If you're planning on heading overseas, you'll need to apply for a U.S. passport, after which it can take six to eight weeks to receive your physical passport. During this period, you can track your application's status. We don't recommend booking any accommodation or flights until you have your passport in hand (and in some cases, you'll need your passport number to book hotels and flights anyway), so getting confirmation and knowing when you'll receive your passport is critical before making your travel plans.
Check Your U.S. Passport Application Status Online
The quickest and easiest way to check the progress of your passport application is to do so online.
Head to the Department of State's website. Be prepared to enter the following information: your last name (including suffixes without punctuation except the hyphen—for example: Smith III, Jones Jr, Jones-Smith); your date of birth in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY; and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. After you click submit, you'll be able to see what stage your passport application is currently at and how long it will most likely take for you to receive it.
As of 2019, it takes 7–10 business days after submitting your application until your application status will show up online, so wait at least a week before checking on it.
Check Your U.S. Passport Application Status by Phone
Another easy way to check on your U.S. passport application's status is by phone.
Between 6 a.m. and midnight on Monday to Saturday, and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (excluding federal holidays), you'll be able to call the Department of State to find out how far along your application is and how long it will take to be fully processed. The Department of State says the best time to call is between 8:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. EST., as this is when the least amount of people call, so you won't have to wait as long.
- This is the number you need call: 1-877-487-2778
- And for those of you who are hearing impaired: 1-888-874-7793.
Check Your U.S. Passport Application Status by Email
You can also check the status of your application by sending an email to NPIC@state.gov—you'll need to tell them your last name, your date of birth, the last four digits of your social security number, and your passport application number.
Most inquiries will be answered with 24 hours, so this is the slowest method of finding out what is happening. You'd be best off calling or using the website unless you're not in a huge rush.
Expediting Your Passport Application
If you'll be leaving the United States within 14 days and urgently need to submit your passport application, the government offers an expedition service to help you get everything arranged in time—in this case, it will take two or three weeks for you to receive your passport, including mailing times.
Do note that you can do this yourself. Although there are expediting service companies, they are often overpriced and will just do exactly what you can do on your own.
You can also visit a U.S. Passport Center in person to get a passport as soon as the very same day you show up. You can queue up in a line outside the office, or you can go online to book an appointment. Be sure to check the State Department's website to see what paperwork you need, otherwise your application might be delayed.