International travel is making a comeback as the world opens up. Your travel plans could be in jeopardy if you lost your passport during the pandemic or if you are on a business trip.
There are delays in passport services across the country. The U.S. State Department currently has a huge backlog of passports to process. They’re warning citizens to allow them ample time. Here are the facts.
STANDARD PROCESSING TIME TIMES ARE CURRENTLY DELAYED
Standard passport processing can take up to 18 weeks for renewal and new services. The State Department suggests that you start the process at least six months in advance of your travel plans.
EXPEDITED PASSPORT SERVICES ARE TOO
If you were in an emergency, you could have your passport the next day. You could get your passport by visiting a Passport Office (there are many around the country), waiting in line, and paying a fee for expediting.
The State Department now warns that very limited in-person passport appointments are available, and can only be made within 72-hours of travel. There are no guarantees.
You can pay an additional $60 to get expedited service. However, even with “rushed” services, you can still expect to wait 12 weeks.
It is best to begin your passport renewal or application as soon as possible. You should allow yourself six months to ensure that nothing hinders your ability to travel.
LIMITED SUPPORT FOR CUSTOMERS IS AVAILABLE
The State Department warns that call centers are currently under heavy taxation and can experience delays in processing. If you call to check your status, you can expect long wait times, and staff won’t likely be able to speed things up.
HOW LONG DOES THIS LAST?
While the government is currently preparing to meet the needs of U.S. tourists who require passport services, hiring and training take time. You should expect delays shortly, but it’s better to be prepared.
WHAT DO WE RECOMMEND?
Check your passport and make sure it isn’t close to expiring. You might not have realized that your passport was due for renewal. It has been quite some time since you were able to travel internationally. If you plan on renewing your passport, give yourself at least six months. Don’t make a business trip to another country until you have checked that your passport is valid.
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