Americans Facing Long Waits for Passport Renewals

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Long Waits for Passport Renewals

Americans Facing Long Waits for Passport Renewals

Travel demand is quickly getting close to pre-pandemic levels. But Americans looking to travel abroad, have a new problem in their hands, besides the many rules and requirements they need to check. If their passport is expired, betting it renewed could be a headache.

More than 1 million passports are pending in swamped offices across the country. Routine passport service by mail, according to the State Department, can now take up to 18 weeks, compared to six to eight weeks before the pandemic.

Travel was shut down for more than a year, especially international travel. That means that Americans were not paying attention to the expiration dates on their passports. Others are realizing that their passport will expire soon. Even those who tried to renew during the pandemic has to endure long wait times due to less staff and office closures.

The State Department is telling travelers to plan ahead, and said it is continuing to move towards resuming normal operations. Until then, it is urging the public to apply well before any scheduled travel.

Even expedited service, which costs an additional $60 and took anywhere from a few days to three weeks before Covid-19, can now take up to 12 weeks. Americans who require passports more quickly than the current processing times allow must show proof of imminent travel within 72 hours of their appointment.

Appointments are rare and hard to come by as well. People across the country are taking whatever time slot and location they can find. Some are taking long drives or even flights. NYT gives examples of people driving over nine hours to Miami, or flying from Chicago to Seattle.

Let us know if you have renewed your passport recently, or are in the process of doing so.

Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. Received my (non expedited) passport in 18 days. As a member of Global Entry I was able to update my new passport number in my account online weeks later, per my email with CPB there were issues updating account information. I have two copies of updated & saved information from my account if there are future issues.

  2. Sent in 2 renewals on April 1st. Check was cashed in early May. My wife received her passport May 20. I received mine a month later. Not sure why my renewal took longer – because I am a naturalized citizen ? Or it just went to the wrong pile ? And I just received my old cancelled passport back this week.

  3. I sent my passport renewal on July 9 by certified mail. It was received on the 12th. I applied for expedited service yesterday after reading several posts online. I was only one hold for 48 minutes. I really didn’t have to call and be on hold as my friend had emailed the form to request expedited service on Tuesday to me. I wasn’t sure if I could use her form, but the rep told me it is a generic form. I asked the State Dept rep why they didn’t just post the form online and he said, “I don’t know. That’s above my pay grade.” I felt fortunate to get to talk to someone in under an hour.

  4. P2 sent hers in mid-May…received mid-June…check cashed around the same time as reception.
    Just checked online. “ in progress…can take up to 12 weeks to process… then up to 6 wks to be returned door to door. Ugh

  5. Sent mine with expedited service on May 8th using a money order purchased at the post office. Received the new passport on June 15th (5 week turnaround). The old passport was returned in a separate mailing a few weeks later.

    Note that if you have Global Entry, you’ll need to get it updated for the new passport number. This required going in to the GE office at the airport. The CBP website will lead you to believe that you can update the info online if you wait a few weeks, but not so. Getting it updated at the airport only took a few minutes, and no appointment was necessary (at least at DEN).

    • The relevant staffing levels and department morale at the State Department have been facing extraordinary challenges since during the Trump Administration when the government was under the charge of folks hostile to “Obamacare”. And it wasn’t all that pretty before either.

    • Another nonsense trope from another ignorant fool. The government doesn’t run anyone’s healthcare (outside of the Veteran’s Hospital system) even for Medicare — Medicare largely just reimburses your approved healthcare provider. The State Department processes and handles your passports. Medicare didn’t handle your doctor appointments or have anything to do with your healthcare choices — except for paying for most of them.

  6. Sent wife’s normal renewal (not expedited) in late May. Just received new passport yesterday 7/13. Only took about 6 weeks.

  7. I sent my docs in 5/21 got an email 7/10 said in process . Check finally cashed but may be another 12 weeks according to the email.

  8. I am in the process of a renewal, not using expedited option.
    4/28/21 Express Mail delivered to Philadelphia office (with delivery confirmation)
    6/8/21 e-mail confirming passport office received my application on June 8!
    6/8/21 cash checked
    7/14/20 Online Application Status “We’re now reviewing your application and supporting documents. You requested routine service when you applied, which we are currently processing within 12 weeks. Our processing times do not include mailing times, which could add 6 weeks to the door-to-door time.”

    Good thing I’m not in a hurry.


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