Los Angeles Passport Office – Getting a Same Day Passport

by on December 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm

After exceeding 150 comments on post detailing my original experience getting a same day passport, I decided to go through the comments and separate the experiences and helpful tips by passport office.

These comments and tips were related to people’s experiences at the Los Angeles Passport Office.

First off, my experience was at the LA Passport Office and the source for my entire post, so my post is incorporated herein by reference.

From Jen:

Thanks for this blog. I had a passport emergency this month, and this post convinced me I didn’t need to use one of those expensive—and presumably risky—passport services. The Google search results are so dominated by those ads/websites, I was starting to think it was my only option!

To help pay-it-forward, here’s my update: My flight was on Saturday, July 10, and I called the LA office on Monday, June 28th for an appointment. The soonest I’d be able to get in for an appointment was the 8th, only two days before the flight. I was nervous that I’d be cutting it so close to my departure, but decided to stick with the appointment.

I got there at 7:30 in the morning (office opens at 7 AM), and there was a short wait outside for people with appointments. (As it’s been said here, everyone with an appointment gets in the same line, regardless of the time. Don’t worry about showing up earlier than the specified time.) There was also a line for people without appointments, and it was about 30 deep by 7:30 AM.

Once you’re inside, you wait in another line where they check all your paperwork and ID (completed passport application, driver’s license, birth certificate, 2 photos, and my flight itinerary). After that, you get a number and wait again. By about 10:45, I walked out with a slip that said to come back at 1:00 PM for my passport.

You pick up the passport at an outdoor window, and when I came back at 1:15, there was a line. It was probably around 2:00 or 2:30 PM before I got in my car to drive home, but I had my passport in hand!

Also, for what it’s worth: I got through the front door around 7:45. By about 9:30 (while I was waiting for my number to be called), I started recognizing some of the folks from the non-appointment line in the waiting room. And they definitely asked for my proof-of-travel (flight itinerary). My departure time was in two days, and I was able to get my passport the same day.

Hope this helps!

From Allison:

This blog really helped. My husbands passport went through the wash and all info was completely legible so he assumed it would be fine. Well it wouldn’t scan so the airline wouldn’t accept it. This was on a Saturday night. I found this blog and called to make an appointment at the LA office immediately. The office is not open on Sunday. Though my husband’s appointment was for Tuesday, he showed up at 7am on Monday and had his passport Monday by 3pm. We were able to leave that night. What I’ve learned is, if you question wether your passport my be damaged, don’t take a chance, get a new one.

From Erin Bates:

Hi. I am traveling to Mexico this coming saturday, and I was planning on going to the LA federal building tomorrow morning to renew my passport in person.

I have a friend who was in the same situation a few months ago, and is almost sure that she didn’t make an appointment. she just showed up, waited in line, showed them her itinerary and got her passport within 2 days.

I just called the help line, and they said it is REQUIRED that you have an appointment and that they will ask me to leave if I don’t have one.

The only thing is, the next available appointment time is the day before I leave.

My question is, is it REALLY necessary to have an appointment in LA to renew your passport? Is it worth my time to try and show up early tomorrow morning and wait in line even if I don’t have an appointment until friday?
So this morning I decided to try my luck, without an appointment. I got there about a half-hour before they opened, and was one of the first people in line. At 7:00, they took the people without an appointment to a separate line, while the people with 7:30 appointments (the earliest ones available) went inside. Basically, if you were in line without and appointment, you had to show proof of travel within the next few days, and they gave you a ticket to go inside. From that point on, I was among everyone else who had an appointment. I only had to wait about an hour from the time I was in line at 7:00 until the time when I got my receipt for my passport. It cost me $160 total, but it will be done in 2 days.

hope that is helpful for someone. Basically, they say you MUST have an appointment, but I think that’s just to keep the number of stand-by’s limited. If you can’t get an appointment, you don’t really need one.

thanks for all of the information, Dave. Your blog was very calming.

From Ray:

Let me begin with a few words of praise: this blog is an island of critical information in a sea of confusion! I discovered my passport was missing a bit after midnight before a 6 pm departure: without this blog I would not have made the plane. My experience was with the LA agency, but seems largely similar to others posted above. A few thoughts on my experience as they integrate those posted above: 1) If you are within 24 hours of departure you might not be able to get an appointment by phone. I called on the 11th and the next available appointment was on the 15th. Do call to see if there is one available but you may, like me, need to proceed without an appointment. 2) Get pictures. My experience was that CVS, while open 24 hours, had nobody to take the pics until 9:00am. 24 hour Kinkos (thanks Layman!) shot my pics at 5:15 am. 3) Get there early (thanks Gabe & Erin Bates). I arrived 1 hour early and was 2nd in line. I was processed before 9 am, had the passport at 1 pm and was on the flight at 6 pm: from panic to passport in less than 13 hours. In summary, to get a passport if you cannot get an appointment before your scheduled departure: 1) Find out when your nearest agency opens and plan to be there - documents, pictures and payment in hand - at least an hour early. The opening times can be found on the State Department website.
2) Find the nearest place to get your photos made (CVS, Walmart, Kinkos). Confirm by phone that they can make the photos at the time you need them made.
3) Assemble documents. a) Fill out the application form. You can do it at the agency, but doing it before hand saves time and reduces anxiety. b) Proof of citizenship and identity. Dave’s summary at the top of this blog is good. c) Proof that you are about to leave the country (e.g. boarding pass or ticket receipt with departure information).
4) Execute: get photos made, go to agency and get in line early, return to get new passport, go to airport.

From She:

Thanks for the info. Because of this blog I saved 200 bucks AND I made my trip. I looked at my passport Saturday night and realized my passport was expiring in a few weeks. Passports have to be valid 3-6 months from expiry date for MOST international travel. My flight to India was Monday at 7pm. The passport offices are closed on the weekends, so I had to wait till monday morning.

I called for an appointment on the automated service on Saturday night and got an 830am appointment at the Los Angeles office. I showed up at 7am and the guard let me in early. I was out of the office by 815. The process was stress free. They told me to come back at 1 pm to come pick up my passport. In the meanwhile, I got a relaxing hot oil massage, did some shopping and some praying that my passport would REALLY be ready. I got there at 1:15 pm and got my passport from will call at 1:17pm. I waited in line 2 minutes.

Have your paper work ready!

The passport office is only 30 minutes from my home. Luckily I live in LA. Thanks for the advice!

If you have had an experience at the Los Angeles passport office, please share it below. This tremendously helps future readers!

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