Passport Processing Resumes As Some Centers Open Up
The U.S. Department of State temporarily halted passport services back in April, with the exception of travelers with a “qualified life-or-death emergency.” Passport centers around the country also closed as the pandemic was at its peak.
Now the Department of State has announced that it has resumed processing U.S. passports as some of its passport agencies and centers around the country have opened up in Phase 1. That’s the first phase in a three phase reopening plan.
The agency estimates a backlog of 1.7 million pending applications. During Phase 1, limited staff are returning to work at these agencies and centers to resume limited processing of applications already received. Applications will be processed on a first in, first out basis, the State Department says. So new applications will still have heavy delays.
Additionally they will continue to prioritize services for customers with life-or-death emergencies. Customers who seek to apply at agencies or centers must have an appointment due to a life-or-death emergency requiring international travel within 72 hours. As in other businesses, customers with appointments must wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and observe strict social distancing.
Customers may still apply at an acceptance facility or renew by mail, but should expect significant delays. Contact your local acceptance facility to confirm if it is open or closed. During Phase 1, the State Department recommends that customers wait to submit new or renewal applications as delays will continue. For more information on current operating status and plans to resume operations at passport agencies and centers, please go to our COVID-19 Update page.
Agencies and Centers Reopening
The Department of State announced 12 passport agencies and centers will be in Phase 1 of the planned three-phase resumption of operations as of June 15, 2020:
- Entering Phase One on Monday, June 15
- Entered Phase One on Thursday, June 11