The time that U.S. citizens have had to wait for their passports to arrive has been crazy long for close to 2 years. Obviously, COVID had some play in that, since processing offices were closed for months on end. But even after they reopened and eventually caught up with the backlog, wait times have still been months, instead of just a couple of weeks.
The last time we reported on passport wait times, about 2 months ago, the State Department’s website said it could take upwards of 18 weeks from the day an application was submitted to the day a new passport is received. The 18-week time frame includes up to 12 weeks for processing and a total of 5 to 6 weeks for mailing on both ends of the process. Expedited service was upwards of 12 weeks.
Late last week, the State Department updated their wait times. They now say:
“As of October 29, routine processing is 8 to 11 weeks and expedite processing (for an additional $60) is 5 to 7 weeks.”
Wow, that’s QUITE a decrease, huh? But before anyone starts jumping for joy, they included the following caveats:
Passport Services Available Now
What to Expect:
- As of October 29, routine processing is 8 to 11 weeks and expedite processing (for an additional $60) is 5 to 7 weeks.
- Our processing times begin the day we receive your application at a passport agency or center, not the day you mail your application or apply for a passport at a local acceptance facility.
- We are no longer using door-to-door timeframes to describe routine and expedited service.
- Mail times vary across the country. Plan ahead and apply early.
So September’s 18-week wait included mail delivery in each direction, but they’re now no longer including the time it takes for the post office to get it to and from.
Let’s do the math on that…
When they included the P.O. time into the mix, they said to expect upwards of 6 weeks for mailing times on the front and back ends. And their wait times, without the time at the P.O., have decreased by 7 weeks. So they’ve actually only decreased their times by a week.
Without expedited service, we can still officially expect to take upwards of 4 months to get our passports. Great.
Our friends at Passport Waiting Time, an independent website that uses crowdsourcing (they have no link with U.S State Dep’t), recently gave these as the current waiting times:
So 60.06 days (8.5 weeks) for an adult’s first passport, 54.19 days (7.5 weeks) for an adult renewal, 39.66 days (5.5 weeks) for a child’s first passport and 27.29 days (just shy 4 weeks) for expedited service.
Not quite as bad as the “official” times. But if you keep in mind that in June, those times were roughly half (32.51, 32.04, 26.94 and 15.53 days, respectively), it’s still a really long wait.
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