USA // New York City

How to get a passport in New York within 24 hours of your flight

**IF YOU'RE IN A RUSH, SKIP TO THE BOTTOM FOR STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS**

You ever had one of those days where you are supposed to fly overseas and the day before your flight you realize that your passport is expired and that you can't even renew it because you got it issued when you were under 16? Yeah, me neither, BUT MY SISTER HAS. Sorry to out you Rach, but this shit is too funny now that everything worked out.

My mom and sister were coming to visit me in Barcelona for Christmas. This trip had been planned for months. I overstayed my visa so I could wait for them. I knew I wasn't coming back to the states anytime soon, so this was the only time I would be able to see them until I don't know. Then I get this text from Rachel as she's sitting at DIA about to board a plane to JFK (where she had her connecting flight to BCN the next day) telling me she had just then looked at her passport. Yeah, it was not exactly ideal to wait until the day before to look at her passport, but I have to defend her a bit because she's never traveled outside of the U.S. other than family trips to Mexico when she was under 18, and my mom and I had just assumed hers was valid because all of ours were issued at the same time. We didn't even think about the fact that she was under-age when she got hers and that it expired sooner.

I was livid for about 10 seconds before my brain switched into I will get you to Spain if it's the last thing I do mode. This is one of those proud moments in my life where I wish there was an appropriate spot on my resume to add 'Walked sister through getting a passport within 24 hours of her flight WHILE in a different continent'.

So, I decided that I needed to share this just in case anyone out there runs into this problem. Yes, it is possible to apply for and receive a passport in-hand in New York City within 24 hours of your flight. Is this a guarantee? NO, but it is possible and if you are desperate, it's worth a shot!

I want to make this clear: I only know how to do this in NYC, but I figure it's useful information because New York is a huge hub and JFK and Newark are common connection spots for overseas flights. If you have more than one day to get your passport, this is clearly ideal, but I'm telling you we successfully did this the day of her flight, which was at 5:30pm.


FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY:

Step 1: Accept the fact that you are going to be exhausted and pissed off during this whole process. It's going to suck and there's a lot of standing around a waiting involved.

Step 2: You need to find a place to get 2 passport photos taken immediately. Walgreens works perfectly because they have stores open 24 hours that do passport photos. If you're doing this late at night, make sure you call the store to make sure their photo department is open.

Step 3: Print out your flight itinerary. This is very important because this is what is going to expedite the process at the passport office! This is your proof that you need your passport ASAP!

Step 4: IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR A NEW PASSPORT (or your old passport was from when you were under 16) fill out the DS-11 Application for a U.S. Passport form very carefully! There cannot be any mistakes! IF YOU ARE RENEWING AN EXPIRED PASSPORT fill out the DS-82 U.S. Passport Renewal Application. DO NOT SIGN THE FORM YET! You'll have to sign it at the passport office!

Step 5: You need to hang on to your old expired passport because it's proof of your citizenship. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ONE, you will need a certified birth certificate (with an official seal and signature, etc.). There are a few other pain-in-the-ass ways to prove you're a citizen, and you can read about them specifically on page 2 of the DS-11 form.

Step 6: Get to the passport office at 5am sharp! I cannot emphasize this enough! There will be a ridiculous line that forms because it's a government building, so you need to be there BEYOND EARLY! The office doesn't open until 7:30am, but there will already be several people lining up at 5am. You will be waiting outside for 2.5 or more hours -- just accept it now. Bring food and coffee and stuff to entertain you. My sister arrived at 5 and there were 8 people in front of her already. Granted, it was the Monday before Christmas, but better to be safe.

This is the address of the passport office:
376 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

^ Go this THIS office! Don't go to any third party passport agency! This office is the source! To ease your mind about this, look at the Yelp reviews -- I've never heard of a government building praised so highly... and in New York City of all places.

You need to have all these documents with you:
- 2 passport-sized photos
- DS-11 form completed (but UNSIGNED)
- Your old passport (or certified birth certificate)
- Another form of photo identification (driver license or ID card issued in the U.S.)
- Printed out flight itinerary
- Cash or credit card to pay for expedited passport, which will be around $170 to $250 (sucks, but desperate times call for desperate measures)

THIS SHOULD WORK! My sister got to speak to an agent around 8am and was told to return at 1pm for her passport, AND IT WORKED! Girl was able to make her 5:30pm flight. This trick is to be in line as early as possible, and same-day and next-day flights get priority, so that itinerary is CLUTCH.

DISCLAIMER: it may take longer than 5 hours to process your passport! The more time you have, the better! It really depends how quickly the agent expedites the process, which depends on how soon your flight is and how early you arrive at the office!

So there you have it. I was sweating bullets during this whole ordeal, not entirely sure it was going to work. But it did, and it has worked for other people as well (seriously, go read that Yelp page).

Good luck, my friend.

New York City & Brooklyn

I have a close, but physically distant family.

My family has had a bit of a rocky last few years, and I think my siblings and I had the realization that it is crucial that we band together and hold on tight instead of letting circumstances tear us apart. We may live in different cities, states, countries, continents, but we're each other's rock in our erratic lives.

