US passport applications are backlogged once again, and it’s looking like the only way to travel internationally until 2024 is through your imagination. So, dream on, dreamer!
For the past two years, travelers have been facing delays in passport renewal due to the government’s struggle to cope with the surge in travel demand after the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the situation shows no signs of improvement, even with increased staffing.
What is the new wait time?
As travelers prepare for their summer vacations this year, US passport renewal services are facing increased wait times, with processing times now up to 13 weeks compared to the previous 11 weeks. According to the State Department website, expedited services can also take 7-9 weeks, and delivery times may add “several weeks” more.
Since August, an online passport renewal option has been gradually introduced, with the recent application window closing this month. Approximately 500,000 applicants have utilized the online portal since its launch. However, some frustrated travelers, who applied well in advance, have still not received their passports despite their imminent international trips. As a result, they are now forced to consider canceling their vacations.
Is there a faster solution?
If you find yourself in an urgent situation, it’s best to contact your local congressional representatives for emergency assistance regarding upcoming international trips. In cases where you have applied for a passport but have not received it within five days of your planned travel, a State Department spokesperson suggests calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. They can assist you in scheduling an appointment at a passport agency.