Step-by-Step Process for How to Get a Passport the Day Of

If you’re like me, you’re really bad at planning. So when it came time for me to prepare for my cruise to the Bahamas for spring break last week, I realized that not only was I missing my driver’s license (I lose things all the time, too), but I also had an expired passport. As you can imagine, immediate panic ensued when I realized that there was a very good chance that I would not be able to board this ship. I’m here to tell you that there is a loophole around waiting four to six weeks for the normal passport shipping time, and even the three weeks with expedited shipping. So, if you need a passport ASAP and have don’t have any time to lose, here’s a step by step process for how to (fairly) easily obtain one the day of.


1. This process can only be possible if you have the time and gas money to make a trip up to Washington D.C to the Passport Agency. There’s actually a ton of other locations as well, but for me, and most of us on the East Coast, this one is the closest. If you’re looking for a different location that might be closer to you, just check here.



2. When you visit the website, call the number provided on the home screen to make an appointment. Sounds easy, right? Well, here’s the catch. If you need your passport within the next couple of days, they’ll most likely be all booked with appointments for the next couple of weeks anyways. If you’re lucky enough to schedule an appointment time that works for you, that’s great. You can keep reading, however, because the requirements for what to bring and what to fill out will still apply to you.


3. If you cannot make an appointment, there’s good news: The Passport Agency takes walk-ins. The downside is that there’s no absolute guarantee that they can help you without an actual appointment, but seeing as I recently went through this process and had no difficulty, you can assume the same will go for you.


4. Arrive at the agency as early as possible. The D.C location is open from 8-3 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 9-3 on Wednesdays. I would suggest getting there right when the doors open so that there’s a shorter line to stand in.


5. Documents you’ll need: Your expired passport (if possible--not mandatory), appointment confirmation number if applicable, proof of your travel (via travel itinerary or flight confirmation), a valid government issued photo ID (a driver’s license, for instance), a passport-valid photo (which you can easily get at CVS or Walgreens for about fifteen dollars), a completed but not signed D11 form which you can access here, and enough money to cover the charges (getting a passport the day of can cost up to $200--pricey, but worth it).



6. If you DO NOT have a valid government issued photo ID, as was my case, you can supplement it with as many personalized cards as possible to provide adequate proof that you are who you say you are. For example, your debit card, JAC card, medical insurance card, social security card, birth certificate, and expired license all work. You will also need someone to accomodate you to the agency that has known you for at least two years because they will need to fill out a separate form once you arrive to vouch for your not having a valid ID.


7. Once you arrive at the agency, the whole process should be fairly simple. The waiting is the hardest part, but if you’ve ever been to the DMV, you should understand what to expect. I would give yourself between 1-3 hours before you’ll have your passport in hand--this is definitely an all day thing.



Hopefully I’ve provided you with enough information for you to easily obtain your passport, but I would still suggest calling the Passport Agency to have them reiterate the whole process. Good luck and happy travels!