Questions on US passport renewal

2 questions, which I could not get answered after combing government websites

  1. What’s the normal turnaround time for a passport renewal under non-exceptional circumstances? (no name change, expired less than 5 years, etc). I understand that it varies; I’m just looking for a fairly reliable ballpark.

  2. Renewals can be “expedited” for an extra fee. However, the forms have no such blank for “expedite”. How am I supposed to submit the paperwork correctly to achieve expedited processing? (I am not close to one of the 13 in-person processing centers).

I just renewed my (US) passport and the situation was as you describe…less than 5 years expired, no changes in name or address, etc. I purposely sent it in way before I needed it but I think the turnaround time was less than 6 weeks, maybe about four? I paid extra at the Post Office to be able to track the delivery online so I knew they got it, and I knew they would contact me if there was any problem.

I can’t help you with question 2, sorry.

No there is no blank. All you have to do is add the additional fee to the check and mark expedited on the envelope.

If you don’t want to shell out the fee, write a nice note and enclose a copy of your itinerary. Sometimes they bump you up in the queue. I would send it express mail to make sure they received the app.

Realistically, I don’t think you need to wait six weeks. That’s what they quote so they don’t have people calling up and bitching if they are backed up. I would say three weeks on average.

When I renewed last year it took just over 3 weeks. YMMV.

Question 1:

I recently renewed my passport here in Japan. I mailed it to the US Embassy in Tokyo with the application and payment (via bank check). I got the new one in a week.

Another 3-week wonder here, all using regular post. Workload also affects the turnaround time so immediately before high travel season it slows down.

Thanks everyone for the replies.

If you live in a large city where they can process passports (LA for instance) AND you have a short term departure coming up, they can do a passort the same day.
(ask me how I know this :smiley: )

Got my latest passport the same day I applied. And the expedite fee was waived by the person in charge of the passport center in San Francisco. The reason I needed it was for a job that needed immediate fill and I had just interviewed for the job. It came down to whoever got the passport first (either me or another applicant) got the job.

Since the things are now issued (for adults) for a period of ten years, I strongly recommend people getting one if they don’t already have it and, of course, renewing it at an appropriate time to avoid expedite fees.