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Dispatches: How to Get a Passport Fast


It was on a recent Thursday afternoon that my wife discovered that her passport had expired some two months earlier. She was scheduled to take a business trip to Jamaica the following Tuesday. Panic, and some quick Googling, and not a few phone calls followed, from both of us. She could go to a US Passport office, proof of travel and her expired passport in hand, and wait. But that took an appointment, and when she attempted to make one with the State Department, she was repeatedly cut off after being put on hold for 30 minutes at a time.

It’s not surprising. After all, the US State Department is undergoing considerable pressure to issue new passports, from an American public that is quickly waking up to the fact that they now need passports for travel to Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada. According to the US Department of State, routine service is now taking 10 weeks and expedited service is taking two weeks (which is likely to get worse as the summer travel season draws closer).

So both of us turned our dialing fingers to expediters, companies that, for an additional fee, promise to get you a passport fast. But clearly the stampede has put a huge amount of pressure on these companies as well. I found this out after a bunch of calls and was told by most expediters that getting a passport in two days was impossible. Seriously impossible, in the current mad rush to get passports. It will take 13 days, answered one. Fifteen days, said another. As I was working my way through an approved list of expediters ( see www.napvs.org), my wife called, triumphant. Her brilliant intern, Meaghan, had discovered a company called Rush Passport. They  promised to get her a new passport in 48 hours. And they delivered, 48 hours later. So kudos to Rush Passport, who more than lived up to their name.

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