Passport Renewal Wait Times are Now Back to Normal
For the past several months, you may have heard warnings that passport renewals were extremely backed up. That was bad news for those trying to plan trips — and even worse news for those who decided to pay for expedited service that was still delayed. However, the State Department has announced that processing times have now returned to pre-pandemic norms.
According to the department’s X account, processing times for routine service are now averaging between six to eight weeks, while expedited service is expected to take two to three weeks. While these timeframes don’t include shipping, they’re still far more manageable than what we’ve seen in recent history.
Funny enough, this news comes as my wife recently experienced the process for herself. In her case, we opted for the standard service — although, when we went to the Post Office, the employee recommended we send it priority mail, which did cost about $10. To our surprise, her new passport was in her hands less than three weeks later! We don’t currently have any international travel planned, but it’s still very nice to now have the option.
As a reminder, even if your passport doesn’t expire for a while, you may want to renew it sooner rather than later. That’s because, depending on your destination, they may require you to have several months of validity left on your passport. For example, France (and, for that matter, the entire Schengen region) requires that American passports be valid for at least three months beyond your planned stay. Meanwhile, other countries may require as much as six months of validity in order to enter. We were grateful to learn that Hong Kong only required one month of validity, meaning that my wife was able to visit in October even though her passport expiration date was fast approaching. By the way, lest you worry you won’t be let back into the United States, citizens are able to reenter as long as their passports haven’t fully expired.
Although we seemingly managed to miss the peak wait times, I do know several people who did have to endure the long passport processing times of the (now) past. Thus, I’m thrilled that the apparent backlog has been sorted out and things are largely back to normal. Still, whether you’re planning international travel or not, it’s always a good idea to check on your expiration and renew well before you need to. In other words, don’t let this positive update lead you to complacency!