To apply for a passport, see this link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/apply-in-person.html

To Renew your passport, see this link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/renew-by-mail.html

Different countries have different rules about the expiration date of your passport and whether they’ll let you into their country or not.  So it is always good to check the specific country’s rules.  Search on “passport expiration date rules [the country you are going to]” and you’ll see something like “Passports should have at least six months remaining validity beyond your departure date.”  That means if you try to enter the country, say the UK on May 30th for example, then your passport should not expire before December.  It is not dependent on when you book your travel.  It is dependent on when you are arriving into the country.  I just renewed my passport and it is supposed to be coming very close to 4 weeks from when I renewed it (and I just did the regular form not the expedited).

A couple of suggestions:

  1. Get your passport picture done somewhere that is reliable like AAA.  They will tell you to take your earrings off and put your hair behind your ears.  I have heard horror stories of people being denied entry into a country because their passport picture was not appropriate.
  2. You can go here to check on the status of your passport and sign up for email updates. https://passportstatus.state.gov/
  3. If you are traveling in 2 weeks and you still haven’t received your passport, you can contact the passport center with the locator number from the link above.
  4. If you are traveling in 4-6 weeks, you will probably be happier if you use the expedited service to begin with.

You can use this site to check if you need a visa : https://cibtvisas.com/visa-quick-check