I just had to renew my passport through the US National Passport office.
I did not pay a third party for an expedited passport service, I just went to the Statedepartment.gov web site, printed out the renewal form, filled it in and sent it to the US Passport Office by overnight mail on Friday, January 25th.
They signed for it on the 26th (a Saturday, I was sure to mark "signature not required" for their pickup as it is a PO Box).
I got an email from them yesterday saying "we have processed your port, expect it to arrive by February 4th," but I just got it today. A total of just seven days.
I did pay for expedited service from the government office, which includes overnight delivery on the return.
Yep, when we got our passports a few years back we paid the expedited rate and got outs in seven days...well the other half and I did. They refused to send our daughter's until after we traveled because they thought she was trying to run away from home. The people at the post office here refuse to let us sign papers even though we tried to because they said we did not need to...she was sixteen or over. The people in the regional office refused to issue the passport even though I called and told the top dog I was the mother. We went back to our local office, and the people there still refused. Don't you love being caught between a couple of govt. idiots? It's a good thing it was a closed circuit cruise. She did get her passport after we got back. Thankfully, she did not need to use it while we were away and she'll have it for later.
Last year we got the opportunity to do a river cruise, but they only gave us about 3 weeks notice. We checked our passports and found they expired less than 6 months after our return, so we had to get them renewed in a hurry. We paid for expedited service and sent them out on Thursday - got them back the next Friday - thought that was awesome.
The only thing was when we went to mail them at the post office, the clerk said we had to put them in separate envelopes. I told her that was not the case. She had to call the postmaster who confirmed we only had to use one envelope to send them. As Moiraine alluded to, often times when you're dealing with the government (or a government agency), the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
Over the years I have found the U.S. Passport Agency to be a rarity - a government entity that is competent and efficient.
I remember when we first submitted our son's application. It went to the New Orleans office and mere days later Katrina struck. I was certain our son's birth certificate was submerged in water and lost. But that isn't what happened. The passport people secured all documents and evacuated them to their Charleston office either immediately prior to, or in the first days after the disaster. We received a postcard telling us such, and that our son's passport would be issued with just a 'little' delay. We received it in 7 weeks along with his birth certificate still in pristine condition. At the time I think the normal turnaround was 6 weeks.