FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
How do I know if I need a passport to travel?
In general, ALL U.S. citizen adults and children need a passport book for international travel.
The following are exceptions to the rule:
A passport card can be used in place of a passport book for land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean. All air travel requires a passport book.
Children under the age of 16 can use their certified birth certificate, original naturalization certificate, or original Consular Report of Birth Abroad for land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. All air travel requires a passport book.
No passport or passport card is needed for travel between U.S. territories:
Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam,American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands.
No passport or passport card is needed for travel between U.S. territories:
Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam,American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands.
How long is a passport valid and when should I renew my passport?
If you were ____ when the passport was issued
Then your passport is valid for
16 or Older
15 or Younger
If possible, you should renew yourpassport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.
How many blank visa pages do I need to travel?
Some countries require your passport have two (2) to four (4) blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement in not met. See Add Extra Pages for instructions on how to apply for additional passport pages.
I have already applied for my passport through a post office/Passport Office or another passportexpediting company, but I still have not received my passport. Can you help?
Unfortunately,we are not able to help those who have a pending passport application. Please call the Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 for an update on your application.
What’s the fastest that I can get my passport through your company?
Our company provides the fastest processing time possible. If you apply for 24-hour processing,and we receive your documents no later than 8:30 AM, your passport could be ready as early as 5 PM the same day.
If you reside in the Washington, DC area, you could pick it up from our office at 5 PM. If you are out of the area, you could receive it as early as 8:30 AM the next day via FedEx First Overnight. If you need it delivered faster, we can help you arrange FedEx Same-Day Delivery Service or airport-to-airport courier service. We will help you find the best solution to your travel needs.
The post office told me that it would take at least 2-3 weeks or more to process an expedited passport. How can your company provide faster service?
When you submit your documents through the post office or U.S. mail, your documents are sent to the National Processing Center, and are handled on a “first-come, first served” basis. However, when you use our service, we hand-deliver your documents to the Passport Office, so your application does not have to wait in line behind other pending applications. A passport agent handles your application on the spot, and your passport is processed in a guaranteed time frame.
What are your different processing times for passports?
APVI offers 4 processing times:
Which processing time should I apply for?
The following guidelines will help you to choose the best processing time for your order.
When calculating how long it will take to process your passport or visa, only count BUSINESS DAYS. (Do not count weekends or holidays.)
The processing time BEGINS ON THE DAY THAT WE RECEIVE YOUR MATERIALS
For 1-3 day passports or rush visas, we must receive your documents by 8:30 AM.
For regular visas, we must receive your documents by 9:30 AM.
For 4-5 day passports or longer, we must receive your documents by 10:30 AM.
Documents that arrive later than these deadlines will be held until the next business day, which will count at the first day of processing.
We recommend that you allow yourself an extra 1-3 business days between the time that you expect to receive your passport and the date of your departure, in case there are unexpected delays. Such delays can be due to mistakes made on application forms, Passport Office request for additional documentation, emergency government closings, or delivery delays. During peak holidays seasons (mid-December to mid-January), it is especially wise to factor in a few extra days in case of shipping delays.
Your Standard Processing for passports is “6-9 days or less.” When will my passport actually be issued? Day 6? Or Day 9? Or less?
The processing of your passport could take up to 9 business days. If possible, we will get it processed as fast as 6 days or less, but that cannot be guaranteed. If you need your passport processed in fewer than 9 days, you should apply for a faster processing time.
If the Passport Office requests additional documentation, how would this affect my processing time?
Rest assured that over 99% of our customers applications are completed within the requested processing time. In the rare instance that the Passport Office requests additional documentation, more than 90% of our applications are completed within 1-2 business days of the date that we receive the requested documents.
How can I be sure that I will get my passport or visa on time?
Please follow the application instructions exactly as provided on http://www.apvi.net/. In addition, we recommend that you build in an extra “cushion” of 1-3 days to protect yourself from unexpected delays.
How can I get a certified copy of my U.S. birth certificate?
For routine service, contact the Vital Statisticsoffice in the state where you were born.
For expedited processing of your certified birth certificate, you can also contact http://www.vitalchek.com/.
How can I get a copy of my Certificate of Naturalization?
Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at http://www.uscis.gov/ or call 1-800-375-5283.
