Getting a Same Day Passport

by on March 28, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Despite what airline agents will tell you, it is pretty straightforward to get a same day passport.

A few things you should know:

  • The search results are polluted. Most of the ‘passport-expediters’ will slow you down / make it impossible to get a same day passport.
  • You have to make an appointment. From what I can tell they don’t hold you to the exact time. The appointment process is really just to keep the riff-raff out. Update: Some readers have been able to get a passport with out an appointment. YMMV.
  • Your passport has to be processed at one of the Regional Centers. If you can’t get there in person, you’re not getting a passport the same day. The expediters all require you to ship stuff. These centers are:
    • East Coast: Boston, Miami, New York, Norwalk CT, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Portsmouth NH
    • West Coast: Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego
    • Middle: Aurora CO, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Tucson AZ
  • It takes 3-5 hours to actually make the passport. Take the earliest appointment you can get. You can’t count on just stopping by the office, standing in line and then heading to the airport. My appointment was at 8:30 AM. I got my passport by 2:15.

The process looks like this:

  • Make an appointment. 1-877-487-2778. This is number is an automated service. It is available 24/7. We found a minor bug in the system since our home address was in Seattle, but we needed to visit the LAX center. So, we used the zip code of our hotel at LAX. They apparently help people 7 days a week (except federal holidays). However, they don’t publish their weekend hours, so it isn’t clear how open they really are.
    • Do this immediately.
    • Take the earliest appointment available.
  • Get passport photos. No, they don’t do this there - mind-boggling. Many 1-hr photo places can do these. I got mine at CVS (look for the ones with ‘1-hr photo’). Walmart does them as well. Call ahead if you are going to go to a 24-hr place like CVS or Walmart - they don’t always have people at the photo labs. It costs about $10 and takes 5 minutes. Updated: Feedback from visitors strongly favor getting photos taken at Kinko’s as their photo facilities are always running when the store is open. CVS closes their photo lab during some off-hours.
  • Show up, fill out forms. Pay. It cost me $220 to get mine.
    • You need to prove US citizenship and you need to prove identity. The identity part is straightforward (you can even have someone testify that it is you). Apparently the only way to do this is with a birth certificate or passport. If you had a prior passport, they can look it up in their system. However, they charge you $60 for the ‘research’ (it takes 2 min).
  • Come back later and pick up your passport. They’ll give you a time to show up. Get there as early as possible.

The State Department website is reasonably useful as well and should be used as your primary research. I find it amusing that they feel it is necessary to include this statement:


Updated Dec 2010:
Wow, 150+ comments! That makes it kind of hard to navigate the responses. There is some awesomely helpful experiences layered in the comments. I’ve gone through all 150+ comments and grouped them by passport office when one was mentioned (I only grouped helpful experiences). If you’re interested in experiences specific to one passport office, please visit the relevant page below:

  • Lesson learn

    I’m traveling tomorrow (Monday) and just found out that my passport expired. Since it’s an early flight, there is no way I can renew my passport before 6am. I saw this site, and called the number for one of the agency here in CT and got an appointment at 11:30 am. After reading some of these blogs, I’m gonna be there by 8 am and hopefully can take care of this right away. I also went to my local CVS to get 2 photos. My wife and I had to reschedule our flight for Tuesday and another $600. Needless to say, my wife is not happy. I thought I was the only one that didn’t check the passport before leaving U.S. and so glad I found this site to help me out. Thanks and wish me luck tomorrow.

  • Laf2282

    Thank you for the info. We had to get a same day passport in Dallas. We were denied boarding on Saturday. We made an appointment or 10 am Monday. We arrived at 845 just to see if they would let is in early. We had all of our documents prepared and in order before we got there. They had our paperwork processed by 930. They told us it would be ready at 1130 but we could come back a little earlier for the possibility it was done sooner. We were back at 1030 and it was ready for us at 1045. Incredibly nice employees (never thought I would say that about government workers). Cost was $195.

  • Judithg77

    It is so easy to get a passport without having an appointment in NY. I was there at 7:00 am. You only need to prove that you are traveling in less than fifteen days. I went in person and got it the next day at 10:00 am. Just make sure that you bring all the documents and get there very early. I only paid $165.

