US State Department warns of 18-week wait times for passport applications
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Even if you don’t have any international trips on the horizon, now is an excellent time to get out your passport. After all, you’ll need an unexpired passport to travel internationally. And many destinations require that your passport has at least six months validity remaining and space for new entry and exit stamps.
The best time to check your passport’s expiration date is before you need it. After all, wait times for both new and renewal passport applications are currently longer than usual. In a special briefing last week, U.S. Department of State deputy assistant secretary for passport services Rachel Arndt told reporters that the wait time for new and renewal routine passport applications currently ranges from 12 to 18 weeks.
Customers can pay an additional $60 to expedite their application. But Arndt warned that expeditated applications still face wait times of up to 12 weeks. These estimates are from the day you submit your application to the day you receive your new passport. And the estimates include six weeks for mailing times on the front and back end, which may be an overly conservative estimate.
In the briefing, Arndt went on to note:
This means people who submit new passport applications right now will not get their new passport until well into the fall. Last-minute passport appointments are extremely limited. U.S. citizens who wish to travel overseas this summer and do not currently have a passport may need to make alternate travel plans.
I visited one of the U.S. Department of State’s passport agencies to apply for a second U.S. passport back in 2018. It was easy to get a non-emergency urgent travel appointment at the Atlanta passport agency when I did so. But, appointments are much more scarce now. I searched for last-minute passport appointments in the southeastern U.S. while writing this article and failed to find any appointments despite searching six different travel dates.
Arndt noted during the briefing that some third-party appointment booking services are selling passport appointments online. But you’ll want to avoid buying one of these appointments, as the Department of State is working to prevent these bookings. And Arndt said the State Department “may not be able to honor appointments booked via third party.” So, if you need a last-minute passport appointment, you’ll want to search frequently using the Department of State’s online passport appointment system website.
The State Department encourages travelers to check their passports — and their children’s passports — now. The department recommends applying for or renewing passports at least six months ahead of any possible travel. By doing so, you can save yourself unnecessary stress and avoid paying an extra fee to expedite your application. And once you submit your application, remember you can quickly check your passport application status online.
Featured image by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees