Many of us have been stuck in our little worlds for the past year, and we can’t wait until we get to explore new places. The U.S. State Department currently has a huge backlog of passports (1.5 million) and is warning people to allow them plenty of time.
Standard processing times are currently deferred
Standard passport processing can take up to 18 weeks for renewal and new services. The State Department recommends that citizens start the process approximately 6 months before they travel.
Limited expedited passport service too
For a small inconvenience, you could get your passport on the same day as in the past. You could get your passport by visiting a Passport Office (there are many around the country), waiting in line, and paying a fee for expediting.
The State Department warns that there are very few in-person passport appointments. These appointments must be made within 72 hours. There are no guarantees. It is a huge gamble to book international flights, hotel rooms, or make other travel arrangements.
Standard expedited service is also available for an additional $60, but you should expect to wait 12 weeks even for “rushed” services. Yikes!
It is best to start the passport renewal or application process as soon as possible. You can still be happy if the passport is approved within 6 months.
Get your passport today!
You don’t want to panic. So, locate your passport and make sure it isn’t close to expiration. Many of us may have forgotten that our passport was due for renewal for at least a year.
Here is where things get a bit tricky. The U.S. government doesn’t require you to have 6 months of validity on your passport. Many countries require that your passport has at least three to six months remaining. This is because most countries allow tourists to stay for 3-6 months with a tourist visa. The little cushion helps you avoid stress and red tape if you need to extend your stay.
You may not be allowed to enter certain countries if you don’t have at least six months to go. Some airlines won’t even let you board a plane without your passport. We recommend that you have at most 6 months remaining on your passport.
Many people are reporting right now that they didn’t realize their passport was expiring until they had already bought tickets for their first post-pandemic vacation. Poor planning doesn’t mean you should be taken by surprise.
Limited Customer Support
Another thing to remember. The State Department warns that call centers are currently under heavy taxation and can experience delays in processing. If you call to check on the status, expect long wait times, and staff won’t be able to speed up the process. All signs point to a more pleasant and less stressful experience if you plan six months.
How long does this last?
While the government is currently preparing to meet the needs of U.S. tourists who require passport services, hiring and training take time. It is best to anticipate delays shortly.
We’re curious. Are you planning to travel internationally next year? How is your passport situation? Is it new to international travel, or do you need to renew your passport regularly? What will the passport backlog mean for your travel plans? Leave your comments below. We would love to know if you find this helpful in your travel planning.
If you want to Renew Expired Passport in Houston, then we at Texas Passport Center provide Passport Courier Service. We give services like New Passport, Passport Renewal, Add Extra Passport Pages, Lost or Stolen Passport, and many more. We charge an additional fee to hand carry passport applications to the Passport Agency for people who value their time and do not want to do it themselves. We give our services in Houston and the surrounding regions of Texas.
Texas Passport Center offers all passport services and several passport processing options depending on your situation. Whether it’s your new passport, or you need to renew passport in Texas, our professionals are well versed in the details of the passport application process.