How to get a passport — fast

A customs agent in Turkey was unable to tell the difference between a real U.K. passport and a plastic toy passport belonging to a pink unicorn. Credit: Getty Images
Bon voyage!
Credit: Getty Images

Man is prone to wanderlust, and the responsible ones already possess a tattered passport. But not everyone is responsible. As Eddie Izzard once said, America doesn’t make it easy for Americans to travel. Indeed, acquiring or renewing a passport is a slow and pricey endeavor, which can take as long as six weeks and whose total cost reaches upwards of $200. But if you’re suddenly jetting to greener pastures within only a few weeks, or even a few days, you still have options.

Go the traditional route

The good news: Government passport agencies aren’t entirely unsympathetic towards abruptly planned international trips. “Many cities, such as New York City, will offer expedited passports if you visit the passport office in person and can demonstrate that you plan to travel within two weeks,” says Sarah Gavin, Director, Public Relations and Social Media at Expedia.

The bad news: It’s not foolproof. The number of appointments are few, in part because passport agencies are only open a handful of hours during the weekday. This isn’t often a problem, but during busy seasons — particularly summer, when everyone wants to ditch America — regional offices in major cities, like New York City and Philadelphia, are too often clogged to the point where there are no appointments. You may be asked to visit offices in far-flung Buffalo or New Hampshire — a problem if you’re a carless urbanite.

Even then there may be an unexpected issue — something in your past that requires further snooping — that may slow the process. And you might wind up stuck with a ticket you purchased to get the passport, only to wind up passport-free. But there’s still another option.

Go through an expediting agency

As any richie knows, the way to solve any problem is to hurl money at it. If you have a flight abroad but don’t yet have an appointment to acquire a passport, you can try an expediting service (like Passport Visas Express,, which can turn passports around in as little as three days. It’s not cheap: Depending on how quickly you need it, the fee can go as high as $200, plus any overnight FedEx fees — and that’s on top of the usual passport fees. But if there’s a will, and a pile of excess cash, there’s a way.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."


Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.


MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox


2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch


2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.


2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.


Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.


Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.