Last Updated on August 17, 2023

Special to Travel by Vacation Rental rom David Alwadish, CEO, Passport & Visa Services

1. Pay Attention to Detail

Review all the information provided in your application with a finetooth comb to avoid potential rejection of the application due to spelling errors, unreadable or missing information, or signature issues.

2. Make sure you are taking your passport photos properly. 

Not all passport photos are accepted. Per the U.S. Department of State, the number one reason passport applications are suspended or put on hold is non-compliant photos. Just because a store, pharmacy or facility sells passport photos does not mean their quality meets the government’s standards. For example, wearing eyeglasses, using a social media filter, or posing in front of a colored background will render the passport photo unusable. 

3. Use the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App

Just like your favorite Caribbean resort, the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App is All-Inclusive. This app is available in the Apple App Store or on Google Play and offers the easiest, most affordable and most convenient way to safely and securely renew your US Passport – without leaving home.

Starting at just $39.95 plus required government fees, the features of the ItsEasy app include: 

  • Thorough review of application documents and photos by ItsEasy’s team of qualified experts to ensure an error-free application. Responding to & fixing a passport application that is suspended by the government due to errors can add an additional 3-4+ weeks to the current government-quoted processing times and have been a huge factor in missed trips.
  • Round trip standard trackable shipping labels for the application to ItsEasy, and the passport book and/or passport card back to the user, saving you a trip to the post office.
  • Special government barcoded application forms* and instructions delivered instantly via email for printing 
  • PPP – Perfect Passport Photos- Simply take a 2×2″ passport photo using your smartphone or iPad following the app’s helpful passport photo guidelines, saving you a trip to the drug store for photos and ensuring an error-free passport photo.
  • 24/7/365 live customer service
  • Daily status processing updates
  • Complimentary passport renewal reminders 1 year in advance of your renewal date and every month after to ensure compliance with the 6-month passport validity rule
  • ItsEasy Visa Widget to quickly learn whether you need a visa for the country you plan to visit
  • Lost Passport Alert, a complimentary feature if you suddenly lose your passport in the US or abroad. Press “Report a Lost Passport” to learn what to do.
  • US Passport Cards that are Real ID-compliant. Real IDs will be required for any travel (domestic or international) starting May 7, 2025 – you can be ready to travel by getting a convenient wallet-size U.S. Passport Card on the ItsEasy app.
  • Ability to apply for a second passport to your main U.S. passport
  • Travel Visa Services for $99 plus government fees

*The ItsEasy app will now automatically generate a specialized BarCoded Passport Application to save time for passport agency employees, at no extra charge. After receiving a BarCoded Application, these government agents are able to simply and quickly scan this application instead of getting bogged down with the manual data entry of a handwritten application.

While typewritten applications are easier for the passport agent to read, without a special government scannable barcode, the agent still must re-type the application, which is adding to the processing delays due to the increased volume of applications. 

4. Pay for 1-2 day return shipping if you use the State Department’s expedited passport process

For renewals, submit your application either to a local post office or by following the mailing instructions on the form. Requesting an expedited passport renewal through the government costs an extra $60. Pre-pay $19.53 for 1-2 day delivery return shipping to save time. 

5. For urgent or emergency passport needs, try to reserve an appointment at passport agencies in states near you, since they are limited and hard to get. 

If you live in a city that has a US Passport Agency office, you can contact the government’s automated appointment hotline at 1-877-487-2778. Note that you MUST be departing the country within 14 days to qualify for this option and the fee for renewing the passport will be $130 + $60= $190 for adults & $100 + $60 = $160 for children under 16.

A passport card adds $30 for adults & $15 for children. Some people might find available same-day appointments in offices outside their state. The only difference between the requirements for a rush passport and a regular passport application is a travel itinerary that shows that your travel plans require an expedited passport.

Once you secure an appointment, you show up in person with the required documents and fees. In-person agency appointments usually result in same day or next day issuance depending upon travel plans.

6. Use ItsEasy’s rush services to obtain your passport within 14 days

If you have a trip planned in the next month, and don’t want to wait for a passport agency appointment or risk not getting one, ItsEasy’s rush services (starting at $349) can rush your passport application.

ItsEasy acts as an agent on the customer’s behalf, both in the collection and review of documentation, and in the interfacing with the State Department through a series of limited pre-arranged appointments. These “slots” have been allocated to courier companies like ItsEasy; therefore, ItsEasy can go to the passport agencies to submit a certain number of passport applications in-person for a 3-10 day processing timeframe. The slots were initially designed and allocated for people such as the handicapped, the elderly, those who live in jurisdictions not serviced by a state-run passport agency, or those who can’t get to the passport agency for a certain reason. 

After these applications are processed, ItsEasy picks them up in-person unless the individual agency insists on overnighting directly to the applicant.

7. Do not shop on online search engines for companies to assist in passport renewals or trust ads for passport services that pop up online. 

Many of these services are substantially gouging unaware and unsuspecting customers by charging them for services not provided, or normally included by, the government. The ItsEasy app offers Expedited ($44.95 + gov. fees) or Economical ($39.95 + gov. fees) renewals inclusive of passport photos, that can take up to 7-9 weeks or 10-13 weeks respectively, based on current government-quoted processing timeframes.

Other services charge $250-$325+ without including passport photos.

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