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U.S. Passports Are Taking Longer To Process, State Department Says

By Parker Diakite

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If you have applied for a new passport or are renewing an old one, you may find that processing times are taking longer than usual.

Before May 31, processing times for a passport took on average four to six weeks from the time you submitted an application.

During peak season for passport applications, which runs from January to August, processing times have increased to six to eight weeks.

According to the Washington Post, more than 21 million passports and passport cards were issued between 2017 and 2018. In the fiscal year 2018, 137.5 million citizens had valid passports, representing a growth of almost 100 percent over the past decade.

The Department of State is anticipating an increase in 2019, with an estimated 18.6 million passport applications.

“To address high passport workload levels this summer, the Department is leveraging all available resources to ensure processing times do not rise further and they return to lower levels by September,” a Department of State spokesperson told the Washington Post.

Leveraging includes temporarily assigning employees to assist with increased demands, setting up two satellite passport units with employees from other parts of the department, and mandatory overtime.

This means that those of you who are planning on applying for or renewing a passport this summer should knock it off your to-do-list to avoid any interruptions with your trip.

If you’re on a tight deadline, expedited processing is still available for an additional $60 dollars.  You can expect to get your passport in two to three weeks instead.

For an even faster turnaround, a visit to a passport agency center is required. 

Most countries require a few a blank pages in the back of your passport and your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates to avoid being denied entry at your destination.

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