What do I do if there is no birth record on file for me?
If you were born in the U.S and there is no birth record on file, you will need several different documents to substantiate your citizenship. You will need:
A letter from the Vital Statistics office of the state of your birth with your name and what years were searched for your birth record. An official of the Vital Statistics office needs to issue a letter of no record found.
In addition, you will need early public records to prove your birth in the U.S.
If you were born outside the U.S. and your U.S. parent(s) did not register your birth at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you may apply for a U.S. passport.
You will need:
Your foreign birth certificate that includes your parent(s) names; and
Evidence of your parent(s) U.S. citizenship; and
Your parent(s) marriage certificate.
Note: The documents above are considered SECONDARY PROOF of U.S. Citizenship. The Passport Office reserves the right to request additional documents to confirm your U.S. citizenship. When applying for a passport via secondary documents, please allow additional processing time.
Why do I have to send my original documents to get my passport? Can’t I send photocopies?
We understand your desire to keep your documents in your possession. However, the State Department must verify that all citizenship documents are authentic in order to process U.S. passports. Photocopies do not contain the stamps, seals, and other invisible markings that confirm the document as authentic.
Why do I have to send my original passport to get a visa? Can’t I send a photocopy?
We understand your desire to keep your passport in your possession. However, the Embassies require your passport in order to issue your visa, which will be either a sticker or a stamp affixed to your passport’s visa pages.
Child Passport Documents
My child’s other parent has not been in my child’s life for a long time. Do I still need to provide his/her signature of consent?
For the purposes of child safety, BOTH parents listed on the child’s birth certificate MUST provide a signature of consent and a copy of state ID. If the second parent has been absent and cannot be found, the primary parent must attain proof of sole custody of the child through a legal court order.
I have my baby’s hospital-issued birth certificate, but I haven’t received the certified one yet. Can he or she still get a passport?
You will need the certified copy of the baby’s birth certificate in order to obtain a passport for him or her. Contact the Vital Statistics Office of the state of the baby’s birth to order the certified copy that you will need.
My child is too young to sign his/her own passport. How do I sign my child's passport?
In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child's name and sign their own name. Then, in parenthesis by the parent's name, write the word (mother) or (father) so we know who signed for the child.
My child does not have a social security number. What do I write on the application form?
For child passport applications only, you can write "zeros" in the spaces provided for the social security number.
Online Passport Application Form
The post office told me that I can use a hand written form for my passport application. But your website tells me that I must use the online version. Why is this?
The Passport Office requires the online version of the application form in order to provide you the fastest turnaround time. This is because the online version creates a scan-able barcode, eliminating the need for manual data-entry. Hand written applications will not be accepted at the Passport Office.
What additional documentation might the Passport Office ask for?
The Passport Office retains the right to request appropriate documentation to prove your U.S. citizenship and/or establish your identity. In over 99% of cases, the documents that you have provided will be sufficient to process your passport. However, in rare cases, the Passport Office, requests further documentation, such as: early childhood records (church,school, immunization/medical, etc.); elementary or high school yearbook photos; notarized affidavits from blood relatives; and/or other formal documents (W-2 forms, social security card, etc.).
Which shipping method should I use to send my application materials to you?
You are free to use the shipper of your choice, but we highly recommend that you choose an option that includes package tracking. Please be aware our processing time begins on the day that we receive your materials in our office (see Processing Times for more information on this). Please choose the shipping time that best suits your purposes.
Who is your preferred shipper?
Our preferred shipper is FedEx.
What are your shipping fees?
FedEx fees for continental U.S. range from $15-$60, depending on how fast you need to receive your package. The cost of FedEx Priority Overnight is $30 for continental U.S. For non-continental U.S. and international shipments, the FedEx charge is $60.
Do you offer other shipping options?
We can also ship via UPS or USPS Express if you include a prepaid air bill. Note: UPS and USPS packages often must be held an extra day before shipping, depending on what time your passport and/or visa is completed. If you want to be sure of the fastest turnaround time, we recommend that you choose the FedEx as the default shipper. We do not ship regular U.S. mail, or use any service that does not provide package tracking.
What additional fees are there?
