If you’re an American citizen seeking to travel overseas this special edition about delays in renewing a U.S. passport is for you. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an expedited passport application got processed within 2-3 weeks and 6-8 weeks for regular applications. As of Wednesday, July 14th, 2021, the U.S. State Department stated the wait for a passport will now be between 12-18 weeks, even if you paid for expedited processing. Unfortunately, this is part of the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused severe disruptions to the process of domestic issuance facilities and overseas embassies and consulates. Specifically, because vaccination rates across the nation are increasing and foreign travel restrictions are easing, we are covering this vital issue as well as providing steps you can take to ease your concerns and anxiety about the passport renewal process.
According to the U.S. State Department, they are working on increasing staff to address a backlog of 1.5 million – 2 million applications. However, they cautioned not to expect an immediate decrease in turnaround time. The backlog of passport requests means that applications submitted now probably will not be processed until this Fall. Americans needing to apply for passport renewal should do so at least six months ahead of when they plan to travel. Across the nation anxious travelers have been contacting elected officials, scouring social media for tips on how to get through to customer service agents, and in many cases, even flying to different states to secure rare passport appointments. Given these conditions, what should you do if you’re planning to travel overseas?
- First–apply early and anticipate an 18-week turnaround time–which includes 12 weeks for processing and six more for mailing to and from the State Department.
- Second–if your passport is expired or if you are applying for the first time, don’t plan on leaving the country for at least the next four and a half months.
- Third–passport agencies are no longer taking walk-ins unless you have a confirmed time slot to be seen and do not show up to their offices. Time slots are available to those individuals with life and death emergencies and are traveling within 72 hours, they are given by appointment only.
- Fourth–all in-person applicants will be required to provide a printed copy of their confirmed appointment in order to be seen and walk away with their renewed passport.
- Fifth–in-person appointments are extremely limited and can only be made by calling the National Passport Office at 877.487.2778 or visiting the online website.
The U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security have taken steps to ease issues related to Americans abroad with expired passports who are seeking to return home. At The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux, we are working diligently to keep you informed of the resources available during these difficult times. You can count on us to remain abreast of the latest developments. We are ready and committed to inform, support, and serve you in the areas of immigration, real estate, estate, and business planning, as well as personal injury (WTC claims).
For passport services abroad – Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you