Travel

6 tips to speed up your passport application

U.S. Passport application sheet

The passport application process has been experiencing significant delays in 2021.

According to the U.S. State Department, routine service to get a passport in 2021 is taking up to 16 weeks from the date of submission. While limited expedited services are available, it can still take up to 12 weeks to process a passport application and return. Long wait times are attributed to the department’s continued efforts to recover from the effects of the pandemic, mail delays, and an earlier-than-expected resurgence of international travel.

AAA recommends applying for a U.S. passport at least 6 months or longer before you depart for your trip. Here are some helpful tips to consider before you apply.

1. Get passport photos from AAA

AAA members save at least 30% on passport photos that meet the strict government requirements on size, pose, background, printing material, and more.

Get passport photo prices and find a AAA branch near you

Passport, Social Security card, driver license, and birth certificate

2. Submit the right documents

You need to show proof of identity, such as a valid government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship, such as certified birth certificate with your application. If you are renewing, an old U.S. passport in good condition should meet both requirements.

RELATED: How to apply for or renew a U.S. passport

3. Avoid common mistakes to minimize delays

Name misspellings, wrong birthdates, and unacceptable photos can cause your passport application to be denied or require additional time to correct. Carefully double check your application before submission.

4. Double check the government fees

One of the most common mistakes is sending a check or money order that isn’t the exact right amount. If this happens, the government will not cash your payment. The correct amount will be listed on your application and the fees vary based on the passport type and service speed.

Closeup of an expiration date on a passport

5. Check the expiration date

If you already have a U.S. passport, check the expiration date. If your passport is already expired or expires soon, you will need to renew before you travel. Many countries require your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date.

6. Consider using a professional passport specialist

Take advantage of AAA discount rates on expedited passport courier services with RushMyPassport. Personalized application review may help you avoid delays caused by common mistakes, plus you'll get clear, easy-to-follow instructions to help process your passport application successfully.

Traveling soon & need a passport?

Receive exclusive AAA rates on expedited passport courier service with RushMyPassport. Personalized application review can help you avoid common mistakes. Start your online application today.

A visa on top of a world map

Traveling internationally & need a visa?

Receive exclusive AAA rates with RushMyPassport, an industry leader in online visa expediting services. Personalized document review can help you avoid common mistakes. There’s no need to visit a consulate or embassy on your own.

AAA Travel alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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