After a year of staying home, millions of Americans are eager to travel.
While some people hope to leave the country, the U.S. State Department reports a backlog in passport applications. Between 1.5 and 2 million applications are pending.
The current wait time for a new passport or a passport renewal is 12 to 18 weeks.
“One is that we’re facing COVID related challenges still at every stage of our process,” said Dan Alessandrini, Director of Program Management, Passport Services with the U.S. State Department. “The second is that there’s pent-up demand from customers that delayed applying during the height of the pandemic in 2020 that shifted into this year, and the third is the summer is always our seasonal peak.”
Alessandrini said they recommend that people renew their passports by mail right now as a safe, contactless option right now. He said they are accepting appointments at their agencies and centers for “life and death emergencies and extremely limited appointments for non-life and death travel.”