Do you need to get or renew a passport for an upcoming trip or cruise? The U.S. State Department of State just issued an update and passport applications are now taking much longer than normal to process.
Mail delays are impacting processing times for passport applications. Routine service can now take up to 18 weeks from the day when an application is submitted. This 18 week timeframe includes up to six weeks for mailing time and 12 weeks for processing.
This 18 week timeframe is up from the normal processing time of 10-12 weeks from earlier this month.
For those who want to have their passport application expedited, it can still take 12 weeks from the time you submit your application until the time you receive your passport according to the State Department. This service costs an extra $60 and cuts the processing time in half.
The U.S. Department of State is also recommending that you pay an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery of your completed passport.
The longer processing times are likely due to many countries around the world now opening up for tourists.
In 2020, the number of U.S passports issued was around half of those issued in the previous three years. The U.S. State Department is now overwhelmed with demand for passports leading to longer processing times.
If you need to apply or renew a passport for a trip this year, you should probably get started on sooner, rather than later, so you can receive it in time.
If you are taking a closed-looped cruise (starts and ends in the same U.S. port) you do not need a passport, although it is highly recommended that you travel with one.