The surge in international travel The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on international travel for more than a year. But as vaccines roll out and restrictions ease, people are once again eager to explore the world. However, this surge in travel has led to significant delays in processing U.S. passports.
Delays in passport processing The State Department, which processes U.S. passports, is facing a backlog of nearly two million passport applications. The average processing time for a routine passport application is now up to 18 weeks, while expedited processing takes up to 12 weeks. This is causing major headaches for travelers who need their passports for upcoming trips.
The pandemic led to a significant decrease in passport applications, as many people canceled their travel plans. As a result, the State Department had to reduce staff and hours at passport agencies. Now, with travel rebounding, the agency is struggling to keep up with the influx of applications.
What travelers can do If you’re planning international travel in the near future, it’s essential to check your passport’s expiration date and apply for a renewal as soon as possible. Routine passport processing times can take up to 18 weeks, so it’s best to apply well in advance of your trip.
If you need a passport quickly, expedited processing is available for an additional fee. However, even expedited processing can take up to 12 weeks, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
Travelers can also check the State Department’s website for updates on passport processing times and any changes to requirements or procedures. By staying informed and planning ahead, you can avoid the stress and frustration of passport delays.
In conclusion, the surge in international travel has caused significant delays in U.S. passport processing. Travelers should be aware of these delays and take steps to ensure that they have their passports in order well in advance of any trips. By doing so, they can enjoy their travels without the added stress of passport-related issues.