The Department of State is committed to providing the best possible service for our passport customers. We encourage all Americans to check their passport expiration date before making any definitive plans for international travel, and to take action to renew their passport well in advance of international travel this year. This is especially important as we approach what is expected to be our busiest summer travel season on record.
Our passport processing times are currently 8-11 weeks for routine processing and 5-7 weeks for expedited processing, which costs an additional $60 per application. These processing times fluctuate throughout the year depending on demand and we anticipate that they will rise, especially as we approach the busier travel season. Processing times begin when we receive an application and do not include delivery times.
As more Americans are traveling internationally again, we are directing resources to meet the unprecedented demand seen so far in 2023. We are on track to set the record for the highest demand year ever, far surpassing volumes seen during previous surges in demand in 2007 and 2017. During some weeks this winter, the Department received more than 500,000 applications, the highest number ever for this time of year, exceeding our official projections.
We are addressing the increased workload through a number of efforts. We are aggressively recruiting and hiring across our passport agencies and centers. Our passport team members nationwide contribute tens of thousands of hours of overtime a month to issue the millions of passports sought by traveling Americans. We have opened a satellite office to help process the large number of applications we are receiving.
We understand some customers are facing extended wait times when calling the National Passport Information Center and we are taking steps to improve the telephone experience. We encourage customers who have questions about how to apply or the status of their passport application to visit our website, travel.state.gov, which has extensive information and allows customers to check the status of their passport application and sign up for updates via email.
We are committed to transparency and will continue to provide regular updates about passport processing times, and to encourage Americans to apply for their passport well in advance of any planned international travel to avoid last-minute issues. We also encourage all U.S. citizens traveling overseas to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.state.gov) so they can receive important messages about their destinations directly, including timely Alerts and updates to Travel Advisories, and to enable us to assist in an emergency.
Official news published at https://www.state.gov/important-updates-on-passport-processing/
originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS