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How to easily check your passport application status

Sept. 24, 2020
4 min read
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Your passport is quite literally your key to the world. Without it, you'll be denied entry to overseas countries and you can kiss that dream trip of yours goodbye.

Before your next international trip, whether it's in a few months or a year, it's a good idea to make sure all your ducks are in a row so you don't end up in that situation. If you're planning your first international trip during your time at home during quarantine (check out our suggestions and tips), we know you probably have a bunch of questions, too — namely, how to check the status of your passport.

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Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, passport operations by the Department of State are severely delayed. Since March, expedited passport processing is reserved only for those traveling in the next 72 hours with life-or-death emergencies.

According to the Department of State, "a total of 11 passport agencies and centers are in phase two, and 15 agencies and centers are in phase one of [its] three-phase reopening plan," as of Sept. 8. The Department is currently unable to give real-time updates on when you'll receive your citizenship documents and passport and only says, "Expect delays due to COVID-19" with regard to the timeline for the standard process.

Related: Complete guide to traveling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak

Normally, applying for and receiving a U.S. passport can take anywhere from six to eight weeks. That includes the time it takes to apply for one and receive it via mail. If you need it sooner, and when expedited processing is available to everyone, you usually receive it within two to three weeks, though it will be subject to an additional $60 fee for fast-track service.

Related: TPG beginner's guide to points and miles

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How to check your passport application status online

If you've already applied for a passport and want to check its status, you can access the Online Passport Status System. Once there, enter your last name, date of birth, social security number and a security code.

Keep in mind, though, that usually, it takes anywhere from seven to 10 business days for your application to be trackable online. Currently, the only updates you will see are either "Not Found," which means it is in transit to a passport agency, or "In Process," which means it is with the Department of State and will be reviewed as staff returns in phases.

(Screenshot from the Department of State)

You can also sign up to receive automatic email updates on the status of your passport by entering your email address in the system.

How to check your passport application status via phone

Additionally, you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 if you're hearing-impaired). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, and normally Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST, but Saturdays are currently not listed. It is not open Sundays or federal holidays.

Related: The best travel credit cards of June 2020

How to check your passport application status by email

While you can email the National Passport Information Center at NPIC@state.gov, the agency does not recommend it. Not only will it take the staff at least 24 hours to get back to you, but they can't email you the status of your passport. Instead, they recommend calling or using the aforementioned Online Passport Status System.

With additional reporting by Mimi Wright.

Featured image by (Photo by Spencer Davis/Unsplash)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023