Your passport is definitely the most essential part of your trip.
When it comes to booking a vacation, the excitement is tremendous, but the challenges and the work that needs to be done are HUGE! Now that the authorities have found creative ways to let us travel again under the pandemic, we are more than ready to get back out there and enjoy a good time abroad.
There are a lot of things to consider and remember to pack for a vacation, but the most important thing is your PASSPORT since you cannot travel abroad without it. Besides the fact that you should make sure that you have it with you, you must check its validity.
If it’s expired, then making a new one as soon as possible is priority number one. It can take up to 8 weeks for it to be done but here are some ways you can speed up the process:
1. Don’t wait too long to apply
Usually, it takes up to 18 weeks for your passport to be done, sealed and delivered to you. So, first things first, you need to consider that fact and if your passport is about to expire or will do so before the trip, you need to re-apply right away.
You don’t want any unpleasant situations happening to you, or worse, make you cancel your trip. Some people even advise us to apply as early as six months in advance. When it comes to planning and organizing you always need to give yourself more time and do things in advance so that you won’t be pressured by time or have any unpleasantries.
2. Pay for the expedition
Money is always the answer, at least in some cases, like this one. An extra $60 will cut down 6 weeks of the application process. Once your payment has been registered, the expedition process will start.
So, don’t be late on the payment. That way, the expedition process can start right away. In addition, if you pay another $18 you will speed up the delivery as well. Like we said. Money can get you in high places. The sooner you receive your passport the better.
If money isn’t a problem nor is the principle, you should consider this option.
3. But what if you’re already abroad?
You’re on your vacation abroad and you didn’t notice it ‘till now, but your passport expired whilst you were on vacation, what do you do then? Well, there’s no need to worry because in 2020 The State Department decided that American citizens who are already abroad and have their passports expired can come back home without stressing out.
This decision was made to cut down on travel difficulties and delays created by COVID-19. This is a great move because your passport expires during your current vacation and when you come back to the U.S. you have plenty of time until the next one to get a new document.
But pay attention because some countries require your passport to be valid months after the trip so make sure you check on that before embarking on another trip.
4. Call your local member of Congress or senator
It may seem a bit over the top, however, in a desperate situation it may work out for you. If you call the offices of federal representatives, they can try and help people who apply for a new passport through specific liaisons at the State Department.
But their power is limited by the protocol and processing timelines of the department, so sometimes it won’t do much for you, however, you can still call them, and you can make the process easier.
If you are in a desperate situation, you should try this, it may do wonders for you.
5. Make an emergency in-person appointment 3 days before your trip
If you didn’t know about this pay attention because it may be exactly what you were looking for. The State Department says that if you find yourself in a delicate situation where a family member of yours is dying or has died, you can make an appointment 72 hours before your trip.
However, you need proof. What kind of proof? Well, you’re going to need a death certificate or an official letter from the hospital. To make an appointment call between Monday and Friday at
1-877-487-2778 and during weekends or the holidays call at 202-647-4000.
6. Make a non-emergency in-person appointment 3 days before your trip
Don’t get excited just yet. This is an extremely limited opportunity as the State Department rarely offers passport appointments for trips that aren’t an emergency such as those mentioned at the previous point.
As proof of international travel, you will need to bring a flight itinerary or proof of a hotel reservation. Several Facebook groups will provide tips that will help you with the application process. Some even advised that it’s best to check in at 5 in the morning because at later hours the portal began crashing due to many people trying to book.
7. What about just postponing your trip?
If you just noticed that your passport is expiring soon and your trip is sooner than 12 to 18 weeks, you should consider postponing it. It’s hard to book a vacation and it’s even trickier to postpone one, but it’s better to postpone it than to lose the money.
Usually, agencies are pretty flexible with changing dates, but some may request a small fee in exchange. If you haven’t booked a trip yet, but you’re thinking to do so, play it safe and book it 6 months in advance, that way you’ll have enough time.
Here are some tips on how you can cancel your vacation without having to lose a dime: 9 Ways to Cancel Your Trip Without Losing Money.
8. Just wait for the process to speed up
Sounds like weird and pointless advice, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but sometimes if you’ve already tried everything and it didn’t make any miracles happen then you should just wait for the process to be done.
I know, it’s frustrating, but sometimes we have no choice but to wait for the system to do its job. In addition, the spokesperson for the State Department mentioned that some changes will make the process speed up and fortunately travelers will get their passports in time.
What’s more, is that even the members of Congress want more action, and they even signed a letter destined to the Secretary of State asking for things to speed up.
Have you checked your paperwork?
When it comes to legal documents such as your passport, you don’t want anything wrong to come up with your paperwork. If your paperwork is not sufficient or there are any human errors in the paperwork the Passport Office will delay your passport.
You want your photographs to be the right size and marked, and the forms are fully and correctly completed. Just like tax filling, a passport application needs to be all correct.