U.S. Passport Wait Times Are Back to Normal

Get Ready for International Travel

Whether you've always wanted to surf in Australia, walk the streets of downtown Paris, or sip margaritas on a beach in Mexico, as a U.S. citizen, you need a valid passport to travel internationally.

And with vacation options becoming cheaper and more accessible, more people are applying for their passports to take advantage of all-inclusive deals and packages that make traveling abroad easy and affordable. 

If you're one of the millions of Americans without a passport, you might be wondering what you need to do and how long it takes to get one. This article will tell you everything about passport processing times and procedures to get you on a plane en route to an international vacation in no time. 

The Impact of COVID on Passport Processing

The pandemic affected so many aspects of our lives that passport processing wasn't at the top of most people's lists. However, COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on this critical function of the State Department. During the height of the emergency, passport wait times more than doubled, leading to massive delays and a huge backlog that's taken nearly two years to clear. 

What Has the State Department Done?

Thanks to a $50 million allocation to fight the problem, the government has recruited and hired more employees and opened a special satellite office for passport processing. As a result, wait times for visa and passport applications have been reduced to what they were before the pandemic.

The State Department also issued a record number of new passports (24 million) and entry visas (10.4 million) in 2023. 

How Long Does it Take To Get a U.S. Passport Today?

Today, processing a standard passport application takes 6-8 weeks. It's important to note that first-time applicants, minors, or those with lost, stolen, or long-expired passports must apply in person.

Those who are 16 and older and have a passport issued within the last 15 years are also eligible to apply for mail renewal. For an additional $60 fee, you can expedite a routine application to be processed in 2-3 weeks.

Documents You Need to Apply for a U.S. Passport

To apply for a U.S. passport, you need to present the following documents:

  • Standard application form (DS-11)
  • Proof of citizenship (Original or certified birth certificate, a previous passport, a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship)
  • Photo identification (Valid driver's license, a government or military I.D., or a previous U.S. passport)
  • Passport photo (Color, 2 x 2 inches, taken in the last six months)
  • Payment (Fees vary depending on application, typically between $100 and $160)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

It's never been easier to be an international jet-setter. With an all-inclusive international vacation package, you'll only have to worry about enjoying yourself and looking good in pictures. 

From last minute vacation package deals in EuropeAsia, or the Caribbean to bucket-list holidays that take you to every corner of the globe, the world can become your oyster with a valid U.S. passport.

A life of international intrigue, expanding horizons, new experiences, and priceless memories are just a little blue book away. After that, the only question will be: what's first on your list of international destinations?

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