Passport Processing Times Right Now (How Long You Will Have to Wait in in 2023)
Looking to apply for a new passport or renew your existing one for an upcoming international trip? It may take a while. Demand is high, which is bad news if you waited until the last minute. While you have options, it could still take many months before your new passport is fully processed and shipped.
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What Are Current Passport Processing Times?
Passport processing times depend on how you applied. Options include Routine, Expedited, and Expedited at an Agency. While anyone can apply or renew using the routine and expedited options, only those traveling within 14 days can complete the process at an agency. Processing times listed are as of April 1, 2023. Times do not include shipping, which can add two to four weeks.
Routine (10 to 13 Weeks)
Routine is the standard option. It does not cost any additional money, but it takes a while. The U.S. Department of State says routine applications currently take 10 to 13 weeks to process. Remember, this does not include the time it takes to mail your application to the processing facility (around two weeks). It also does not include the time it takes to receive your passport in the mail (another two weeks). To be safe, add in an additional four weeks for shipping — 14 to 17 weeks total.
To expedite the shipping process, mail your application using Priority Mail Express from UPSP. Consider also paying the U.S. Department of State $19.53 for 1 to 2-day delivery of your completed passport.
Should you use the routine service? I advise against it for travel within the next 18 weeks. While that may change soon, wait times are too unpredictable to take the chance.
Expedited (7 to 9 Weeks)
Expedited is the quicker option. Unfortunately, it’s not very quick right now. It costs $60 (which may be refundable), but it may be worth it if you are traveling internationally soon. The U.S. Department of State says expedited applications currently take 7 to 9 weeks to process. Again, this estimate does not include mailing times — 11 to 13 weeks in total. Consider paying for expedited mailing both ways to cut weeks off the total time.
Should you use the expedited service? I recommend it if you are traveling within the next 18 weeks. While it may seem like overkill (the total time being 13 weeks if you do not opt for faster mailing options), it is the best way to get your passport faster.
Urgent Travel & Life-or-Death Emergency Service
Those traveling internationally within 14 days may be able to get their passport quicker. You can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 for more information. You should not call if your travel date is more than 14 days away.
Here are options for those who have already filled out their application or renewal.
- Travel in 6-14 Days: The agency processing your application will be told to speed it up.
- Travel in 5 Days or Less: If available, you can schedule an in-personal appointment at an agency.
Here are options for those who have not yet applied or renewed.
- Travel in 14 Days or Less: If available, you can schedule an in-personal appointment at an agency.
Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, agency appointments are hard to come by. Just because you have upcoming travel within 14 days does not mean you will secure an appointment.
Those qualifying for the Life-or-Death service should also call 1-877-487-2778 (or 202-647-4000 after hours, on weekends, and on federal holidays). You must show proof of the qualified death and evidence you will be traveling internationally within three business days. As with the Urgent Travel Service, Life-or-Death Emergency Service appointments at agencies are also hard to come by.
Why Are Passport Wait Times So Long Right Now?
It all comes down to demand. People finally feel comfortable traveling internationally again. That means the U.S. State Department has more passport applications and renewals than it can process. In 2022, it processed 22 million passports, per CBS News. The total number for 2023 should surpass that figure.
Additionally, spring is always a busy time for passports. People want to be ready for summer travel, and March through May is a logical time to apply. Our 2023 Summer Travel Survey shows nearly 85 percent of American adults (nearly 219 million people) intend to travel this year. Nearly 23% of American adults intend to travel internationally this summer. That is a huge pool of people who may need a passport for the first time as well as renewals.
How Can I Check My Passport Application or Renewal Status Online?
Checking your passport application status is easy. Those who applied or renewed in person can check at https://passportstatus.state.gov/. That link is also valid for mail renewals.
Those who renewed online can check their status at https://mytravel.state.gov/.
Can a Third-Party Passport Agency Decrease the Wait Time?
Avoid third-party passport agencies. There is nothing they can do to decrease your processing or total wait time. They simply charge you money to submit your application or renewal using the same methods available to you for free.
Reach Out to Your Local Congressperson
If your travel date is within a few weeks and you still do not have your passport, I recommend reaching out to your local congressperson.
Your local representative or senator can inquire about your application; They may even be able to get it expedited. I recommend following up often after your initial call.
- How to Get a Passport Faster
- How to Take Your Own Passport Photo at Home
- Passport Book vs. Passport Card Differences
Here are the passport processing times as of April 1, 2023.
Routine: 10 to 13 Weeks
Expedited: 7 to 9 Weeks
Here are the total passport wait times, including shipping, as of April 1, 2023.
Routine: 14 to 17 Weeks
Expedited: 11 to 13 Weeks
To cut down on shipping times, mail your application with expedited shipping.
The option to renew online is temporarily unavailable. The online renewal program should return, however.
Potentially. Those who paid the $60 expedited passport fee and did not receive expedited service may be able to get a refund. Submit your claim here.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
Due to record demand, passport processing times are currently several months. Unfortunately, that includes the $60 expedited service. Apply or renew well in advance of your next international trip. Avoid third-party agencies, and keep up-to-date with current processing times. If all else fails, call 1-877-487-2778 within 14 days of international travel if you are still without a passport.
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