By Alison Fox
September 07, 2019

You’ve booked your flight, booked your hotel, and now you’re ready to jet off on an exciting international adventure. But before you do, you have to make sure your passport is valid.

Some countries require your passport to be valid for six months after your intended visit, so it’s important to make sure you renew before it expires. And renewing a passport can take as long as six to eight weeks (especially if you’re applying during peak season from January to August), not to mention you need to make sure you have a good photo.

Last year alone, the State Department issued more than 21.1 million passports with another 137.6 million valid passports in circulation.

If you’re waiting on your new passport, there are a few ways to check the status of your application. To check on your application, you will need your last name, your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Check Online

You can check the status of your passport application on the State Department’s website seven to 10 business days after you applied. There, you can also sign up for automatic email updates by entering your email address.

Check by Phone

If you want to call to check up on your application status, you can do so at the National Passport Information Center at (877) 487-2778. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. You can use the automated system to check your passport information 24 hours a day.

What to Do If You Have Not Received Your Passport

If your passport has been issued, but you have not received it after at least 10 business days, you should call the National Passport Information Center and fill out a DS-86 form. You must report the fact that you have not received the passport within 90 days from the date it was issued or you will have to reapply and pay the processing fees again.

What to Do If You Just Can’t Wait

Processing times are typically six to eight weeks for a passport. But if you just can’t wait, you can pay an extra $60 to expedite the application and have it processed in two to three weeks.

If you have an emergency, like a serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family that you need to travel outside the U.S. for within three days, you can make an appointment for the emergency passport service by calling (877) 487-2778 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, or 202-647-4000 after hours.

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