My wife and I need to renew our passports. It looks like you can mail everything in yourself. Our city government has a passport service that costs $35 on top of the regular passport fee. Why would anyone do it through the passport service if they can mail it in themselves for no additional fee? Wondering if I am missing something. Should I do it myself or go through my local city government?
Do it yourself
I guess they just want to pocket the "handling fee".
Do it yourself, but Pay for Expedited service with passport agency!!! The processing times are often extremely long right now. About 4 months if you just do regular processing.
I'd be interested in what city that is, and what exactly they are offering. It seems to me that a city gov't has no role in the actual review, approval, processing and issuance of passports, so it seems all they could provide is express mail service, which, as you note, you can do yourself.
We filled out the paperwork ourselves and went to our local post office to send in our renewal priority mail. I had a question and the clerk sent us to another person who was not the passport specialist as we didn't have an appointment, but he was familiar with the requirements . He kindly reviewed our paperwork and made suggestions as to how to organize it. The post office personnel were very helpful. We could have sent it on our own but a simple question got us personal help.
I'm assuming you're in the USA?
How soon do you need to use your passports? Regular service is still taking a while. However, expedited service is pretty fast. My mother needed to renew hers, and my sister lost hers. Both mailed their applications at the beginning of July, and got their new passports back in about 5 weeks.
Not sure what the deal is with the city government service - never heard of anything like that. Do they maybe take your picture for you and fill out/mail the paperwork? That's the only thing I can think of...
a question from June this year from OP jgerke999 indicates that they may be American. and a post from today indicates that they have just returned from Switzerland.
Yes, I am an American. Should have specified that in my post. I live in a suburb of Salt Lake City. The city I live in and the one next to us both have some sort of passport service. Sounds like they just help do the paperwork and mail it in. They also take your photo for another $10.
Is it your City Government or just a regular business that is offering this service? Is you go to the US Passport website they provide step by step instructions, the forms and you just print, sign and send them. We took our pictures at Costco but I know lots of people just take one on their cell phone, print the correct size and use that. That is what we did, but like others are saying, do the expedited service if you need them ASAP.
The easiest way is to basically fill out the form using the online form filler provided on the state.gov site (https://pptform.state.gov/) which will basically take your input in a web form and creates the page you need to print along with a barcode containing your data (it warns you not to mark or modify the page after printing). Print it out, staple your photo and mail it along with your passport and passport card if applicable using whichever service is needed, expedited or normal.
There's absolutely no need to pay a 3rd party to do that for you. Maybe pay for a picture if needed, but that's cheap and can go to walgreens or somewhere that does passport photos.