Passport processes were one of the first things “to go” when the Novel 2019 Coronavirus pandemic began. The program was shut down and since then, the only way a U.S. citizen could get a passport was if it were a “life or death” situation.
At long last, the U.S. Department of State finally announced that the processing of passports will gradually resume this summer.
Since the shutdown in March, they’ve approached a backlog of nearly two million passports, both new applications and renewals, that need to be processed. On top of that, they receive another 9,000 applications every day. There’ve been stories of trying to get one’s Congressman involved, and even the ASTA contacting the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in an appeal to begin processing again.
And now, finally, it will. But if you’re waiting, I hope you’re not in too much of a hurry.
The Dep’t of State said that processing will begin this summer, and they plan to gradually reopen in three phases:
- Phase 1 will begin processing the backlog of passports and will include a limited number of employees who will focus on life-or-death emergencies
- Phase 2 will have the majority of employees coming back to work to process applications on a “first come, first served” basis
- Phase 3 will have all remaining employees returning to work, and then the agency will begin to once again offer expedited processing.
Each passport agency and center will open on a different date based on local conditions, and they will follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for safe reopening.
The State Department is asking for patience as employees gradually resume normal operations and address coronavirus-related processing delays, which includes handling the backlog of renewals and applications sent in since March.
“We are committed to working as hard as we can to process applications as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for us to do so,” the agency said.
What is that I see? Could it be the light at the end of the tunnel?
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary