Your international travel plans just became a bit less stressful. The U.S. Department of State just announced that they are shaving two weeks off their passport-processing time.
Routine processing used to take 1o to 13 weeks. You could also pay an additional $60 for expedited processing, which would get you a passport in seven to nine weeks.
But, in a press release issued on Oct. 2, the Department of State has declared that they are shortening passport wait times across the board. Now, routine processing will take eight to 11 weeks. And, if you pay for expedited processing, you can get your passport in five to seven weeks.
However, if you sent in your passport a few weeks ago, this doesn’t apply to you. The shortened processing times will only apply to passports that are received by the Department of State on or after Oct. 2.
Remember, your processing timeline does not start until your application arrives at the Department of State. You must factor in mailing time, which could be much longer than you might think. According to their website, your passport could take up to two weeks to arrive at their location. And, then, once your passport process is completed, it could take up to two weeks for you to receive it in the mail.
In the press release, the Department of State says that the shortened processing time is thanks to their dedicated staff and to innovative solutions that have increased efficiency. They also revealed that they issued a record-breaking number of passports in the last federal fiscal year, issuing 24 million passports between Oct. 2022 and Sept. 2023.
Even with these expedited wait times, it is advised that you always begin the process of securing or renewing your passport as soon as possible. Always check the status of your passport expiration date before booking international travel.
You should also consider the regulations of the country to which you wish to travel.
Some countries require that passports are at least 6 months old, and you may not be able to board the plane if you don’t meet this requirement. This includes countries like Israel, the British Virgin Islands, Jordan, Egypt and many more (click here for a full list).
If you’re waiting on a passport, you can check the status of the processing online. If you have urgent travel (traveling in two weeks or less), you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
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