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Passport Information

Time to Apply
suitcase beach woman bikini summer oceanThe State Department frequently updates its Web site with its current passport processing times; under normal circumstances, expect your passport to be processed within four to six weeks.

However, the application processing time varies with passport agencies' workloads. We recommend applying at least two months before any scheduled international travel. The spring and summer months are the busiest, so the application process may take even longer.

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Expedited Passports
Ordinary expedited service through the State Department takes about two to three weeks. If you are leaving the country in less than 15 work days, enclose a $60 expediting fee (in addition to a two-way overnight mail fee and the passport application or renewal fee) and clearly mark the envelope "EXPEDITE." Note that passport applications are processed according to the departure date indicated on your application form. If you give no departure date, the passport agency will assume you have no immediate travel plans.

If you are leaving on an emergency trip and need a passport immediately, call the National Passport Information Center (877-487-2778) to schedule an appointment at the nearest passport agency.

If you're in a hurry and you don't live near one of the passport agencies, you may also want to consider working with a passport and visa expeditor.

Obtaining Additional Visa Pages
If you require additional visa pages before your passport expires, fill out form DS-4085 and submit it with your passport to the address on the application form. Once free, this service now costs $82.

If you travel frequently and tend to run out of visa pages, you can request a 52-page passport book (instead of the standard 28-page document) when you fill out your renewal application.

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Changing Your Name
If your name has been changed due to marriage or a court order a year or less after your passport was issued, your passport may be updated at no charge. You will need to submit a completed form DS-5504, a certified copy of the document specifying your name change, one new passport photo and your current valid passport to the address on the application form.

If your name was changed for any other reason or if you've had your passport more than a year, you'll need to use the same application and pay the same fees as you would for a normal passport renewal (see above).

Passport Security
passport pocket handWhen traveling abroad, carry your passport with you at all times in a safe place. It is a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport with you and keep it in a separate safe place along with copies of your credit cards, traveler's checks and plane tickets. If your passport is lost or stolen, U.S. embassies will usually accept this as proof that you're a U.S. citizen and can quickly issue you a temporary passport.

It's also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport with someone at home in case of emergency, and e-mail an electronic copy of it to yourself so you can access it from anywhere in the world.

For more information, see Lost and Stolen Passports.

Passport Agencies
All government passport agencies have limited 24-hour recordings which include basic information about their location and hours of operation as well as advice on emergency passport services during non-working hours. Most agencies now require appointments to service passport applications, so be sure to call before visiting your local office. Click here to find the closest passport acceptance facility to you.

You can call the National Passport Information Center at 877-4USA-PPT (877-487-2778). To check the status of your application, click here.

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