Though applying for a passport should be a simple task, there can be problems that arise from time to time. Some of these problems are preventable (incorrectly filling out the application form), while other problems can’t be prevented (shipping delays), and then there are bigger issues that have to do with the applicant’s eligibility to obtain a passport (the applicant has a warrant out for their arrest).
If you have decided to use a third-party service to expedite your passport, chances are you are paying a significant amount of money to get the passport issued in a short period of time. Applying for a passport is like following a recipe – you supply Swift (or another expediting company) with the proper ingredients needed to get a passport, and we should be able to smoothly get your passport to you in the timeframe you request.
Before applying for your passport, there are a significant amount of common passport problems to be aware of. If you have a trip coming up and don’t have time for a passport delay, read on to learn about the common problems that we’ve encountered in order to avoid any hang-ups or delays in obtaining your passport.
Passport Problems that are Preventable:
The applicant did not reference the required document checklist
Each of the passport services on our website has a required document checklist. Make sure you use our list as a guide, and that you read the entire requirement description to ensure you don’t miss any important details. It can be easy to forget to send an item on the list or to forget to sign a document requiring a signature.
The applicant filled out the application form incorrectly
When you are looking to get an expedited passport you must complete the government passport application online, print it out, and sign it. Handwritten applications are no longer accepted for expedited passport service. The link to the application can be found in the checklists on our website – make sure you follow the instructions on our website to ensure that your application forms are filled out correctly.
The applicant did not reference the current letters of authorization
Two letters of authorization are required for each expedited passport service with Swift (a letter of authorization lets the State Department know that you give Swift permission to handle your passport service). It’s very important that you download these forms from our website and print them single-sided. The format for these letters change frequently, so make sure you’re downloading and printing these forms from the correct checklist on our website.
The applicant did not call ahead to determine “slot” availability
Our one-day passport service requires that you call and make a reservation in advance. There’s a limited number of same-day passport requests that we can submit each day. We also require a reservation for our two and three day expedited passport services when passport volume is high. If you need your passport in a short amount of time, it’s best to call us before placing your order or sending over any documents.
Proof of travel looks sketchy
Passport agencies will request “proof of travel” before expediting a passport so that they can understand why they need to put a rush on your passport service. There are numerous reasons that our clients can have a hard time meeting this requirement. Many times informal and homemade explanations will be rejected. You should obtain more documentation illustrating your travel plans so that your itinerary does not come into question with the State Department. This blog gives plenty of suggestions on how to navigate the proof of travel/proof of departure requirement.
If your signature is inconsistent on any of the forms you’ll need to fill out while applying for a passport, we won’t be able to submit your documents. There are some pretty major consequences that come in to play if there’s any question of forgery on Federal documents. Make sure that all of your signatures match across all documents in order to avoid running into any problems.
The Department of State check is not acceptable
It’s important to make sure that you write any checks out for the exact amount listed. Failing to do this can cause your expedited passport to be delayed by at least one business day. Some other requirements you should be aware of are that your handwriting must be very clear to read, the check needs to be made out to “The US Department of State”, temporary or starter checks are not accepted by the State Department, and the applicant’s name and date of birth should be clearly written in the memo section of the check.
Adult Fees (Age 16+) *Rates as of January 9th, 2020
- For a Passport Book only: $170
- For a Passport Book and Card: $200
- For a Passport Card only: $90
Child Fees (Age 0-15) *Rates as of January 9th, 2020
- For a Passport Book only: $140
- For a Passport Book and Card: $155
- For a Passport Card only: $75
Copies were not included
As stated on our website in the new, lost, and child passport instructions, we require a copy of all paperwork sealed inside your executed envelope from the passport acceptance agent. Keep in mind that we do not open that envelope you give us, so we have no idea what’s all included unless you give us copies. Please make sure copies are included so that we can anticipate any problems associated with the contents of your sealed envelope.
The passport photo wasn’t high enough quality
Passport photos are approved by an agent at the Passport Agency. There are times when a photo that looks acceptable to us is rejected, and in other cases, there are times when we think the passport photo will be rejected, and it somehow gets approved.
Please keep in mind that spaghetti straps, glasses, headbands, and hats cannot be worn in a passport photo. It is acceptable for a person to wear a head covering if it’s required for religious reasons as long as the applicant includes a signed statement stating that their religion requires them to cover their head.
In general, you can count on your photo being approved as long as it meets the requirements on the State Department website. If Swift is printing a photo on your behalf, you can follow our guidelines for printing digital photos.
Forgetting to have the paperwork executed
The most common problem we see with new passports lost passports, and child passports are that people skip going to the passport acceptance agent to get their application “executed.” Remember, many passport acceptance agents require that you make an appointment a day in advance to get your paperwork executed.
Other Common Passport Problems:
The applicant owes child support
If you owe $2,500 or more in child support you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport. Pay your child support to the appropriate state child support enforcement agency before applying for your passport. If you have a legal payment plan in place for a past due child support payment, you are still not eligible for a passport if you owe $2,500 or more. Once your child support is paid off it takes about a week for the passport agency to receive proof from the state child support enforcement agency. If your application is rejected due to child support, the State Department does not refund your $170 or $200 government fee, but they do allow you 90 days to prove eligibility before they cancel your passport application request.
The applicant has a warrant out for their arrest
If you have a warrant out for your arrest you are not eligible for a passport. You are not eligible for a passport if you have a warrant out for your arrest, or if you are on probation and not allowed to leave the state or country. If your application is rejected due to either of these reasons, the State Department does not refund your $170 or $200 government fee, but they do allow you 90 days to prove eligibility before they cancel your passport application request.
Inbound and outbound shipping delays
If a shipping delay hinders the start of a passport or visa service, we can work with you to upgrade your service to a faster processing time.
When you ship Swift your documents, we suggest sending them via FedEx or UPS, rather than USPS. The tracking system at USPS is less reliable and we’ve experienced numerous delays receiving USPS packages.
What to do when you run into a problem regarding your passport
Follow the checklist of instructions on our website to ensure that you send us the proper application materials so that we can deliver our services on time. If a problem or delay occurs when using our service, our team will work with you to mitigate the damages and upgrade your service if needed so that you get your documents in time.
One of the benefits of using Swift is that we are able to quickly react when there is a problem with your expedited passport service. For one, two, and three-day services, if there’s a problem that requires your attention to resolve, we often find out about the problem on the final day of the service. We’ll communicate the problem to you immediately and walk you through the steps on how to fix it. Sometimes the problem can be resolved by providing application materials to Swift via email, while in other circumstances, you may need to send us a newly signed document via FedEx.
With our 4-5 day, 7-10 day, and 11-15 day services, we often find out early on if there’s a problem that requires your attention. In this case, the problem can often be fixed without delaying your passport service at all.
Still nervous that you don’t have everything in order or have any questions? Feel free to email us a scan of your paperwork to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll review your paperwork before you ship it to us. No matter where you’re going, we’ll get you there!