether you do it yourself or go through an expediter, you can obtain your travel document as quickly as the same day.
Visit U.S. Passport Service Guide for requirements, instructions and tips for expediting American passports as quickly as the same day.