US Passport

Maybe this has happened to you. You’re planning an international trip and have the hotels and flights booked. Then you look at your passport and realize it’s out of date. Your passport needs to be renewed – fast!

As a frequent international traveler who considers herself pretty travel-savvy, I never thought this would happen to me. But after a recent trip to Africa, with all its visas and border crossings, I realized I had only two pages left in my passport.

Many destinations require at least four or even six blank pages in your passport. I needed a new passport four weeks before my next international trip. But could I renew my passport quickly?  

How to Renew Your Passport Quickly

I had heard all the horror stories from other travelers. In some cases, it was taking MONTHS to get new passports or passports renewed in the US.

Passport Renewal Times

According to, current US passport processing times take six to eight weeks. This is faster than the previous processing times in 2023, which ran up to 13 weeks.

The government site also cautions: “It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive by mail at a passport agency or center, and up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport in the mail after we print it.

It was clear that the normal passport renewal service would not work for me. I’d have to use an expedited service, which the US passport agency offered for an additional $60. But this could still take eight weeks, and I dreaded sending my passport into that black government hole.

It's Easy Passport Renewal and Photo App

How to Use a Passport and Visa Expediting Service

I knew I needed to find a company to expedite my passport application. I found some very large companies offering this service starting at $190 plus government application fees. But that seemed like a lot of money.

One of the good things about working as a travel journalist is that I have many friends who are savvy travelers. A friend suggested Passport & Visa Services, a passport and visa expediting concierge company that has processed over 2 million passport and visa applications on behalf of their customers.

According to the site’s website, ItsEasy has been a trusted agent of the US Department of State since 1976, authorized to provide US passport services to the public for a fee.

They provided an expedited passport service that would return my passport to me within two to three weeks. If I used their app, the cost would be only $39.95 plus government fees and whatever shipping method you choose.

Best of all, they would oversee the whole process. If my application had a problem, they would immediately let me know.

First Step: Download the It’s Easy App Passport Renewal & Photo App

To get started, I had to download their free app called ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App. It’s available for Apple or Android.

Fill Out the Easy-to-Use Form

After downloading it from the app store, I filled out their easy-to-use form. The app guides you through the government questionnaire, which took me about 10 minutes to complete.

Special Passport & Visa Services technology then converts the questionnaire into the exact government-required barcoded application, which I could print, sign and mail back to them.  

The barcoded applications, a key feature of the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App, save time for the government agents reviewing applications. Agents can process applications more productively by presenting them with flawless and scannable applications. This moves the application through the process quickly.

How to take a passport photo tips

Take a Passport Photo and Upload Using the App

Each new passport application requires passport photos. Instead of running to the drugstore to have these taken, I used ItsEasy’s passport photo taking feature. The app provided photo guidelines that were easy to follow. I took my photo right at home and then uploaded it with my application.  

According to Andres Rodriguez, lead community relations officer for passport services at the State Department, the number one issue with passport applications are passport photos.

Passport photos must have a plain white background, clear resolution, and a neutral facial expression. Selfies are not accepted.

An airport traveler in Paris.
An airport traveler in Paris. Photo by Unsplash+

Sign and Send the Passport Forms

After I completed everything, the app provided a checklist for what I needed to print, sign, and mail to them. Using the checklist, I put together my application easily. I included a check for the government passport application fees, as they requested.

It was very simple and relieved the usual stress of a passport application.

Photo and Application Review

The experts at ItsEasy Passports review every photo uploaded via their app. I was notified that my photo was accepted. You can track the status of your application in the app.

They also review all the forms. If there is a problem, you’ll know right away and can correct the problem.

I learned this when I contacted the company with a few questions and spoke with company founder David Alwadish. He started the company in 1976. He got the idea after dropping off a friend’s passport application because they couldn’t leave work. This simple gesture of friendship sparked an idea for an entire industry.

Today, some 40 years later, David and his company still provide travelers with valuable passport and visa services. They have offices in New York City, service centers in Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Denver, and additional processing centers located in key cities.

Choosing expedited passport service

Expedited Service

After uploading my information, I chose the standard expedited service, which offered a 2-3 weeks turnaround. The app tracked my application throughout the whole process.

The cost? It was $39.95 plus the government application fees. I also paid for FedEx to overnight the paperwork/passport both ways.

What If You Need a Passport Within 10 days?

ItsEasy also offers Rush Services, currently starting at $349. For in-person rush passport appointments, passport courier companies have been allocated a certain number of appointment slots for urgent processing of applications, with proof of travel within 14 days (or a month, if a travel visa will also be required), for a 1-10 day processing timeframe. Emergency passports are also available.

These days, travel often involves waiting and dealing with hassles. When it comes to renewing your passport, this is one travel service that makes it easy.

Janna Graber
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