Why not to pay for passport rush services

Picture 25If for some reason you find yourself needing a passport renewal in, say, a week’s time, do not turn to costly expediters for help–you can save the money and get your passport yourself in an equally short time. This I discovered recently when I found out I had to go to Toronto in about 9 days, with only a just-expired passport to get me there. A Google search of “rush passports” turned up a place called Rush Passport, which quoted $250 to get a Passport done in four to five business days, and an agency called It’s Easy, which asks $129 for a renewal in 5 to 7 days.  Those charges were on top of the State Department’s fee of $135, and both expediters also required a visit to their Manhattan offices.

Nowhere in the first three pages of Google results (and maybe more, I gave up) is the link directly to the State Department web site, which has a phone number (1-877-487-2778) to call if you are traveling in less than two weeks. I called and got a convenient 9 a.m. appointment a few days later at the U.S. Passport offices at 376 Hudson St. in Manhattan. The wait to file my papers was less than five minutes, and I got the passport the next day—without spending on an expensive rush service. There’s no way around the $135 ($75 if you’re not in a rush). You can also save on the photos–these places charge around $9–by taking the picture with your own camera and printing it out yourself.

5 Comment

  • I love services like this. Send people to this website instead: Let Me Google That For You http://lmgtfy.com/

    But important note: they picture has to be a specific size and dimension, so make sure to look up specifically what’s needed if you DIY passport photo!

  • Good point on the passport photo. Has to be 2″ by 2″ and your head is about 1″ top to bottom.

  • Getting visas from other countries is another story. Most of the non-Western countries charge l aot for a visa outright and tack on huge fees for expediting (if the service is even offered).

  • It is important to note, though, that this is only possible if you live in a large city that has a US Passport office.

  • My personal favorite is the Philadelphia Passport Agency. For a moderate $2-$20 round trip ride on the Megabus/Bolt, you get to nap the time you’d spend in line in Manhattan and receive your brand spanking new passport within an hour or two on account of the fact that you live a whopping 100 miles away. They also tend to have the earliest available appointments on the East Cost, even at peak periods, such as the holiday season.