If you live in sunny Florida but are itching to travel abroad, obtaining a passport fast may be first on your to-do list. "Fast" means different things to different people. You can opt for a passport in four to six weeks, two to three weeks, a few days or, given the right circumstances, even get a 24-hour turnaround. It may not surprise you to learn that if you need your passport faster, you'll have to fork over extra money in expediting fees. Remember: Although Florida itself is unique, its passport rules are the same as those in every other state.
The Passport Application
To begin the passport application process, you'll need to fill out an application for a new passport, form DS-11. You can download one from the Passport Office website, or obtain a paper copy from a post office or any passport acceptance office. Fill out the form, and then gather your documents. You'll need to prove your identity with a government-issued photo identification card, such as a driver's license, and also establish citizenship. A certified copy of a birth certificate works for this, but if you don't have one, look at the options list on the DS-11 form or the Passport Office website.
You'll also need a photocopy of each side of every document you are using as evidence, as well as a new photo. Prepare a check to pay for the application and execution fees, currently more than $100 in 2017.
Once you gather your documents, you must take them into a passport acceptance facility in Florida. Most facilities are in post offices or libraries. You can find a list of facilities, addresses and phone numbers at the U.S. Passport Service Guide website's page for Florida. Call a convenient facility to find out the hours they accept passport applications and to make an appointment. It will save you long hours of waiting, and sometimes is mandatory.
Various Levels of Expediting
If you want your passport in four to six weeks, you don't have to do anything special. That's the regular service. If you want it in two to three weeks, you'll have to ask the agent to expedite your application. You don't need to explain why you want it faster. Just ask that it be expedited, and pay the fee at the passport acceptance facility.
If you want your passport a few days faster, you can speed up transportation time by paying for your application to be delivered the same day you mail it. Just ask for overnight delivery; it is likely to cost less than $20. You can also pay a fee and request that the Department of State overnight delivers your new passport.
If you are traveling within two weeks or need a foreign visa within four weeks, you can obtain a passport in less than two weeks by making an appointment at a passport agency or center. Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 to make an appointment at the Miami Passport Agency. Be prepared to show proof of your upcoming foreign travel and pay a fee.
If you have a life-or-death emergency, you can get a passport even faster. Such emergencies include serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in your immediate family that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours. You'll have to make an appointment (1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793) and appear with all application materials plus proof of the emergency.