The requirements for getting a fast, or expedited, passport are the same in Pennsylvania as they are in any U.S. state. In a dire emergency, travelers can get a passport in as little as 72 hours, but under normal circumstances, expediting a passport takes two to six weeks. Pennsylvanians who renew their passport by mail do have one special advantage: the office that handles fast turnaround is located in Philadelphia.

Expedite a Passport in Person

If you’ve never had a passport, or if your passport is more than 15 years old or is substantially damaged, you’ll need to apply in person. The State Department requires proof of identity and proof of citizenship. A valid driver’s license, certificate of naturalization, military or government ID or a previously issued passport can be used to prove identity. To prove citizenship, you’ll need to provide an original or certified birth certificate, a U.S. passport, a report of birth abroad or a certificate of naturalization or citizenship.

Fill out form DS-11, available online or at a passport agency, and bring it to a passport office along with your documentation, photocopies of that documentation, a photograph that meets the State Department’s requirements and the appropriate fees. Regular expedited service takes about four to six weeks. Non-expedited service can take as long as two months.

If you need your passport in less than three weeks, you’ll need to show proof of your need for special handling. Make an appointment for emergency service if you have a life or death situation like injuries or serious illness in your immediate family that requires you to travel within three business days. If you’re traveling within two weeks, make an appointment for expedited service. You’ll need proof of travel like a plane ticket or itinerary from a travel agent.

Get a Fast Passport by Mail

A traveler who holds a passport that’s less than 15 years old, showing only normal wear and tear, can renew by mail. The passport must have been issued when the holder was 16 or older, and it must show the same name as the one used on your application. There is a workaround for name changes. A certified copy of a divorce decree, marriage license or a court order showing your new name can be used to prove that your name has changed legally.

Return your old passport along with a completed form DS-82, available at passport agencies or online. Enclose a photo and the fees. To expedite the renewal by mail, have the letter delivered to the renewal office in Philadelphia by a courier service like FedEx or by priority mail. Write “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope. You can also pay extra to have the new passport returned by priority mail. An expedited passport renewal by mail takes two to three weeks.

FAQ on Expedited Passports

A standard passport book costs $110, plus a $25 execution fee. You'll spend $30 for a passport card, plus the execution fee, and $140 for a combination passport book and card. The execution fee is also charged for the combination. Priority mail return service is an additional $15.45, and if, for some reason, the passport agency needs to search their files to verify your information, there’s an additional $100 charge.

Passport cards are used to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. They’re used by travelers who frequently visit these countries and aren’t valid for international air travel. Passport cards and passport books are valid for 10 years.

Check at the passport agency to see what forms of payment they take. Most methods of payment are acceptable, but smaller facilities may not be set up to accept all forms.

The requirements are generally the same for minors, but they must show up in person to apply for a passport, and they'll need parental consent.