Can You Book Flights Without A Passport?

Everybody knows that passports are used to facilitate travel; however, some wonder whether it is possible to book flights without a passport. The confusion probably arises from stories they hear about people who have flown on planes without passports. This is often without thought to the destination of said flights.

Of course, the rules which apply when traveling within the country may be different from those that apply when intending to travel to international destinations. Emergency situations may also automatically break all existing protocols.

Furthermore, it is important to establish the distinction between booking a flight, and actually getting on the plane. Let us now find an answer to the question.

Can You Book Flights Without A Passport?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, while you may be able to book your airline ticket without having a passport, you are certainly going to need a valid passport in order to get on the plane. You will simply not be allowed to board the flight you have booked if you do not have a valid passport.

This is a stipulation by law; every country needs to document the movement of persons within and through its borders and entry points. Even at the port of landing; your passport would need to be examined by the relevant authorities.

While the passport may not be absolutely necessary to book a flight; it is highly recommended. Due process requires that you first have a passport before planning any international travel.

So Should You Go Ahead And Book The Flight Without A Passport?

That would depend on the urgency of the travel. If you find yourself in urgent of international travel then it is possible to go ahead and book the flight. However, it is best to make sure that departure time is 8 to 10 days ahead of the reservation.

You can then go ahead to apply for the US Passport.

In cases where there is urgent need for passports, the proper procedure is to pay for expedited passports. This usually implies an additional cost ($60) + the $130 you pay for the passport processing. However, after the passport has been processed it would then be mailed to you using snail mail, and could take another week to reach your residence.

In order to avoid snail mail, and the additional time the passport would take to reach you, you could spend a little more money in which case the passport would be sent to you via courier, and reach your doorstep the same day it is processed.

If you find this interesting, then you need to read the finer details; so you know just how it works.

What To Know About Expediting Passports

Currently, it takes around 11 weeks to procure a passport.  That is if you apply for the routine or regular passport application. However, those who need to travel urgently often do not have the luxury of waiting for such a long period of time.

Depending on the level of urgency, there are several options through which passports can be expedited. Please ensure that your circumstances match the labels. Some forms of the expedited passport applications may or may not attract additional charges.

The following are ways of getting the passport expedited.

Expedited Passport Service At The Post Office Or Passport Acceptance Facility (Urgent)

Those who really need to travel urgently may apply for the expedited passport application at a post office or other passport acceptance facilities. Generally, this is an easier way of getting the passports because the processing time is brought down to around 7 weeks.

There are several passport acceptance facilities scattered in different locations across the country. To find a passport acceptance office near you, please go to https://iafdb.travel.state.gov/ which is the provision of the Department of State for that purpose.

Please note that some Passport Acceptance Facilities charge a Passport Office Acceptance Fee of $35 in addition to the Processing Fee charged by the Department of State which is $130. You would then need to pay an expedition fee which is $60.

Regular mail service would probably take an additional week to deliver the passport to your location. To beat this delay you could apply to have the passport delivered via courier service; in which case you would get it the same day it is processed.

Expedited Service At A Regional Passport Agency (Very Urgent)

Those with an even more urgent need to travel could make an application at a regional passport agency. In this case you would need to schedule an appointment before heading over. Therefore this step requires that you first go over to the department of state website, and schedule an appointment.

On the department of state website, it says that you can schedule an appointment by calling 1-877-487-2778.

Interestingly, you need to have already booked your flight in order to be granted this service; your travel must be within 14 days of the time when you have scheduled the passport appointment.

Usually, this is reserved for very important travel appointments, but the term ‘important’ could mean many things to many people. You will be given the chance to explain how the travel plans are important to you.

There are not very many Regional Passport offices in the country; therefore, you may need to do some traveling to get this appointment.

Life Or Death Emergency Service (Very Very Urgent)

This is a special consideration made by the Department of State; it is made to enable quick passport processing for emergencies that can be called life or death situations. This is for situations when people need to travel outside the country to be with family members who have been hospitalized with life threatening illnesses or injuries, or who have died, or who are dying.

In this case, the passport would be ready within 3 working days.

However, when going for the appointment one would need to take along a copy of some documentation of the emergency such as a letter from the hospital, detailing the person’s medical condition. Said document would need to bear the hospital/clinic letterhead, and be signed by the doctor. If the relative has died, then a death certificate, statement from a mortuary should be obtained.

To schedule this type of appointment; call 1-877-487-2778, which is the phone number assigned by the department of state for this purpose. Before calling please complete a passport application (you can get it from the Department of State website), Take a fresh passport photo, and make sure you have valid government-issued photo identification (such as an identification card or driver’s license).

After scheduling the appointment, show up at the Passport Office with the items in the paragraph above. Make sure you appear on time, on the scheduled date.

Summary

Yes, you can book a flight without a passport, but you cannot board the flight. When flights are booked without passports it is usually with the intention of procuring the passports before the scheduled date of travel. This can be done by expediting the passports through any of the ways highlighted in this post.

Please do not abuse the process; unless there is an urgent need to expedite the passport; please follow the routine passport application process which is smooth and efficient.

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