Kristian Widjaja’s Blog

11 Aug, 2009

How to get a US Passport within One Day

Posted by: Kristian In: How To ...|Travel

Our trip to the Netherlands was planned months in advance. We were ready to go and made it as far as the luggage check-in. Then the airline agent uttered these horrifying words: “Sir, your son’s passport is expired. You cannot board the plane.”

At this moment, my world sank. All plans fell into the water, and I tried to plead for mercy. But the agent sympathetically said that she couldn’t do anything about this.

This was a humbling experience, since I was in charge of checking the passports. I only checked mine and my wife’s passport which were valid for 10 years, so I thought that our young kids’ passports should be fine and neglected to check their passports. Little did I know that kids’ passports are only valid for 5 years! Thankfully, my good wife did not make a big deal about it; she thought it was pretty funny.

I, however was quite anxious and was figuring out what to do. After some phone calls, I figured out that we could get a new passport for my son using same-day service at the Department of State in San Francisco.  This is what we did to get that passport, plus some tips in case you face this same predicament:

  1. Book the next international flight.
  2. Print out the itinerary, so that you can show proof of travel requiring a passport.
  3. Get 2 passport pictures. I got my son’s at Costco for a very affordable price.
  4. Get other required paperwork, such as proof of ID, birth certificate, etc. See this full list of required items.
  5. It will be helpful to fill in your passport application form beforehand, but it is not required.
  6. Go to the Department of State and line up before it opens (8:30AM). We went to the Department of State office in San Francisco at 95 Hawthorne Street. (Do not bother with making an appointment by phone. The line is always busy.)
  7. Get your queue number.
  8. Submit the passport application form (available there) when your number comes up.
  9. Come back at the indicated time to pick up your passport (3PM in our case).

The overall cost of getting a new same-day passport was not that bad. It only cost $60 more to get this same-day expedited service. However, changing the tickets for our family cost us a total of $1800, which was very painful. On top of that, our vacation was cut short by 2 days, foregoing some of the activities that we had planned.

I think it would make great sense for the Department of State to have a passport issuing facility on the premises of the Airport itself. I wouldn’t mind paying a bit extra for this service if it meant I could still board a plane at the original planned time.

What do you think about having such a passport issuing facility available at the airport? How feasible is that?


1 Response to "How to get a US Passport within One Day"

1 | Eugene Liang

August 12th, 2009 at 6:00 am


Great tips Kristian. Same passport requirements apply to cruises. For the folks that live in Atlanta, the closest facility would be New Orleans (or Miami if you’re leaving on a Florida cruise). The key is to get there like 8am to get your queue number.

Comment Form


My name is Kristian Widjaja and I am married to my beautiful wife, Yuliany Widjaja. We have two kids who keep us busy at all times!

I have started this blog, primarily to jot down random thoughts that I have, as well as to document some interesting projects that I have done around the home.