  • RB 7878

    Went to Washington DC for my passport – same day. Arrived at 8:00AM had my passport by 2:00PM on the same day. Every employee at this center was helpful and fantastic. Nothing more to say.

  • Denise from TX

    If I have custody of my 15yr old daughter (and am remarried) and want to apply for a passport for her (we are considering a cruise for the 3 of us) do I have to have her father’s “ok” or is her step-father’s letter of approval enough?

  • Just followed this method to the letter and got my passport from San Francisco. Pretty straight forward but time consuming, but since you’re getting a same day passport it’s definitely worth it. Sign up for an appointment but come as early as possible, as the appointments don’t mean anything and are just a way to buffer people all coming at the same time. Everyone waits in one big line like the DMV and all of the passports are released at exactly 3.

  • Julie

    What if you are driving to Mexico and don’t have proof of travel? My son needs to be in Mexico this Friday but not sure what proof I can provide to get his passport. His current passport is expired. I don’t want to drive all the way to Houston only to be turned away. Help.

  • Desperate

    While getting ready to leave for London on Tuesday my wife checked our son’s passport expiration date and found in had expired in April. I called the Boston passport office and found that the earliest appointment is not until after we are scheduled to leave. If we just go to this office with all of the necessary paperwork and photo, would they try to fit us in? Or are we screwed?

    • Some people have had luck doing that. If you try it, please let us know how it goes.

  • Stephen JM

    I have an appointment for 10:30am
    on Friday 7/26 at the Philly location. Will I be able to arrive around
    10am and be able to meet with an agent as I scheduled an appointment
    via the telephonic system or has it been everyone’s experience and
    advice for me to show up at 7am and be seen for 8?

    10:30am was the first appointment date and time I was able to get. I
    leave for travel to Canada (via car) on August 1st and plan to print out
    my hotel reservation via email confirmation. Does anyone have any
    additional suggestions for me based on their experience.

    The reason I have to apply is because I did not realize until this
    past Thursday that my passport was lost during Hurricane Sandy. I was
    able to save all my other important documentation (BC, SS card, etc) and
    incorrectly assumed my passport was with those documents in a
    watertight protector. I plan on bringing the D-11 filled out as well as
    the lost passport form completed and already have the long form Birth
    certificate as well as two pictures (one stapled to the D-11


    Thank you for addressing the issue of having to visit a passport office and providing some peace of mind for travelers.

  • Brie

    CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH!!! 4am on Sunday, I realized my passport had expired and we were flying to Mexico that morning!!! We tried to call several “express” passport companies but thankfully they were all closed!
    Found your blog that morning and was very skeptical to say the least but we called the number you listed and actually got an appt. at the Dallas Regional Passport office – unfortunately it was for Tuesday – the day we had rescheduled the flights for! Praying that I could beg and plead with the passport people for an earlier appt, I drove to Dallas and showed up Monday at the office at 7am (opens at 8). There was no need to beg!
    We went through security and they informed us that we could go up to the 11th floor at 7:50 so we went at 7:30 :) and talked to several other families waiting in the hall that were all in the same boat. Some had flights leaving out that day!
    At 7:45 they had us form a line and let us into the waiting area – anyone with an 8am appt got seen right away but by 8:15 everyone else (about 20 of us at that point) were allowed to get in line. I had my drivers license, passport photo, completed paperwork, travel itinerary, credit card and expired passport all ready so it took literally 3-4 min at the first window.
    She gave me a number, I sat and waited for 10 min until my number was called. At the next window I submitted the paperwork and documents; paid and was told to come back between 2-3pm to pick up my new passport! I was out of there by 8:30!!!
    We came back and I picked up my passport at 1:40pm!
    Total cost: $170 plus $10 for parking
    You completely saved my trip with this information and well over $400!!!
    Not only that, my faith in our federal services was restored! Everyone there was kind, efficient and helpful! JUST…WOW!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!
    P.S. – got my passport pics done at Walgreens on Sunday $11.99

    • Wow, great! Thanks for sharing

  • I Hate USPS

    I’m very busy, but I’m writing this to save someone else a lot of heartache and worry.


