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It can take as little as two weeks, as my hubby's passport which came from the post office took about that amount of time. However, I have no idea of what is in your background or your spouse's background. My hubby is a blue collar WASP who has lived and worked in the same area for his entire life, and whose parents had lived in this same area almost their entire adult life until retirement. Pretty easy to document such a life. It takes longer for different people for whatever reason. I would pay the expedite fee and be done with it. The passport will then be good for 10 years, so you will be good to go for future trips. To be honest, if you don't have $180 extra in your vacation budget, I don't advise traveling to begin with. But I don't know where you're going. If it's Asia, maybe the budget trip would be OK. If it's Europe, you will be wiped out the first time you sit down to a meal, what with the outrageous heights of the pound and the euro.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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