Passport Wait Times Are High
Passport Wait Times Are High
If you have international travel coming up, don’t delay. Passport Wait Times Are Higher Than Ever for new and renewed passports as the State Department struggles to keep up with a surge in demand.
Last year, the U.S. State Department processed nearly 22 million passports, a record number that’s more than at any point since tallying began in 1974. That trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2023, especially as the busy spring and summer travel season is looming.
U.S. travelers looking to renew or obtain their passport for the first time can expect longer wait times. As of March 24, the standard processing period is now 10 to 13 weeks, according to the latest update from the State Department. Between February 6 and March 23, it had been 8 to 11 weeks, and prior to February 6, the standard processing time was 6 to 9 weeks.
The processing time for expedited passports has also increased and is now 7 to 9 weeks, up from the 3 to 5 weeks it had been as recently as January. What’s worse is the processing times could still go up (hopefully, they will eventually drop back down..
“We anticipate making additional changes to our processing times later this spring or early summer,” the State Department reports in its latest update. “We are monitoring record-high demand for passports, and project to see that demand continue to increase through the spring and remain high throughout the summer.”
Processing time as of March 2023
|Routine Time||10 to 13 Weeks|
|Expedited||7 to 9 Weeks|
|Expedited at Agency||Must have international travel within 14 calendar days|
Call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment.
According to the State Department, demand for passports is generally highest from late winter into summer. “We encourage you to plan ahead and apply during our slower season from October through December when processing times are generally faster,” the agency advises.
The cost of passport renewal or a new application for adults is $130. And while it’s possible to upgrade a passport application from routine processing to expedited processing, the additional fee is $60 (for a total of $190 for expedited service.
The State Department notes that processing times begin the day the application is received at a passport agency or center, not the day it is mailed or when the application is submitted. The actual mailing times “may add several weeks on to the door-to-door time it takes to receive your passport,” according to the federal agency.
Passport applicants can choose to pay a one-to-two-day delivery fee, at a cost of $19.53, to receive expedited delivery of an issued passport from a processing center. Note that this is in addition to the $60 expedited processing fee cited above.
If U.S. residents have urgent international travel plans within 14 calendar days or have a life-or-death emergency and must travel within 3 business days, the State Department also offers an appointment-based service at 26 regional passport agencies. To make an appointment, applicants must call 1-877-487-2778. Walk-ins are not accepted.
Currently, renewing a U.S. passport can only occur in person or by mail. While an online renewal option became temporarily available in 2022, the pilot program was paused in February and is not expected to restart until later in 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your status will display what our processing times were on the day it is received, and the application is entered into the system, or the day you pay to upgrade to expedited services.
Yes. You may choose one or both of the following shipment options:
Delivery to local office: Purchase Priority Mail Express from the United States Postal Service for faster shipping of your application. The price for this service varies depending on the area of the country.
Return to you: Pay $19.53 for 1-2 day delivery. This means you will receive your passport 1-2 days after we send it. Include the fee with your passport fee in your check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State for fastest return shipping. Do not submit a return envelope to us with postage pre-paid.
You may receive your passport and the supporting documents submitted with your application in separate mailings. If you are renewing a passport card, they will send it to you via First Class Mail. They do not use 1-2 day delivery services if you only applied for a passport card.
Go to your MyTravelGov account or check your email for your application status.
The State Department anticipates making additional changes to their processing times later this spring or early summer. As they are monitoring record-high demand for passports, and project to see that demand continues to increase through the spring and remain high throughout the summer. Updates will be provided on their website if and when changes to processing times occur.
Processing times are a range, and you may receive your completed passport on a different date than your family member or friend who applied at the same time as you.
This page provides information about passport photos if you are applying in person or renewing by mail. If you are renewing online, visit our Uploading a Digital Photo page.
- Photo Basics
- Submit one color photo, taken in last 6 months.
- Use a clear image of your face. Do not use filters commonly used on social media.
- Have someone else take your photo. No selfies.
- Take off your eyeglasses for your photo.
- Use a white or off-white background without shadows, texture, or lines.
Use the Photo Tool to crop your photo so it’s the right size. Compare your photo with examples of good photos.
Note: this tool is intended for cropping your photo only when you are applying in person or by mail. After you apply, a U.S. Department of State employee will review your photo and decide if we can accept your photo. If you are renewing your passport online, see Uploading a Digital Passport Photo.
Shadows and Lighting
Size and Position
Resolution, Print Size, and Quality
Digital Alterations and Retouching
Pose and Expression