If you have plans to International travel In the coming months, it’s time to open that desk, safe, or shoebox and check the expiration on your US passport. If it still applies, great, enjoy your ride. But if the passport is past its expiration date and you want to travel soon, time may run out. With passports piling up in the millions, it can take up to four months to renew your passport.
Like so many things during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Passport Offices (also known as the State Department’s Consular Affairs Office) have closed. Passport and visa operations have ceased across the country, unless it is a life-or-death emergency. And while those offices are reopening, the process has not been swift.
lately US State Department briefingDue to the closure and the growing demand for international travel, the delays are significant, Rachel Arndt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services, told reporters.
“…Currently, the waiting time for routine new and renewable passport applications can be up to 18 weeks, and this includes processing time, initial internal receipt of applications, and mailings,” Arendt said.
Want to pay an extra $60 to speed up your passport application? It will save you some time, but not a lot of it. Arndt said waiting times for expedited orders are currently up to 12 weeks. She also said the current passport backlog is large – “somewhere in the range of one and a half to two million applications”.
If you have urgent travel plans within 72 hours, there are some appointments available for travelers from the United States. However, those appointments are very limited. And while some third-party booking services offer appointments, Arendt says the department is not affiliated with any booking services and may not honor those appointments.
With more countries opening every day – including Canada in mid-AugustThe desire to travel internationally is increasing. If you have that motivation, but need a passport, you’ll want to move on. If not, you can always think Alternate travel plans within the United States.
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