The last few years have taught me the extreme importance of family, and by family I mean people in your life who love and accept you unconditionally.

I got to see those people in New York at the beginning of this month.

In case you're wondering, no, I did not pay for this trip. This was courtesy of my dad, who was willing to do whatever it took to get all of us together again for a quick vacation. I couldn't possibly pay for a roundtrip ticket to NYC and back to Barcelona as a budget traveler -- I just wanted to clear this up in case anyone was wondering where I came up with money for this (I want this blog to be honest and come from the perspective of someone who is on a backpacker's budget).


My brother Alex has been in Ireland on work VISA through BUNAC for the past year, my sister Rachel has been in college at the University of Arizona, and my dad is living and working in Colorado Springs, so it's very rare that we have the opportunity to get together. SO, my dad took advantage of Alex coming back from Dublin and Rachel going back to school to pull us together. New York was the most convenient option, and it's fucking New York sooooo...

Here we are, and here are some things we did:

The night Alex arrived (he had the most ridiculous travel nightmare having to do with missing connections and having to fly standby and got to NY a day late). Drinking cheap vino tinto from Catalunya in the hotel room. How nice it was to sleep in something nicer than a hostel dorm bed that night!

The night Alex arrived (he had the most ridiculous travel nightmare having to do with missing connections and having to fly standby and got to NY a day late). Drinking cheap vino tinto from Catalunya in the hotel room. How nice it was to sleep in something nicer than a hostel dorm bed that night!

One of the 9/11 memorial fountains. Pretty surreal, I must say. Definitely worth seeing. Makes it feel real.

One of the 9/11 memorial fountains. Pretty surreal, I must say. Definitely worth seeing. Makes it feel real.

^ This is Fat Cat Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, which is super fun. Live jazz and pool tables. It had a $5 cover charge, which is verrrrry reasonable for Manhattan. Side note: please excuse the shit quality of these iPhone photos that I did not edit or retouch. I'm a little embarrassed. =|

Guys, I had to. I went FULL tourist on this trip, fanny pack and all (well maybe not fanny pack... but I would have if I had one).

Guys, I had to. I went FULL tourist on this trip, fanny pack and all (well maybe not fanny pack... but I would have if I had one).

This is Lombardi's, New York's first pizzaria. We went to this place on Scott's Pizza Tour (led by Alexis), which was really fun and informative. The tour was 3 hours and we visited 3 different pizza joints which specialized in different styles of pizza. Alexis was really entertaining and informative -- the guy knows his pizza. Recommended.

^ Eggs Norvegienne from a French bakery/bistro called Tartine in West Village. Solid brunch (love some poached eggs and lox). Defintiely NYC brunch prices -- paid about $18 a person including coffee -- but awesome food and neighborhood-y atmosphere.

^ My dad and I bond over food "projects", and one of our favorites is making homemade ramen, which we have done twice now (like, 3-day broth status). So we've been on a ramen kick, and it was a requirement that we went to Momofuku Noodle Bar, which specializes in Japanese-inspired noodle dishes. The noodle bar is casual and affordable (once again, by NYC standards) and if you're into ramen, ya gotta. The founder, David Chang, has another branch of the restaurant group called Momofuku Ko, which has two Michelin stars, so clearly the guy knows what he's doing.

^ MoMA tho. Don't feel I need to elaborate. If you're an art person you must go. If you have a student ID that hasn't expired, you get a significant discount!

^ Yoko Ono exhibition (!!) ... was so lucky to be there while this was going on.

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^ Love 'em. Miss 'em all the time. <3


OTHER GOOD STUFF I FORGOT TO PHOTOGRAPH:

Skinny Dennis -- A divey bar in Brooklyn that was budget friendly, full of the 20-somethings and students. Live music every night and free peanuts! They have a really popular alcoholic coffee drink that everyone kept recommending, although I didn't try (I was more keen on whiskey cokes).

The Book of Mormon -- If you don't see a Broadway show in New York, you're doing it wrong. There's a reason this show sells out so quickly on tour. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone -- the creators of South Park. Most hilarious musical I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of Broadway musicals for someone who doesn't live in NY. It's not just for theatre enthusiasts! Yes, Broadway shows are expensive, but you have to see this one! TRUST ME!

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Kinky Boots -- Another Broadway musical that my dad and I got tickets for the morning of. Really cute story about a shoemaker who meets a drag queen named Lola, and end ups finding the perfect niche market making heels for men. Worth it if you like musical theatre.

Keste Pizza & Vino -- LOVED this restaurant! I was determined to eat Naples-style pizza in New York because of my Italy obsession, and this place was exactly what I was looking for. Fork & knife style, traditional margherita pizza (tomatoes, mozzerella, basil). The founder is from Naples. The employees spoke Italian so my drunk ass was trying to sound cool by speaking my ROUGH Italian to them (I think they were entertained that I at least tried, haha). We asked what they had for dessert, and they said they didn't really have a dessert menu but threw together a Nutella pizza for us.


There you have it. I plan to add to this post as I remember more cool stuff we did.

Thanks for the reunion, dad! =)