The State Department advised that routine applications for U.S. passports can take up to 18 weeks to be processed and delivered in an update on July 21. This 18-week timeline includes processing time of up to 12 weeks and mailing times for up to 6 weeks.
A $60 expedited service is also available. However, this may take up to 12 weeks. According to an update, passports are available in person in 72 hours in life-or death emergencies. “Some agencies and centers also offer extremely limited appointments for customers with extremely urgent travel needs in the next 72 hour for reasons other that a life or death emergency.”
To expedite travel processing, appointments should be made by telephone. The online booking system has temporarily been removed to increase screening. According to the State Department, bots were used by third parties to overwhelm the online booking system making it hard for applicants and agents alike to identify legitimate appointments. There was no consensus on what qualifies as a legitimate urgency travel request.
Under the new system, third parties won’t be able to make an urgent booking for travel.
According to the State Department, it’s working hard to speed up passport processing while protecting customers and staff health. The State Department also blamed long waits on “mailing delays”. If possible, the department advised applicants to request new passports or renewals at least six months before travel.
From 20.7 million in the previous 12 months, the number of U.S. passports was 11.7 million for the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020. The calendar year 2020 marked the first time since 1989 records were started that U.S. passport holders had fallen from 143.8 million to 146.8 millions. Only 7.3 million people were passport holders in 1989.
Publiated at Wed 28 July 2021, 18:20:29 +0000