If 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.