How to cope with passport processing delays
If you're planning to travel internationally this year and need to renew your passport, you'd better get on it — and perhaps be prepared to shell out some cash.
Driving the news: The U.S. State Department is now taking 10 to 13 weeks to process passport applications.
- That doesn't include the time it takes to mail your documents and get them back, which can add another four weeks.
What's happening: As recently as February, passport processing times were six to nine weeks (plus mailing time).
- But the State Department is seeing "unprecedented demand" for passports this year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month, as reported by NPR.
- Although the State Department issued a record 22 million passports in 2022, Blinken said the weekly volume of applications so far this year is 30% to 40% higher than last year.
What to do: If your travel is in June or July, you can potentially still get a passport in time, but you'll probably have to pay a $60 fee to expedite it and use a third-party service, Michelle Glass, vice president of travel services with AAA Washington, told KOMO News last week.
- If your travel is in August or later, you can likely still apply the traditional way — but you should get your application in this week, Glass said.
- You may still want to pay for faster shipping and to expedite the application, which cuts processing time to seven to nine weeks.
Be smart: If you applied in person or by mail you can use this online tool to track the status of your passport application.
- Check your application status using MyTravelGov if you renewed online.
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