Our biggest tip: apply much earlier than you think you need to
With so much of the U.S. traveling abroad this summer and beyond, passport processing times have been the longest we’ve ever seen. In 2022, the State Department issued nearly 22 million passports, the most ever, and 2023 will likely top that. The U.S. Department of State quotes processing times of 10-13 weeks for routine applications and 7-9 weeks for expedited applications (which costs an additional $60 fee). However, many are waiting months longer than this, causing additional stress and putting upcoming travel in jeopardy.
Further complicating this issue is the fact that children under 16, whether applying for the first time or thereafter, must apply in person, and passport acceptance appointments have been extremely hard to come by in recent months. To combat this issue, the State Department has rolled out a number of special passport acceptance fairs around the country that are taking place at post offices, libraries, and local government offices. Some fairs require appointments so be sure to check the details before you show up.
These passport fairs are strictly for anyone using Form DS-11 to apply, which includes the following groups:
- kids under 16 years old
- first-time passport applicants
- people whose most recent passport was either issued more than 15 years ago or when they were under 16
- people whose passport was stolen, lost, or damaged
Passport acceptance facilities only offer routine and expedited service. If you need a passport for urgent travel, make an appointment at one of our passport agencies or centers. If you are down to the wire and require additional assistance, many people suggest reaching out to your state representatives for help with expediting your passport. Some people also choose to engage the assistance of a concierge service like ItsEasy Passports and Visa to help expedite the process (for an additional fee).
Some may recall that last summer the State Department rolled out a pilot program for people who were interested in renewing their passports online. This program has since been halted for fine-tuning but we hope to see it return in the future.