Did you apply for a new passport earlier this year? Have you been waiting for months to get your renewed passport? The U.S. State Department says: “Expect significant delays.”
So Where Is My Passport?
Each Thursday the State Department updates its website with backlog statistics for new issue passports and passport renewals. As of the end of July 2020, more than 1 million Americans were waiting for passports. Surprisingly that’s not an unusual number compared to the busiest weeks in a normal year. Before the pandemic, routine passport processing times averaged 6-8 weeks (1-3 weeks for most expedited requests).
Passport operations shut down for the most part in March. Yet staff are returning to agencies and centers in phases one, two and three. Each location will open on a different date based on local conditions. Keep in mind that many major agencies have not yet reached phase one productivity including the Passport Agency offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Tucson and Miami.
Learn more about the passport operations and processing times at certain locations here.
And to check the individual status of your new or renewed passport, go here.
Should I Apply Now for a New Passport or Renew My Expired Passport?
You should wait until government officials give agencies the green light. You can put in an application now, but you will likely experience unpredictable delays. And that means, while you’re waiting, you will be without your citizenship documents such as previous passports and birth and naturalization certificates.
Do You Need an Emergency Passport?
Should you face an emergency life or death situation, select passport offices are open to help you get a passport in 72 hours (3 business days). Eligibility for this fast-track service is limited to people dealing with serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in their immediate families (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling or grandparent). And you’ll need to make an appointment.
The State Department and Centers for Disease Control continue to urge Americans to avoid nonessential international travel. And many countries are currently denying entry to U.S. travelers due to the relatively high COVID-19 infection rates here. If you must travel outside of the United States, you should check the websites of the relevant U.S. embassies or consulates for information on restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information.