Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Passport Processing Times Reduced October 2023

Also, a record was broken for the issuance of passports.

Both routine service and expedited service for the processing of passport operations by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States has been reduced effective as of Monday, October 2, 2023 — meaning that the time to process a passport has been reduced by two weeks.

Passport Processing Times Reduced October 2023

According to this latest official update from the government agency, the current processing times are as follows:

  • Routine Service — Eight weeks to as many as eleven weeks
  • Expedited Service — Five weeks to as many as seven weeks
  • Expedited at Agency — Must have international travel within 14 calendar days

The new processing times only apply to applications which are received on or after Monday, October 2, 2023. They begin the day an application is received. Keep in mind that the processing times only include the time that your application is at one of the passport agencies or centers. As postal mailing times are not included in processing times, consider that the total time to get your new passport in your possession includes both processing time and mailing time.

Postal mailing times may take a total of up to four weeks, with up to two weeks for:

  • Applications to arrive by mail at a passport agency or passport center
  • You to receive a completed passport in the mail after it is printed

During the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic almost 2.5 years ago, the wait time for a passport was as much as 18 weeks.

“Between October 2022 and September 2023 (the federal fiscal year), the State Department issued more than 24 million passport books and cards, the most ever in our nation’s history”, according to this official press release. “Our dedicated staff have worked countless hours to reduce passport processing times. We are continuously reassessing our operations to maximize efficiencies and are introducing innovations to our customer service and processing models. We are investing in supporting and modernizing our technology, increased staffing levels by ten percent, and have hundreds of additional staff in the hiring pipeline. We remain focused on lowering processing times, and this reduction is an important first step.”

Anyone who is considering future international travel is encouraged to check the validity of his or her passport early and often. Apply well in advance of your potential travel and at least six months ahead of expiration date of the passport.

You may pay for faster delivery and return shipping by choosing one or both of the following shipment options:

  • Delivery to a passport agency or center: Purchase Priority Mail Express from the United States Postal Service for faster shipping of your application. The price for this service varies depending on the area of the country.
  • Return to you: Pay $19.53 for 1-2 day delivery. This means you will receive your passport 1-2 days after it is sent. Include the fee with your passport fee in your check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State for fastest return shipping. Do not submit a return envelope to us with postage pre-paid.

You may receive your passport and the supporting documents submitted with your application in separate mailings. If you are renewing a passport card, it will be sent to you via First Class Mail. 1-2 day delivery services are not used  if you only applied for a passport card.

Final Boarding Call

Consider that the entire time to get your passport processed could still take as long as 15 weeks — or as many as three months — when accounting for the time from mailing the application to receiving the completed passport.

Check the expiration date of your passport as soon as possible. Then, visit the official Internet web site of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States to plan your travel in 2024 with the latest passport guidance and travel information.

If you plan on traveling this year or in early 2024 and you need a new passport or a renewal of your current passport, do not wait: apply for one now.

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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