The everything guide to the US Passport application process

What can go wrong when using a third party passport expediter?

In today’s fast-paced world, the convenience of third-party services can be incredibly appealing, especially when it comes to something as crucial as obtaining or renewing a passport. Passport expediters promise to streamline the application process, saving you time and stress. However, while these services can be beneficial, they also come with potential pitfalls. Understanding the risks involved can help you make an informed decision.

1. High Costs with No “REAL” Guarantee

One of the most significant drawbacks of using a third-party passport expediter is the cost. These services are expensive, often charging several hundred dollars on top of the regular government fees. Despite the price tag, there is no absolute guarantee that your application will be processed faster than if you had handled it yourself. Yes, many companies offer a “Service Guarantee” but the terms of this are often very much in favor over the passport expediter (more on this later). If there are issues with your application or if the government experiences delays, the expedited service may not be as expeditious as expected, leaving you out of pocket with no passport in hand.

2. Potential for Scams

The internet is filled with scams, and the world of passport expediting is no exception. Fake and/or unscrupulous companies may offer expedited services but fail to deliver, taking your money and providing no real service in return. Worse still, some fraudulent companies might steal your personal information for nefarious purposes.

3. Privacy and Security Concerns

When you use a third-party expediter, you must provide them with sensitive personal information, including your Social Security number, birth certificate, and other identification documents. When you FedEx your documents, you are sending these sensitive documents to an employee of the company you paid, not directly to the government. This transfer of personal data poses a significant privacy risk even if the risk is very minimal, you should be aware of it. Even legitimate companies can suffer data breaches, potentially exposing your information to identity theft or exposure. The reality of the situation is that you have no way of ensuring that any company has robust security measures in place, always be aware of the risks involved.

4. Application Errors Will Lead to Delays

Using a third-party can introduce opportunities for errors and miscommunications. Expediters are required to check for certain mistakes on every application. However, if the expediter misses an error on your application, it will lead to a suspension and delays and if there’s any issue that needs to be clarified, you may find yourself caught in a loop of back-and-forth communication between the government agency and the expediter, complicating and extending the process further.

5. Limited Control and Transparency

When you hand over your passport application to a passport expediter, you relinquish some control over the process. This lack of control can be frustrating, especially if you want to know the status of your application or if something goes wrong. Additionally, some companies may not offer transparency about where your application stands, leaving you in the dark until the passport arrives—or doesn’t.

6. Delayed Responses

While the whole point of using an expediter is to save time, the reality can sometimes be the opposite. Some companies don’t respond promptly, sometimes the expediter has to wait for the Department of State to respond to an inquiry into your application.

Mitigating the Risks

If you decide to use a third-party passport expediter, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks:

  • Research Thoroughly: Look for well-established companies with positive reviews and proper accreditation. The U.S. Department of State provides a list of authorized passport expediters, which can be a good starting point.
  • Verify Security Measures: Ensure the company uses secure methods for transmitting and storing your personal information.
  • Read the Fine Print: Understand the terms and conditions, including any guarantees and refund policies.
  • Maintain Communication: Keep records of all communications and transactions with the expediter. This documentation can be valuable if issues arise.
  • Consider the Timeline: If your travel plans allow, consider applying directly through the government. The standard expedited process directly through the passport agency is often sufficient and more secure.


While third-party passport expediters offer convenience and potentially faster processing times, they also come with significant risks. High costs, potential scams, privacy concerns, and limited control are all factors to consider before opting for these services. By thoroughly researching and choosing a reputable expediter, you can mitigate some of these risks, but it’s essential to be aware of the risks involved. In many cases, the traditional passport application route may be the safer and more reliable option.

Scott Averbach

Avid Traveler and accomplished technology entrepreneur. Owner and Editor of this website and former owner of a passport expediting company. Want to read more about me? See: Who Owns This Website

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