When you realize that you need a passport fast, two questions immediately come to mind:
Can I get a passport in time for my trip?
How much is this going to cost me?
Whether or not you can get a passport in time depends on how much time you have. Generally, when you purchase expedited passport processing through the Department of State, you can get your passport within two to three weeks door-door, although this time frame can vary depending on how many applications the Department is processing at the moment. If you need your passport more quickly, you can make an appointment with the nearest regional passport agency office. As long as you show up for your appointment with all of the necessary documents, they will generally have your passport for you within 24 hours. If you can't make it to an appointment, private passport expediting companies also offer fast service, with the best companies offering turnaround times of 24 hours.
Expedited Passport Costs
But what are the costs for each of these scenarios? Regular passport processing service for a passport book is $135 for a new passport and $110 for a renewal. Expedited passport processing through the Department of State costs an additional $60 on top of that. Overnight shipping from the passport office is optional but recommended if you want your passport in the 3 week time frame. This will set you back an additional $14.96. It's also recommended that you spring for overnight shipping TO the passport office. The cost for this varies.
Making an appointment at a regional passport agency does not cost anything, but you will have to pay the $60 expedite fee listed above in most cases. Of course, if you don't have a regional passport agency office in your city, you'll need to consider the costs of traveling to and from the nearest location that can serve you. Regional passport agency offices are only open during business hours, so also consider how much money you'll lose from taking time off work if you work during the day. Private passport expediting companies charge a range of fees depending on how fast you need your passport. 24-hour-service may seem quite expensive, but depending on your situation and how much it could cost you to get to a passport office yourself, it may prove to be the more economical choice.