Expediting your child’s passport. If we’re being completely honest here, the very last thing on my mind is the date my driver’s license (or passport) expires. So I’m still unsure why it came as such a shock when I booked a getaway for Kiddo and I to Mexico and saw her passport was expired. We were leaving in under two weeks. Le sigh.
How to Expedite a Minor Child’s Passport
I’m good under pressure, but a wee bit neurotic when unorganized. Expediting a passport for an adult can be tricky, but expediting a child’s passport can be downright crazy if you don’t have all of your t’s crossed and i’s dotted. I would say I am organized 96.4% of the time. Wouldn’t you know, this time fell under the 3.6%? Her birth certificate went M.I.A. It wasn’t in the safe, or the fire box, perhaps with the accountant? Who knows? So the first thing I needed to do before anything was get a certified copy of her birth certificate. Thankfully, she wasn’t born out of state because that would’ve been a nightmare in itself.
Birth Certificate + Passport Photos
Now she needed proof other than my word and her expired passport book that she was born in the United States and a current U.S. citizen. I ran down to the county Clerk Recorder where there was no line, and obtained certified copies in under 15 minutes. Those suckers are expensive! I had 8 minutes to zip over to pick Kiddo up after school and get new passport photos
a.k.a. mugshots. I’m fairly certain come to think of it, the original birth certificate is somewhere in this house together with those photos.
The whole ride home she’s looking at her serious faced photos giggling, “I look soooooooo les mis.” All I could think was, “Not everyone’s passport photo could like like His Royal Purple Highness.” And at that moment I decided my next photo would include glam squad for hair, make-up, stylist and Beyonce wind machine for that wind blown look.
Booking an Appointment Online to Expedite a Passport
Sounds easy enough, right? Well that depends on where you live. There aren’t many places that expedite passports. Tons of places that will mail them out and process them, but expediting passports is a whole new adventure. I was home just in time to go online to find out the next possible appointment for L.A. is…NEXT THURSDAY? That means, I would literally get her passport on Friday, the ONE day before the flight. There had to be another way. So I called.
Calling for an Appointment
Los Angeles was clearly not going to work. They do accept walk-ins, but I wasn’t OK with taking my child out of school for this. If it were an emergency, fine, but I decided to call the Passport Agency Appointment System at 1-877-487-2778 to see if they could help. And they did. Not only were they incredibly nice, but explained in California I had three options, I could wait for the L.A. appointment, fly to San Francisco or drive to San Diego.
San Fran wasn’t an option, so as luck would have it, I was able to score the last appointment of the day after Kiddo’s eye doctor’s appointment which is on the way to San Diego. See, some things were meant to be.
How Much Does It Cost to Expedite a Child’s Passport?
I paid a total of $180 to expedite the passport using my American Express card. It is usually less; however, I opted to get her a passport card as well since we have a few trips on the books for Mexico and Canada. It also can’t hurt to have an extra form of ID. Here is the breakdown:
Renewal fee for a minor’s passport: $80.00
Passport card for a minor: $15.00 (this is optional)
Passport processing fee for a minor: $25.00
Passport expedition fee for a minor: $60.00
What to Know About Expediting a Passport for a Child
- Both parents need to be present at the time of the appointment. If one parent cannot attend, you must provide a notarized letter. If there are extenuating circumstances, please call or visit travel.state.gov
- Complete and print out as many of the documents that you can at home. Including document DS-11
- Make sure to have copies of both parent’s drivers licenses showing both front and back.
- Child must be present at the time you are applying or renewing the passport, but does not have to be present when the passport is ready for pick-up. I went by myself.
- Pack lightly. You will need to go through security and screened TSA-style by three government officials. Just bring yourself, the family and the documents if possible.
- Give yourself plenty of time and avoid going on Mondays and Fridays which are the busiest days. I went on Wednesday and there were about 4 people. On Friday, I went to pick up the passport and took almost almost 30 minutes just to check-in.
- While the passport can be issued in 24 hours, if you opt for overnight shipping for an additional $15.95, it will take FIVE BUSINESS DAYS to arrive at your home. I don’t understand this since you can pick it up 24 hours later, but the process for shipping takes longer than producing the actual passport.
Passport Expeditor/Courier Companies
If money is no object, “Passport expeditor/courier companies are private entities, some of which are registered at our passport agencies, and are allowed to submit expedited passport applications on behalf of customers. To learn more about passport and visa expeditor/courier companies, please read our experience using RushMyPassport.”