Did The U.S. State Department Just Triple How Long It Takes To Get A Passport?

It’s been well documented that the completion of some of the U.S. government’s responsibilities has slowed considerably in the past couple of years, due to the current regime’s understaffed government agencies.

It’s difficult to get things done, especially big things, when so much of the government’s staff are only “acting” heads. And when you move government employees around from one place to another, it causes its own headaches. Right now, for example, the Global Entry enrollment center at LAX has closed its doors indefinitely so its Customs and Border Patrol workers can work on (*cough*) “the humanitarian and security crisis on our southwest border,” an agency representative said.

So when we saw this tweet a couple of days ago, we figured it was just more of the same slowdown SNAFU. Or is it?

I’m woman enough to admit that I didn’t know who Dave Temkin was, but I felt better when Joe said he wasn’t sure who he was either ;-). But the guy had that check mark next to his Twitter handle, so I figured he had to have been a “somebody.” Turns out he’s the Vice President of Networks (Content, Delivery, Studio and Infrastructure) at Netflix. So there you go. And, ummmm…yay, Stranger Things!

Side note – I like the guy. In checking out his other tweets, I found this one:

So apparently he has good taste in hotels and refuses to get #bonvoyed anymore ;-). But back to the topic on hand…

So yeah – the email he got said that expedited service he requested (he was getting a renewal) would take 6-8 weeks. I checked and as of this writing, the U.S. State Department’s website says 6-8 weeks for routine passports and 2-3 weeks for expedited ones, which is the same as it’s been for quite a while.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 1.20.40 AMMeanwhile, the good people Passport Waiting Time, that reports the average of how long it takes for U.S. citizens to get their passports (they use crowd sourced information), posted the following tweet on June 28th:

And suggested even more recently (July 15th)  on their website that the current waiting time for a “first time” adult passport is 22 days and a renewal is 18 days. I would think expedited service would be even less than that, no?

So what’s up with all that?

  • Did the State Department change how long it takes to process a(n expedited) passport and just not update its website yet?
  • Did they make a mistake in their email to Temkin?

I guess we just don’t know at this point. But I think I might tweet Dave Temkin in a few weeks and see if I can learn if/when he gets his passport, and go from there. 😉

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

13 thoughts on “Did The U.S. State Department Just Triple How Long It Takes To Get A Passport?”

  1. Thank goodness I renewed mine and received my new passport next month. I paid extra for the expedited service which only took 2 weeks, 17 days for the passport card to come in the mail later.
    I’m so glad I don’t have to do that again for another 10 years.

    1. I hear ya. We’re about halfway through our cycle, so we still have several years to go. Hopefully by that point the government will be on a more even keel.

  2. I applied for Global Entry renewal over a month ago for me and my wife. I went online to see what they decided, but all I’m getting is crickets chirping.

    1. One of the replies to the guy’s tweet was someone waiting forever and a day for a Global Entry application to go through. They seem to be taking longer in general, but TBH, GE is less important than getting a passport so I could see how that could happen, considering the slowdown in getting things done in the past coupla years.

    1. Ugh, that’s awful. But yeah. passports are obviously taking priority over GE, since you need for former to travel, but the latter is just for convenience. Still sucks, though…

  3. Temkin is correct that State now charges the expedite fee for sort of assuring that a correctly-filed renewal or new passport application gets fulfilled within 6-8 weeks for that fee. Previously, the government wasn’t trying to squeeze expedite fee money for 6-8 week turnaround times. Now it is.

    The Trump Administration seems to have a habit of trying to crack down on service delivery times to US citizens in a bid to ramp up pressure on Congress to write the Trump Administration bigger and more blank checks for the “crises” which the Trump Administration makes or makes way worse.

    1. Frankly, I wouldn’t put it past them. But if that’s the case, they need to update their website so it’s correct.

      1. State has updated the website noting to pay an expedite fee even for for 6-8 week turns on passport applications.

        I was expecting this kind of government shenanigan from the Trump/Pence/Pompeo Admin way and knew it was headed that way already, but I didn’t know State had already updated the website to reflect that the expedite fee was also applicable to wanting 6-8 week turns for sure. But now I can confirm that the website’s chart is indeed explicitly reflective of expedite fee acceptance for 6-8 week passport turns too.

      1. It may not be updated in the way some may anticipate, as those times may be either current average or expected processing times. Most routine passport applications have been fulfilled this year within 6-8 weeks, even without the expedite fee.

        There are a lot of government website shenanigans going on as of late, with definitions and calculations even being adjusted on the fly in such a way as to undermine the ability to compare properly. I’m not sure if that’s applicable this time with passport processing times, but the state of affairs is that skepticism is needed more now than even before.

        I am not sure if it’s still the case, but I know that expedite fees weren’t applicable when applying for a passport at US embassies/consulates — even as the passports would be processed and delivered back within the advertised times for expedited service.

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