Planning on traveling abroad this year? Get your paperwork together to apply for your US Passport now. Yes, there have been backlogs at the US Passport processing centers the last few years (even when people weren't traveling) but what mess is causing the log jam now?

Will you be able to even get a US Passport within 6 months? And for those who need to renew their passport, should you do it early, knowing some countries require you to have at least 6 months of time before your Passport expires to enter and stay in their country?

What is causing the current log jam at the US Passport Processing Center?

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash
Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

According to the US Department of State (the agency that processes Passports), the current time for just processing and not mailing is 10 to 13 weeks from the time that they get your paperwork. Then once your US Passport has been completed, it can take up to another two weeks for it to actually get in the mail. Then from the time it's mailed, it can take up to 10 days to reach you. Did you do that math quickly? You could be looking at a 4 to 5-month wait.

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READ MORE: 5 Great Reasons to Get a Passport

Can you get a new US Passport any sooner? Or quicker?

Passport and Airline Ticket on Euros

Yes, in theory. If you are in a rush, you have the option to pay extra for what they call expedited service, which will cost you an additional $60 and take (as stated on their website) 7-9 weeks without the mailing time.

READ MORE: Should You Use a Special Service to Get Your Passport? 

If you need to leave the country sooner, you can make an appointment at one of the few Passport offices across the United States, the closest ones are in New York City, Buffalo NY, Boston MA, Portsmouth NH, and Stamford CT.

Why is it taking so long to get a Passport in 2023?

It is taking so long because of three reasons:

  1. There are less people processing the Passports, because of a worker shortage.
  2. There is a tremendous amount of people who are applying for them, up a huge percentage from the same time last year.
  3. The dollar is being welcomed in other countries, making it almost less expensive for people to travel outside of the US than across the country.

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