US passport processing times drop to pre-pandemic levels


Good news for travelers: U.S. passport processing times have decreased significantly, reaching their fastest level since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This improvement means a faster route to international travel for U.S. passport holders.

Since December 18, 2023, the new passport processing times are as follows:

  • Routine Service: Now takes 6-8 weeks, compared to the previous 7-10 weeks.
  • Expedited Service: Reduced to 2-3 weeks from the previous 3-5 weeks. Note that this service includes an additional fee of $60.

This efficiency in passport processing is largely due to the dedicated efforts of passport agency staff, who have devoted additional working hours to meet the fluctuating demand for passports. Notably, from October 2022 to September 2023, an unprecedented 24 million passports were issued in the United States. It is important to note that passport processing times change regularly throughout the year in response to varying demand. Typically, demand for passports is highest between late winter and summer. To benefit from potentially faster processing times, the Department of State recommends applying during the slowest season, which is typically October through December. This planning ahead can lead to a more streamlined passport application experience.

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Faster processing times are beneficial for:

  • People planning last minute trips because they can now get their passports faster.
  • Those looking to visit dream destinations without waiting long to get their passport.
  • Business travelers who need to travel abroad at short notice.

It’s important to remember that these processing times do not include mailing time, so plan accordingly when booking travel.

Apply for a passport

  • The Department of State’s website provides clear instructions and resources for applying for a passport.
  • The online passport status system allows you to track your application and see estimated processing times.

For urgent travel needs, you can opt for an expedited service to ensure your passport arrives on time. The Expedited at Agency service is available for urgent international travel within 14 days.

This improved passport processing is a positive change for travelers in the post-pandemic era, making international travel and planning easier. Now is the perfect time to start planning your next adventure and don’t forget to consider travel insurance for your international trips.

Learn more about how to apply for a U.S. passport by The limitless guide.

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