Why You Should Renew Your Passport Right Away?

Passport processing times have reverted to pre-pandemic levels, providing travelers with a sigh of relief. The U.S. Department of State has announced that routine service now takes six to eight weeks, while expedited service takes two to three weeks, marking a return to the “pre-pandemic norm.”

Historical Perspective

During the peak of the pandemic, passport processing times extended up to 18 weeks, causing significant delays for travelers. However, as the year progressed, processing times gradually improved, with wait times reducing to eight to 11 weeks in October and seven to 10 weeks in November.

Increased Demand and Response

The State Department attributes the longer processing times to an unprecedented surge in demand for passports. In response to this heightened demand, the Department issued over 24 million passport books and cards from October 2022 to September 2023, marking a historic high.

Current Recommendations

While processing times have decreased, the State Department advises travelers to apply for passports well in advance of their planned international travel to mitigate any potential last-minute issues. Travelers can apply for passports in person or by mail and monitor the status of their application through email updates.

Special Passport Acceptance Fairs

To assist new passport applicants, the State Department has introduced Special Passport Acceptance Fairs held in public spaces like libraries, recreation centers, and city administrative offices. These fairs aim to streamline the application process and offer guidance to applicants.

Online Passport Renewal Pilot Program

While a pilot program for online passport renewal was introduced last year, it is currently paused, according to the State Department. The program aimed to provide a convenient and efficient option for passport renewal but is currently not operational.

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