Q: What is the phone number to the NPIC, and what is their website?
A: The phone number to NPIC is 1-877-487-2778 and is open for our automated system 24/7. To reach an actual Customer Service Rep. you must call between 8a-10p Eastern Standard Time Monday-Friday, and 10a-3p EST Saturdays. The website can be found here.
Q: How much is/what are the fees for a passport, and what options do I have for US passports?
A: There are two options for a US passport: a passport book or a passport card. You have the option to choose either/or or both passports. The fees depend on a few different situations, as well as the passport option you choose. A passport book on its own costs $110 for an adult 16 and older, $80 for a minor 15 and younger. A passport card is $30 for adults 16 and older, $15 for minors 15 and younger. If it's your first time applying for a passport, or if you're applying for a minor, there will be an additional $25 acceptance fee to which you'll be paying to an acceptance facility (which is a location that accepts applications for passports (usually a post office, library, clerk of court, etc)). If you want to expedite your passport there's an additional $60 fee, and there's also an option to have the passport overnight delivered to you when it's completed processing, which is $15.45.
Q: How long does my application take to process?
A: Times will always be approximate, times may be more than or even less than what will be quoted. For routine service, either the passport book or card, first time or renewal, will take approximately 6-8 weeks from send-off of the application to receiving the passport. The expedited service with the fee noted above will bring the passport back within 2-3 weeks. Due to how far you may be from the agency/other unknown reasons, the overnight service may bring the passports back sooner but we cannot say exactly how much quicker that may be. There's a third option for receiving a passport even quicker than expediting a passport, but that'll take its own FAQ below.
Q: What is this third option as stated above?
A: The third option is only open to those who are traveling outside of the US within 26 days/approximately 40 days with need for a visa. In certain locations around the country are locations known as Regional Agencies. They are not in every state, and a few states have more than 1; only California and Texas have more than two locations. There are many states with no regional agency, including Alaska (the nearest agency is in Seattle, WA), Wisconsin, Nevada, Oregon to name a few. As above, the time is within 26 days, not in 26 days; within meaning in 25 days pretty much. Without need for a visa, an appointment at an agency will be within 14 days (in 13 days) from your date of travel; with need for a visa, you can make an appointment at an agency when you're within 26 days (in 25 days) to the date of travel. When going the the agencies it's possible, but not guaranteed, to receive the passport the same day as the appointment; the time-frame is discussed at the time of the appointment--if not same day issuance, it could be the next day you retrieve the passport from the agency or you can have the agency overnight mail the completed passport to you. Appointments as the agencies will always be expedited, so the $60 fee will always be included to the agency.
Q: What's the difference between a passport and a visa?
A: A passport is needed by most countries in order to gain entry to that country, as well to reenter your country of citizenship. A visa is a document from a country allowing you entry into that country. Countries that need visas, for example, would be Russia, Nigeria, Canada (if you're staying for more than 180 days). Countries that do not need visas would be Canada (if staying for less than 180 days), Mexico, Germany (most countries of the EU do not require visas).