Federal Passport Service
If you’ve never applied for a passport, you probably haven’t given much thought to the Federal Passport Service. But, if you need to travel outside of the United States, this service makes travel outside of the country and re-entry into the United States possible. Your passport also gives you access to U.S. Consular services while you are traveling abroad. This federal service is responsible for issuing passports, including all U.S. passport renewals, to U.S. citizens residing in the United States and abroad. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the service has offices and production centers throughout the country to make the passport application and production process as efficient as possible. There is also a national information center that is responsible for answering all of your passport related questions. Below you will find information about the passport service in the United States.
25 Regional Passport Agencies
There are 25 regional passport agencies throughout the United States that are part of this federal service.
U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a passport at one of these agencies if: They are traveling abroad in less than two weeks, or They need to get a foreign visa within four weeks.
You must call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment if you want to apply at a regional passport agency. You can make an appointment 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-877-487-2778. For a list of the passport agencies in the United States and their hours of operation, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
When you apply for your passport at a passport agency, you will usually receive it the same day you apply.
Passport Acceptance Facilities
The Federal Passport Service includes more than 9,100 public offices across the country, including post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices that have been authorized by the U.S. Department of State to accept passport applications on its behalf. If you are not eligible to apply at a regional passport agency or do not live near one of these agencies, you can apply for your passport at a local acceptance facility. With so many across the country, it is easy to find one in your area.
When you apply at a passport acceptance facility that is part of the Federal Passport Service, you can choose routine or expedited processing through the U.S. government. If you choose routine service, it will usually take four to six weeks to get your passport. For a $60 fee, you can have your application expedited, in which case you can expect to receive your passport within two to three weeks.
If you can’t wait that long to get your passport or you don’t want to handle the application process on your own, you can have a professional passport expediting service like “easy service” apply on your behalf. When you work with a professional expediter, you can usually get your passport within 24 hours.
Charleston Passport Center
The Charleston Passport Center is a part of the Federal Passport Service that is not open to the public. Passport applications are processed and passports are produced at this facility and then mailed to the applicant.
Special Issuance Agency
The special issuance agency was established to accept applications for diplomatic, official, no-fee and congressional referrals. The agency is open Monday-Friday, excluding Federal holidays, from 8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Passport Production Centers
There are two passport production centers in the United States. These centers process passports for U.S. citizens who apply in the United States as well as those who apply at Embassies and Consulates abroad.
National Passport Information Center
The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) was set up by the Federal Passport Service to answer general questions for individuals applying for a passport inside of the United States. You can contact the center by phone at 1-877-487-2778; TDD/TYY: 1-888-874-7793 or by email at NPIC@state.gov. You will usually receive a response to your email within 24 hours. If you have a travel emergency, you should report it by phone, not email. You can speak with a representative Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. EST, except on Federal holidays. The automated passport information line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can make an appointment at a regional passport agency using the automated line.
If you apply for your passport outside of the United States and have questions, you should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate not the National Passport Information Center.
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