How to Get a Passport in One Day

Did you know it is possible to get a passport in one day? I have experienced it and I am here to share some simple tips on how I did it!

Getting a passport in one day requires researching first what passport centers/agencies are around you or in your state. This doesn’t apply to every country, but mostly towards American citizens residing in the United States, just to clarify.

The key to getting a passport within the day of (or even trying to) is to be super prepared ahead of time, especially if you have to drive a few hours away to get to the passport center. I had to drive 2 hours to get to the Western Passport Center in Tucson, Arizona to get my passport, just 2 days before my trip to Japan. It was definitely risky, but you have to have faith it’ll work out that the workers will do their best to get you your new passport the day of!

So whether you have to renew your passport or get your first passport, it is possible to try to get it in a day.

1. Make sure to make an appointment. You need to book an appointment within 14 days of your travel plans.

First things first, you need to book your appointment. You can go to the U.S. Passports site by Travel.State.Gov and go to the “Rush my passport” section and click “I need it faster in less than 2-3 weeks. Restrictions apply.” You can then go to the section where it says “I have not yet applied” and then it provides you steps on how to make an appointment.

You need to make an appointment just 14 days before your travel day or it will not make you eligible. After you applied, make sure to check out for a confirmation email as the system will only hold your appointment for 15 minutes and if you don’t confirm, you’d need to start over.

2. Make sure you have all documents filled out with your DS-82 (for renewals) or DS-11.

After you’ve made your appointment, considering you were eligible, you will then be tasked to fill out a few documents before the day of your appointment. These would include your passport application and citizenship document(s). Depending on what your goal is with getting a passport, the form will vary. If you’re in need of renewals like I did, it would be a DS-82 form or if you’re applying for a completely new one, it would be a DS-11 form.

3. Print out your appointment confirmation and proof of travel that you are traveling internationally soon.

Before your appointment, you need to prepare for a few things besides your documents mentioned above. First, print out your confirmation email of your appointment. Secondly, you need to show proof that you will be traveling internationally with specific dates. For this, you can print out your flight itinerary to show you booked your flights. Make sure your destinations (from and to) are on the printed documents, the dates, and your name on it.

4. Make sure to bring a photo of you in photo paper NOT regular printer paper.

If you’re planning on doing your own passport headshots, make sure you do not make this mistake I did: getting it printed on printer paper. This includes glossy or satin types of paper. I really loved how my passport photos came out taken by my friend, but it was turned away during my appointment because it was on printer paper. Your passport headshot needs to be on photo paper!

If you don’t have access to photo paper, you can get your headshot taken in CVS or Walmart, which I did last minute during my appointment. A worker will take your photo at the photo or electronic area and then have it printed after a few minutes.

Some important things to note about passport photos being handed in: they also need to be in the right size and they need to be appropriate poses, background, and lighting. These hassles will be eliminated if you get it done at CVS or Walmart. 

This link here from Travel.state.gov provides tips on how to have your photo taken and answers frequently asked questions.

5. Make sure to drive hours ahead and be there at least or more than 15 mins before your appointment.

Learn from me: the first time I made my first appointment, I had to reschedule it because I knew I was going to arrive late at the location that is 2 hours away. You need to plan to leave your home in advanced by a few hours, especially if you’re hours away from the agency. The passport agencies are pretty strict on your appointment time arrival and it is recommended you are there at least 15 minutes before your appointment.

6. Make sure you have a form of payment with you to pay in person.

Be prepared to bring your debit or credit card with you to pay for your passport before it is processed. Other forms of payment that the agency will accept is Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay and checks, money orders, and cash. However, make sure the checks and money orders are payable to the “U.S. Department of State”.

7. Bring proof of citizenship.

As a requirement, you need to bring proof that you are a citizen of the country. Acceptable proofs to show are a birth certificate, your current passport (even if it is expiring), and a current ID like your drivers’ license. Just in case, I’d bring all of them, even though you may just need to show one form of proof.

8. Hold onto your receipt and check in with it when you get to the window.

During your appointment, if you showed all of your documents to a worker and paid for your passport, you will be given a receipt to hold onto. This receipt will be your pass to show through the window when they call out your name to get your passport to show proof you’ve gone through the payment step and document-checking step. 

Some passport centers will be lenient if you want to go out and grab food for a bit, but if you want to return, make sure to also show your receipt again and make sure to be aware of the time the agency closes, you want to come back before it does close.

9. You may or may not get yours in the same day though so be prepared for the outcome.

Usually the ones who come in later might have some difficulty getting it the same day, that’s why if you’re going to book your appointment, make sure to book it early if you can. Passports can take a while to be printed so it will take time along with agencies trying to accommodate other people with appointments. 

It may be painful if you live hours away from the agency and you do not get your passport in the same day, and you may have to arrange some stays close by if that is the case or drive back. But, have faith! Most agencies do care how you need your passport ASAP.

Tell me what you thought below!