If you've been meaning to renew your passport or get a new one, you're not alone. The dysfunction of the past few years has created a backlog of travelers who, because they couldn't go anywhere, weren't thinking much about getting their official paperwork in order.
Well, now that dam has burst, and so many people are eyeing future travel that application processing times are taking longer than they did a few weeks ago.
U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, took to Twitter on Friday morning to let American travelers know the current passport situation.
Spring travelers, I’ve just been alerted that a seasonal increase in passport applications has increased processing times to 8-11 weeks for regular apps and 5-7 weeks for expedited apps. If you have travel plans, please submit your application ASAP. https://t.co/EbiT8eSz4w
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) February 10, 2023
If it has been a while since you've jumped through the passport application hoops, take heart: There's a new digital system for renewals (though not new applications) and last autumn, we tested it. Although the wait time was projected to be 7–10 weeks, we actually got our renewal back in 22 days using the new process.
But now that we're in February, summer is closer and as travelers prepare to take off, seasonal congestion at the State Department has pushed the delay to an estimated 8–11 weeks for a standard application.
Bureaucratic logjams can mess up the best-laid vacation plans, so if you need a passport in 2023, you'd best be starting the process soon. These two links will get you started:
How to Apply for a U.S. Passport or Visa
When to Start a Renewal of a U.S. Passport—and How to Sign Up for Online Renewal