    This is the second time this has happened to me. First time was with either my wife’s or my passport, and now the second time with my daughter’s passport.

    For some reason, (I suspect either because USPS does not mind gypping and lying when it comes to other agencies’ mail delivery [are they going to file for a guarantee refund? NO!], or because USPS employees love ruining other peoples’ international vacations, or USPS cannot handle overnight deliveries), USPS Tracking showed that my passport was delivered on 10/7/2013 via USPS Priority Express 1-Day. This was an absolute lie. The passport CARD showed up on 10/9/2013, as did the original birth certificate. However, the actual passport did not show up until 10/16/2013 (today), even though it was supposedly fake-delivered to me on 10/7.

    If you do not want to wait a whole extra week for your passport to arrive, do yourself a favor and just sign up for the regular mailing of your passport. Save the $12.85 and paradoxically your passport will arrive quicker.

    If you’re wondering why I made the same mistake twice, I was lied to and told that I must buy the $12.85 overnight delivery if I wanted to pay the $60.00 expedite fee.

    There should be an investigation into the practice of fake-delivering passports and them showing up a week+ after. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  • Jay

    Hello I’m looking into getting a same day passport in Philadelphia. Does this location do this in one day? I leave out for vacation next week

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  • Charlie Kelly

    We are one of the leading passport expediting agencies and we always tell people that their first option should be a Regional Passport Agency:

    If that doesn’t work, then we can help secure a passport in 24 hours if necessary. It does come at an additional cost, so we recommend exhausting all options first. The same day passport is extremely tricky, but this was a well put together piece. Thanks for offering helpful info!!!

  • ColoradoMan

    Just visited the Colorado Passport office to renew my expired passport. Stupidly I did not check my passport until saturday night, the day before my flight to Cancun… It was expired by 7 days. I felt like an idiot. Unfortunately I had not checked 25 hours earlier because the colorado office did a special Saturday, and were open… This is not a usual occurrence, but it was clearly scheduled on their website.

    Sunday I took my girlfriend and my some of my friends to the airport to go to cancun (a big planned vacation with friends) and then went to the office on sunday just to see where it was, which was reasonably close to the airport in a very nice business park. I was able to enter the building and go to the 6th floor and look in the window and see. I had called saturday to schedule an appointment and was given one on tuesday at 8:30, but I went first thing monday morning. I got there at 7:30 and was second in line, they opened the doors at 7:45 and we went through the metal detector and waited in line till 8 for the booth to open (the line was a dozen people long at 8) The person behind the counter inspected my paperwork, made sure I had photos, and my travel itinerary (showing my Saturday flight) she gave me a number, I was second in line. Within minutes I was being helped. since I was traveling very soon, I was able to get my passport in 3 hours. HOWEVER, the guy ahead of me had flown in from out of state to visit the office, and was told he would get his in 1 hour!

    Overall I was shocked, all the reports of nice staff are absolutely true! it only cost me $170 and I had my passport in mere hours, and they took CREDIT CARDS! a first for a government office.

    -Make an appointment
    -Go ASAP anyway…
    -HAVE ALL YOUR PAPERWORK (DS-11 or DS-82), Pictures[I went to kinkos], and birth certificate (if needed), and previous passport (if applicable) and be nice, the staff are great, and very helpful!
    -You can use your cellphone/iPad/tablet as long as you are not talking or making noise. There is a little sign saying you can use them as long as you are not making noise. I barely had time to even look at my phone I was helped so fast, but if you aren’t second in line there will be some waiting. they had about 5 people at counters, so it was moving quickly.

    I never thought I would have such a great experience in a government office.

  • ash

    I am leaving in exactly two weeks and live extremely far from the nearest agency which is Washington DC..will they give me a passport the same day?

  • Curt

    does anyone know if this is still the way it’s done in 2015?

    • Yes, it appears to be the case.

