Applying for a Passport at a Post Office
There are numerous passport acceptance facilities in the United States, but the most notable one is in the post office. Currently, there are over 34,000 retail offices around the country. So, there are plenty of facilities you can visit and submit an application for processing. The State Department certified post office clerks to become acceptance agents to verify forms and documents and then collect fees from any applicants. Your form, documents, and fees are packaged and forward to a processing center to print the new passport.
The post office offers many services which include accepting a passport application. Because of other services the post office provides to its customers, the application acceptance times and hours may vary to customers. For this reason, it is best to call to verify operating hours and passport services before going. The post office, like many Federal Buildings, is not open on Federal and some Religious Holidays.
Post Office Services
Post offices are found in neighborhoods across every city, county, and state; therefore, they are the number one choice to submit a passport application. If this will be the place you will send your documents, there are some things you must do before you start the process.
The first is to verify you have the right form and supporting documents. In most instances, the supporting documents are the same, but the passport application form is different. Visit the travel.state.gov website to get the right form. You can also contact the post office to get this information as well. The second is to have the proper fee for your application. Again, you can visit the website or contact the post office for this information. Once you have gathered this information, start completing the form. Do not sign the form until you are in front of the acceptance agent.
Routine Application Processing at the Post Office
Routine or standard processing is one of two options the post office offers to process an application. With this way of processing, the form (complete fully with no error), the supporting documents, and fees are accepted by the agent. If there are any missing documents or anything to delay the process, the agent will inform you. The agent will not approve an incomplete application and will provide the necessary information to correct any errors.
Once the documents are accepted, they are packaged and forward to a processing center. The time it takes for processing usually is 4 to 6 weeks, but can go up to 8-weeks. The cause can vary due to peak processing time or in climate weather. Nonetheless, you will get your new passport in the mail.
Expediting Application Processing at the Post Office
Expediting or rush processing is the second option the post office offers to customers. Accepting the form and supporting documents is done the same way as standard processing. With expedited processing, the word “RUSH” is written on the envelope, and then the package is shipped express. By doing these two things decreases the time for processing.
The processing time, which includes shipping going and coming back, takes 2 to 3 weeks. This option is available for applicants who will travel in less than four weeks. But to get approval, proof of international travel must be shown.
Post Office Fees
The cost of a passport application consists of the application and execution fees. The price is different for an adult and a minor. It is also different for renewal. The total cost for an adult passport at the post office using routine processing is $145.00, $110.00 (application fee) and $35.00 (execution fee). The total cost for a minor passport at the post office using routine processing is $115.00, $80.00 (application fee) and $35.00 (execution fee). To renew an adult passport at the post office using routine processing will cost a $110.00. There is no execution fee. A minor passport is not renewable. At the post office, if you apply for a new minor or adult passport because you lost, damaged or got it stolen and you use routine processing, the cost will be the same as getting a new passport.
If you chose to expedite the process at the post office, the cost would increase by $60.00. So, the cost of an adult passport is $205.00, a minor is $175.00, and adult renewal is $170.00.
Other Processing Options
There are other options to get a passport sooner than 2-weeks. You can hire a private expeditor or a regional passport agency. Either can get a passport the same day or in 48 hours. The difference between these services and the post office is the cost you will pay for a passport. Most private expeditors and regional agency fees will start in the $300’s for same day service and the $100’s up to 10 days. These prices are only service fees and do not include application and execution fees. The only advantage of using any of the two services is to get a passport in a day. Otherwise, it is best to go to your neighborhood post office and start the process for much less.