Department of State advises travelers to plan ahead amid passport processing delays
Your trip plans made it out of the group chat? Great! Now check your passport expiration date before it’s too late
Frequent flyers and travel novices alike may be itching for a trip this summer, especially after a couple of years of limited travel.
Travel hopefuls looking to plan a trip abroad any time soon may want to check their passport’s status — wait times are up.
The Department of State posted an update on Friday, revealing standard passport processing times have hit 10 to 13 weeks, which could mean you will be waiting a few months.
Expedited applications aren’t necessarily what most would consider expedited, at seven to nine weeks.
The update warns that these processing times do not include mailing times, so you may need to tack on a couple of extra weeks to your wait.
According to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the State Department is receiving 500,000 passport applications per week, an unprecedented demand, per CNN.
To meet this demand, Blinken says the staff has been expanded and a pilot online renewal platform has been introduced.
If your travel plans in 2023 require a passport, apply/renew now— do not wait. And pay the expedite fee. Unprecedented demand = unprecedented processing times— Mandee McCaleb Grant (@mandeegrant) March 15, 2023
This new renewal program has been paused to allow for fine-tuning, but once it’s fully operational Blinken expects “that 65% of renewal customers for passports will be able to do so online.”
What does this mean for travel in 2023?
Those planning a trip in the next few months need to make sure their passports are valid, or else passport processing times may eclipse the date of their departure.
A Department of State spokesperson told ABC 7 that the most important thing you can do is to plan ahead. Don’t leave your passport appointment (or checking your passport’s expiration date) to the last minute.
Unless you are traveling due to an immediate family member’s sickness or death, you will not get a passport in time.
Appointments, especially now and in the coming months, will fill up fast. The department’s spokesperson advised travelers to expect this and to get an appointment as soon as possible.