Anyone traveling outside of the United States today must have either a passport book or passport card. This law went into effect June 1, 2009. In order to re-enter the U. S., even from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, persons must have this documentation. This applies to persons traveling by land, air or sea, so if you have family living outside of the U. S. you will need to make preparation for emergency situations. This can prevent need of having to apply for an emergency passport.
People with family living abroad should have plans for emergencies. The best preparation is to take the time and pay the fee for a normal passport. Keep the passport in a safe location at all times in order to be ready to travel at any time.
In order to obtain that passport, you will need to follow the rules that the State Department has established. These rules, as well as the applicable forms, can be found on the website for the U. S. Department of State. The application will need to be returned to a passport processing center. There is at least one in most cities of any size. Currently, the return time is four to six weeks.
Individuals who need to travel in less than fourteen days or need their passport for issuance of a visa can pay an additional $60 for an expedited service. In addition, they can pay fees to have the passport sent by overnight services. Proof of the need for expedited service must be provided.
If you pay the extra fee, you can have the passport in two to three weeks. For many people, this is will be soon enough for their travel. It is quicker to get the passport book by overnight service, but the passport card is only sent through the mail.
If you are facing a life or death situation, you can get an emergency passport. These emergency passports can be obtained in a 24 hour period, however, you may have to travel to one of the regional passport centers or pay an agent to make application for you. You can call the toll-free number of the State Department to schedule an appointment at the center. Centers are open Monday through Friday during normal business hours and closed weekends and federal holidays. If you take the completed application to the center at your appointment along with proof of travel, you can get your passport immediately.
If travel to the passport center is not possible for you, then you can also hire an agent to make the application on your behalf. You will need to include time to send your documentation to the agent and for the agent to send your passport to you using overnight delivery. Many agents are able to process your passport within twenty four hours.
Employing a passport agent may increase the price you pay for a passport. In addition to the $135 government fee, you will need to pay for the agent’s services and for shipping costs. While this can increase the cost of the emergency passport, it is often less expensive than having to travel to the regional center by yourself.