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Due to my personal negligence, I didn't realize my passport is expired. I'm a USA citizen hoping to travel from USA to Colombia within a week. Is it even worth trying to attempt to renew my passport with an expedited service? Most estimates seem to be 2-3 weeks for "door to door" service.

edit: I'm aware I cannot travel with an expired passport. Wondering if I should try to cancel/postpone my flight now because renewing within a week is impossible, or it may be possible and how would I go about this.

edit: Just got an appointment with travel.state.gov. Their earliest appointment is only two days before the flight I bought. Also going to try to contact rushmypassport.com or consider walking-in to SF passport agency.

my resolution: Ended up getting a passport within 24 hours at the SF passport agency. Luckily for me, I live in San Francisco. Also, absolutely no lines when I went to my appointment this morning. Was in and out within 15 minutes, and will need to pick it up tomorrow.

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    Does a concept such as "emergency passport" exist in the US? I once had a similar situation: Had to travel unexpectedly(!) within 24 hours and visit several countries (first flight, then ship) - with my passport expired. I managed to obtain (while already at FRA airport waiting for departure) such an emergency passport (more a sheet of paper than a booklet) and was accepted to board the flight and almost all countries (only Israel frowned and denied me, no big) – Hagen von Eitzen Sep 5 '17 at 8:18
  • @HagenvonEitzen: Journalist? International Man of Mystery (ie secret agent)? But more seriously: which entity (and on location at the airport? or from afar) delivered that emergency passport? – Olivier Dulac Sep 5 '17 at 11:47
  • The federal police (Bundespolizei) stationed at the airport has the right to emit a so called "Reiseausweis" (travel ID) which can be used together with another form of identification as a passport. The time of usage is limited to the planned trip (max. one month). Some sources (in German, though): welt.de/finanzen/verbraucher/article144198241/… bundespolizei.de/Web/DE/01Sicher-auf-Reisen/… – Tony Delaney Sep 5 '17 at 12:39
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    Thanks for editing in what you ended up doing, might help other people in the future. – Willeke Sep 7 '17 at 16:28
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Sadly, you will not be able to travel with a passport that has already expired. You'll need to renew your passport first.

The good news is it should be possible to get a passport urgently, but you'll have to travel to one of the Passport Agency offices with all the required documents, including proof of your upcoming travel, and pay the expedited fee. You can try to make an appointment online or contact the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 (you'd have to wait to tomorrow to talk to someone though unless you have a life or death emergency, since today is a holiday). Since you need your passport immediately, the normal expedited process at a post office or other government office will not be sufficient. If you cannot get an appointment, it is usually possible to go to a passport agency as a walk-in, but you will be helped after those with appointments and can expect to wait a long time.

  • If I'm able to walk in hypothetically tomorrow to the SF agency (which offers it) and see an agent, could the passport be provided to me the same day? – imagineerThis Sep 4 '17 at 19:43
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    @imagineerThis I think so, but you'd have to confirm with them based on how their operations are that day (you can call them tomorrow). I've heard tales of them sometimes asking you to come back the next day to pick it up, but I know people who have gotten it same-day as well. Personally, I'd grab one of the morning appointments for Wednesday at the SF passport office instead. If you walk in, I'd show up before they open and be prepared to spend the entire day there. – Zach Lipton Sep 4 '17 at 19:48
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    One of the yelp reviews from jan 2017 says to show up at 530 or 630 for an "walk-in appointment", – mkennedy Sep 4 '17 at 20:12
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    @imagineerThis Same day is somewhat optimistic, but 24h service is common for urgent passports. Not just in the USA, in many western countries. – Mast Sep 5 '17 at 8:41
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    In Finland at the Helsinki airport the police have service counter where they can admit temporary passports immediately, for a duration of one trip. The service is especially for those who have forgotten to take their passport with them. However, they warn that the temporary passport might not be accepted by all countries. finavia.fi/en/helsinki-airport/services/travel-services/police – Tero Lahtinen Sep 5 '17 at 9:25
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There is an important caveat to the accepted answer: If you have an unexpired passport, you may be accepted on the flight but still be refused entry into your destination! Some countries require you to have six months valid passport upon entry, even if you're only staying say a week and have booked your outward travel.

I'm not sure how strict this is (a right to refuse doesn't mean automatic refusal), and when/where/how you can talk you way out of this with how much of a spare-validity-deficit.

Notice this is a caveat to the accepted answer, because a "next-day emergency passport" typically is valid only 6months (as opposed to the "expedited" ones that have normal validity); so if your destination country requires six months validity then your six-months-minus-a-week valid passport could still see you refused entry... [I have not checked this for Colombia.]

If you want an anecdote: I have been in your situation, and the solution was what the accepted answer says. I hadn't noticed my passport had expired since two weeks. I had no reason to travel on a passport (within Schengen), I had a perfectly valid ID card that I always have with me as secondary ID (except that one time). I travelled UK->FR from my local airport, handluggage only, so I hadn't checked in beforehand and all was (erroneously!) passed as OK. I had my holiday, but was flying back on a Sunday from Holland. I had been trying to check in online on Friday, this kept failing and I didn't understand why (it didn't specify!). [If I had figured out the cause I'd have saved a good deal of money plus be home a day earlier.] I spent Saturday at a party and rocked up to the checkin desk, hungover, on Sunday, where the cause was revealed --- a now 3-weeks-expired passport.

Three solutions: In my own country I could get an emergency document, even on Sunday, in the main airport --- but taking train up&down there would make me miss the once-a-day flight anyway. Alternatively, I could take trains including the Eurostar to the UK, on the chance that the border control wouldn't spot the expired passport (like they didn't on leaving -- it did get scanned by them); but that was risky AND more expensive than accommodation plus flight next day. My embassy was nearby but closed of course, but on the phone I got the agreement that if I showed up on Monday at opening time (9:00), they'd squeeze me in first, and indeed by 9:30 I had my six-months-valid, hand-written emergency passport, in plenty time for my newly-bought flight.

Every single official from checkin-desk to border guard to boarding assistant did call their supervisor though, not believing my hand-written, differently-coloured passport to be actually valid. But my colleague who flies on a Liechtenstein passport has that even worse, as occasionally even the supervisors think that's a totally made-up country.

  • If you are an EU citizen (and it sounds like you are) they should have let you on an intra-EU flight as long as they have at least one means of determining your identity in connection with the recently expired passport which shows your nationality. – Jan Sep 5 '17 at 14:02
  • Indeed they might have, but I didn't have a driving licence or my ID on me... That said, I don't see what additional certainty about my identity those would have given! All three docs showed my residence as UK, so they could have let me back. – user3445853 Sep 5 '17 at 15:44
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    "There is an important caveat to the accepted answer: If you have an unexpired passport" That's not a caveat. The accepted answer is answering the question "I do not have an unexpired passport. How do I get a new passport?" – David Richerby Sep 5 '17 at 16:11
  • The key concept is not residence but nationality. Being in the possession of a valid yet recently expired passport is a very strong hint towards citizenship which, if it is an EU citizenship, allows you to move freely (especially back home). – Jan Sep 6 '17 at 7:29
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    @user3445853 OK, but we're looking for answers to the question at the top of the page. That question is about having only an expired passport. – David Richerby Sep 6 '17 at 20:34

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