Getting a Passport Pronto
When strict new cross-border rules went into effect in January, passport processing times ballooned from six weeks to 12 weeks. So what happens if you have to travel internationally and you don't have a passport?
This story first appeared in the November 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.In June, U.S. citizens who had applied for but not yet received passports were allowed to travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda with only a photo ID and official proof of application for a passport. But that waiver expired September 30.
If you need your passport in a hurry, here are your choices:
- If you're traveling within the next 14 days, make an appointment at a regional passport agency and apply in person. According to the State Department, the best time to call the automated lines is between 8:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. EST.
- The government's "expedited" service can take three weeks to process. The cost: $60 plus overnight delivery fees.
- Use a private expediter. Some, like Travisa, require that you make an appointment (in person or by mail, e-mail or phone) for any service. CIBTclaims you can get a passport or visa in days. Expect to pay about $175 to get a passport in a week or $250 for emergency processing, which takes two days or less, says Steven Diehl of CIBT.
- Really at sea? If you've got the connections, your best recourse may be for your congressional representative to pull some strings.
Julie Moline is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant in New York City.
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