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U.S. State Department Is Warning Travelers About Long Wait Times For Passports

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Tourists must consider that new passports processing times can take up to 11 weeks and that many countries require 6 months of passport validity

Now that many Americans are resuming their international travel plans and it is expected to see a high peak during summer, the U.S State Department shared relevant information for travelers to bear in mind.

U.S. authorities are warning about the processing time for routine passports—which could take up to 11 weeks— and advised travelers to take precautions:  “We urge U.S. citizens considering international travel to check their passport expiration date early and if renewal is needed, to submit applications as far ahead of their travel dates as possible.”

Besides checking passport expiration dates prior to their international travel, U.S. citizens must also check if they will need a  visa to enter the country they want to visit and if they allow passports about to expire. US authorities reminded travelers that many countries require 6 months of passport validity before entering their territory.

Now that health measures have been eased for travel and many countries have even removed all COVID-19 restrictions, more travelers feel the urge to explore the world.

However, they must not forget that pre-pandemic rules still remain, and that valid passports—and sometimes visas— are required to visit beautiful Caribbean beaches, explore fascinating destinations in Europe, or experience unique adventures in Asia

What You Must Know About US Passports

American travelers must consider bureaucratic procedures and international rules before planning an international trip. Before getting a new one or renewing a US-issued passport, US citizens must fill out forms, request appointments, and wait for weeks in order to get the official document. 

Requirements and fees vary depending on each citizen, there are different factors such as age, prior passports, and location that might change or affect the procedure. Those wanting to renew or get a new passport should visit the US Department of State’s Travel section to learn more, but these are the main considerations:

  • Processing times do not factor in mailing times, they begin the day authorities receive your application at a passport agency or center.
  • Routine processing takes 8 to 11 weeks.
  • Expedite processing costs $60 and takes 5 to 7 weeks.
  • New passport books cost $130, fees may vary depending on each candidate. Travelers can estimate the cost using the Department of State fee calculator.  
  • If the passport expires within one year, authorities recommend renewing it by mail
  • Those with urgent travels, within five days or with life or death emergencies can require an appointment at one of the official regional agencies. They will have to call 877-487-2778 to book a meeting and must provide proof of travel emergency.
  • Travelers must also consider that visa processing may take longer.

During April and May 2022, the US government will be hosting special passport fairs across the US to help citizens apply for passports. In May, the fairs will take place in California, New Jersey, and Florida, some fairs don’t require appointments.

International Travel Recommendations

In alignment with other US institutions, the US State Department also recommends travelers to follow international Travel Advisories and the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A few days ago, the CDC removed all countries from its “Level 4: Do Not Travel” list. Great news, considering that during the pandemic over 100 countries were categorized in this list, but from now on the agency will only use this level for “special circumstances.”

Travelers can write the name of the country they want to visit in the Department of State’s Travel Advisory section for general recommendations and the CDC Travel section for COVID-19 and health-related recommendations.

To guarantee safe travel, tourists can also check the country page statements created by the US government and visit the local US Embassy pages where up-to-date and valuable information is provided.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories



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James II

Friday 29th of April 2022

Actually my recent new passport took all of 4 weeks, expedited of course.

Dennis

Friday 29th of April 2022

Of course there is ,they don't want us to go anywere they can't control us.

D

Friday 29th of April 2022

@Dennis,

Take off the tin foil hat. I called and made an appointment with the State Department, no waiting time when I called, and they got me a same day appointment at my local passport center. People need to be proactive.