You may know from previous posts that I have a trip to Cancun with my girlfriend and my mom planned for Monday. As preparation for that trip I got out my passport Thursday afternoon to add my passport number to my airline ticket reservation. I was dismayed to see that my passport had expired in September. My first thought that was that there was no way I could renew my passport in time to leave on Monday. This was a major bummer to say the least. Since it was already Thursday afternoon, I basically had one business day to get a new passport.
After doing some internet searching through Swagbucks I was somewhat relieved to see it is possible to get a passport in one day. I first tried to get a passport using RushMyPassport.com. I hated the idea of paying $350 plus the $170 in passport fees to get my passport, but it was better than the alternative of having to cancel my Cancun vacation. After filling out my passport application online , printing off my airline ticket confirmation, and going to get my passport picture taken I called RushMyPassport to get a letter of authorization per the instructions on their website. Unfortunately, when I called them they said they wouldn’t be able to get me a passport in 24 hours and it would be Tuesday before they could get me a passport. Since they weren’t able to provide me they advertised and I paid for I canceled their service. Getting the passport on Tuesday wouldn’t do me any good. They promised to refund the fee to my credit card. I’m hoping that they honor that promise. I’ll share how that turns out.
Now I was despondent once again. A little more internet research showed that it might be possible to get a passport in one day at a U.S. Passport Agency. The problem there was that there are only 28 of these offices in the country and none of them are very close to Kansas City. It turns out the closest passport agency to KC is in Hot Springs, AR. It is kind of strange that Hot Springs,a town of 30,000 people, has a passport agency. The other passport agencies that were within a somewhat reasonable distance to me were in Chicago and Dallas. I looked into flying into those cities, but the last-minute fares were too high and I wouldn’t get there early enough to make an early morning appointment. Hot Springs was my only hope.
I called their automated reservation line and managed to make an appointment for 9am on Friday. By the time I got all of this done it was a little after 5pm on Thursday. I called my girlfriend and let her know we needed to make an emergency road trip. Luckily, my girlfriend is cool and didn’t freak out about the situation. It was about a seven hour drive to Hot Springs so we needed to get on the road. It was about 2:00am by the time we arrived in Hot Springs, checked into a motel, and got to bed.
The next morning I arrived at the passport agency about fifteen minutes early for my appointment. It took a couple of minutes to get through security and then I was able to meet with a passport agent after waiting just a couple more minutes. The agent was very nice and it only took about five minutes to go through the passport renewal process. She told me I could pick up my new passport at 2:30pm. I was momentarily frightened when I heard “Tuesday” instead of “2:30.” After she repeated the time, I was greatly relieved. I left the passport agency office at about 9am which was when my appointment had been scheduled. The expedited passport renewal process was extremely efficient.
I returned at 2pm to the agency to pick up my passport. Although the passport pickup form stated to not arrive early to pickup your passport I decided to see if my passport was ready after noticing other people entering the agency. I was in luck and was able to meet an agent immediately upon entering the office and she had my passport. I was extremely happy to receive my passport and know that I’d be able to go on my vacation.
If you need a passport in one day it is possible if you go to one of the U.S. Passport Agencies. Some of them require proof of imminent travel and there is no guarantee that you will be able to get an appointment though. It is much smarter to check your passport ahead of time so you don’t have to get a passport at the very last minute like I did. I’m incredibly lucky that I checked my passport when I did or it would have been too late. If I had discovered my passport was expired on Friday I wouldn’t have been able to make it to a passport agency in time to get the new passport. The whole ordeal of having to drive seven hours each way, get a motel, and being stressed about whether I’d actually get the passport or not could have been avoided if I had just checked my passport when I booked the airline tickets. If you have any upcoming international travel make sure you have a valid passport.