  • Aron

    I have a question. I submitted my renew passport on February 20, it was a routine service. I tracked it and it states that it is being processed. I called and they said they can expedite it but not sure if it can be done. Can I go to a agency? Any suggestions on how I can obtain my passport quickly?
    Thank You

  • Amiee Kenney

    This is the most helpful site regarding getting an emergency passport I’ve come across! !! Thank you Dave !!! I may take an overseas job (not sure if it will come through or not) and as I can’t afford to waste $195 on the chance it may never be needed, I have been agonizing over my need to obtain a passport and the very real possibility that I will have less than two weeks to make that happen. After reading your blog, I can finally breathe easier!!! Again, Dave you rock !!!!!!

  • Bianca

    I have a question. I applied for my passport on May 30th and didn’t apply expediate because the lady told me that I had more then enough time to get my passport (first time passport applicant) however my travel is in 2 weeks and I still don’t have a passport. I track online and it tells me it still in process. I called and the passport people are no help they can’t give me a date and don’t really tell me much. If I already have a passport being made and it gets to the point to where I don’t have a choice but to go to the agency days before my travel can I get one made there and then. Even if I have to pay all over again and have one on the way? I can’t miss my flight I don’t want to this trip is a promise trip I made for my mom who passed from cancer and being a college student it was a expensive trip already. If the agency takes my application (if it comes to that) what would happen with the passport that I already paid for? I would appreciate any advice and tips and suggestion or words that would help me relax. I am loosing sleep freaking out.

    • Interesting situation – I’m pretty sure you can get a passport close to same day if you follow the procedures. I’m pretty sure you also have to pay all new fees. I don’t know what happens to the original application, but I imagine you’d still be able to travel regardless. Good luck, let us know how it works out!

  • Zhenya

    Hello, would you happen to know if it still works the same way in NYC – show up early in the morning and get same day passport?
    Thank you

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  • JB

    I just got my passport through a company for a 5 to 7 business day service. It cost about $400 ($170 was government fees which I verified via a government website). Even though it was really pricey, it was convenient enough (I still had to go to a passport office to take the pledge and get the documents sealed).

  • Karen

    I applied at my local Post Office and filled out a specific form for a passport name change because of marriage. The Post Office told me because I was married less than a year and notified the Passport Office I did not have to pay the $110 renewal fee. However, because my old passport is four years old, the Passport Office rejected my form. They did something I’m upset about though. They returned my marriage certificate and old passport with a set of renewal forms, but did not return my new photo or the forms I sent them with all my personal information. Just a letter telling me they rejected my application because I didn’t include the $110 fee. Now, where is my application form I did send them and where is my photo? This is serious, because if those documents are not in a safe place I’m now subject to become a victim of fraud if someone bad gets my information. They should have sent EVERYTHING back to me I sent to them. Anyone out there that can help?

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  • MM

    Had a great experience with the San Diego passport agency last week, was able to expedite my passport by showing up at 8AM on a Tuesday, walked away in less than an hour, and was told to pick up my passport Thursday afternoon. I did have to show proof of travel, so I had to purchase my plane tickets without knowing for sure if the passport renewal would go through in time. But there was no problem, they didn’t question or hassle, easy and smooth. Did my passport pick up Friday 8AM and was out in 20 minutes.

  • CH

    I just went to the Denver (aurora) office yesterday. Had a 9am appointment – it was packed with a long line. But I walked out at 9:23 completely done! I asked the agent who assisted me and here is their policy. They only give same day if you are traveling within 5-7 days. If it is longer than that (and mine is 2 weeks) then they overnight it to you and charge you $20 or you can pickup in person 2 days later. I drove from KC so I chose the overnight. It’s simple – fill out your passport app in advance, have your necessary docs and pics and it is very quick. Do print off your travel itinerary which means I had to buy mine in advance. But allows 24 hour cancellation on most purchases. So i bought my ticket the night before my appointment, just in case there was a problem. There wasn’t, and all seems good.

  • Dewayne

    Please make sure that if you’re applying for a passport as a new, first time applicant that the Birth Certificate is the state certified long form birth certificate. I took my birth certificate from the hospital and it wasn’t accepted. Without the state certified birth certificate you will not be allowed to get your passport. I brought 5 other forms of ID and none of them were acceptable as Primary proof to prove who I was.

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