Al Lawson: Expect Longer Waits for Passport Applications, Renewals

This week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., recommended residents who plan to travel out of the country to expect an 18-week wait time for routine passport and passport renewals, and 12 weeks for expedited passports.

As a result of the global pandemic, all passport agencies closed for a time to implement safety precautions for their staff. Lawson said his office has received an influx of calls and emails from constituents who are distressed that passport delays are disrupting their travel plans.

“As many folks have travel plans this summer, there has been a sharp rise in the number of North Florida-area residents looking for help obtaining their passport quickly,” Lawson said. “Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of State is not currently able to process passport applications at the same rate as before the pandemic. If travelers are experiencing an emergency, such as urgent business travel, funerals, visiting a terminally ill family member, they may be able to schedule an appointment with the passport office. If they are unable to obtain an appointment, I encourage them to contact my office and we may be able to help fulfill eligible emergency requests.”

Routine passport service can take up to 18 weeks from the day a customer submits their application to the day they receive a new passport.  The 18-week timeframe includes up to 12 weeks for application processing and up to six weeks for mailing times on the front and back end. Expedited passport service can take up to 12 weeks from the day a customer submits his or her application to the day they receive a new passport. The 12-week timeframe includes up to six weeks for application processing and up to six weeks for mailing times on the front and back end. The price for an expedited passport is an extra $60 and priority shipping is $17.56 for 1-2 day shipping.

Lawson offered the following recommendations for all travelers:

  • Check expiration dates. Before they book their trip or purchase an airline ticket, they should check the expiration dates of family members’ passports. Children’s passports are valid for five years only.
  • Apply early. Travelers should apply at least six months in advance of their planned departure date.
  • Applicants should use trackable mail to quickly ship the application to us and purchase overnight delivery for us to return the completed passport.
  • Ensure applications are accurate and complete. Any issues with citizenship, ID, fees, or photos could cause delays well beyond the original 18 weeks.

Given the extremely high demand and extremely low availability of appointments, the U.S. Department of State cannot guarantee appointments for all travelers and must continue to prioritize applicants with emergency travel. Residents may schedule an appointment by calling (877) 487-2778. In some cases, they may be asked to travel to Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans or another Passport Agency for an application appointment. These appointments are available in the three days before scheduled travel and are the quickest way to receive a passport. In many cases, travelers may even receive their passport the same day as their appointment.

 

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