We DO NOT charge additional fees for routine tasks such as +making additional trips to the Passport Office or Embassy when your application requires additional documents, taking your application to the Post Office or UPS for shipping (with an air bill that you provide), etc.
We DO charge additional fees when State Department and Embassies INCREASE GOVERNMENT FEES without prior notice. In such cases, we would ask for your permission before charging you the difference in fees.
We DO charge additional fees for SPECIAL SERVICES that are requested, if such requests entail a significant expenditure of time and/or money. However, we will NEVER charge you for special services WITHOUT your EXPRESS PERMISSION to do so.
Special services might include:
Courier Wait Time : This fee is charged when you make a special request that requires our courier to wait at a location while the special request is being processed. The fee charged for this service is $50/hour of wait time.
Airport-to-Airport Delivery : If you need to receive your passport as fast as possible after it has been issued, please call Fed-Ex Same-Day Services at 1-800-399-5999. Our packages are usually ready for pick-up between 5:00 and 5:30 PM EST. If FedEx Same-Day cannot fulfill the request, we can sometimes schedule an airport-to-airport delivery on your behalf, with your express permission. Our courier fee to the airport would be $150 and up, and the airline cargo fee would be $95-$195 and up, depending on the airline. We would ALWAYS confirm the fees with you before scheduling the airport-to-airport delivery.
CHANGING OR UPGRADING AN ORDER
Is it possible to change or upgrade an order once it has been submitted?
In most cases, we can change or upgrade your order if you call us before your documents are received in our office. After the documents have been received, we will make our best effort to process the changes that you have requested, based on government restrictions and limitations. Please call us as soon as possible with any changes to your order, so that we may provide you the best customer service possible.
CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
If you cancel your order before we receive your documents in our office, you will NOT be charged any fees. Please CALL us with your order number as soon as possible, and we can delete the order from our system.
If you cancel your order AFTER your documents have been received in our office, you WILL BE CHARGED the APVI service fee to cover the costs of reserving a spot with the appropriate government agencies, and/or reviewing your documents to prepare them for submission.
Once your documents have been received, you may or may not be refunded your State Department and/or Embassy Fees, depending on whether or not your application has already been submitted for processing. Please Note: The State Department and most Embassies do NOT offer refunds of any kind once an application has been received. Please call us as soon as possible with any changes to your order, so that we may provide you the best customer service possible.
What is a Promotion/Coupon Code? How do I get one?
Promotion/Coupon codes are provided to travel agents or tour group operators who have an established account with us. If you are interested in getting a promotion/coupon code, you can provide us with the name and contact information of your travel agent, and we will check to see if an account has been opened or can be opened with us.
What should I do with my cancelled passport?
You should keep your cancelled passport in a safe place where you store other important documents. Even though your cancelled passport cannot be used for travel, you can use it as proof of citizenship should your current passport become lost, stolen, or damaged.
How can I be sure that your company is legitimate?
We understand your desire to work with a company that you can trust. For this reason,we urge you to confirm our “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau. We’ve processed hundreds of thousands of passport and visa applications, and we have always maintained a superb record. We will always do everything in our power to preserve our superb customer service record. See our testimonials (link) for specific feedback from our satisfied customers.
What kind of guarantee does your company offer?
We hold ourselves to the highest standards of customer service and do what is best for our clients. Through careful and active attention to our customers' needs, we have developed the most innovative, easy to use, and systematic website that prevents processing delays. Please follow those steps carefully, and delays should not occur. In the unlikely event APVI does not return your completed passport or visa to you in time for your trip, we will offer a full or partial refund of all APVI service fees paid(excluding fees paid to the Department of State or Foreign Embassies) UNLESS such delay is caused by circumstances beyond our control.
Such circumstances include:
Delay caused by missing requirements (i.e. Photos, Letter of Authorization, payment, unsigned application, etc.)
Delay caused by shipping companies;
Delay caused by internal operations of the Department of State or Foreign Embassies;
Delay caused by suspension of a passport or visa application by the Department of State or Foreign Embassies.
Your passport application is likely to get suspended by the passport office if:
You are behind in child support payments;
You owe the government a repatriation loan and/or are behind in student loan payments;
You are on probation which restricts international travel;
Additional documents are requested by the passport office (additional ID, high school yearbook, etc.) to further confirm your identity and/or proof of citizenship.