If Your Passport Is About to Expire, Get in Line Now

Processing times have increased significantly in the last two months, even for expedited services

Traveler at airport holding United States passport in hand
Check that expiration date ASAP.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you have an international trip scheduled for 2023, check your passport expiration date today. Spring and summer are going to be busy for the travel industry, so everyone is prepping now to ensure their paperwork is in order for the coming months. That means that processing times for passport renewals are getting longer, so you’d better hop in line now if you want to get yours back in time. 

Processing times have jumped from six to nine weeks in January to the current wait time of eight to 11 weeks, as reported by Insider. Even if you pay the $60 for expedited services, you still have to wait: instead of the standard three to five weeks, the quicker route will still take five to seven weeks. And these numbers don’t even include delivery times, which will likely tack on several more weeks before the passport actually arrives in your hand.

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Passport backlogs are nothing new — the government has been struggling to keep up with the post-COVID-lockdown demand for the last two years. But supposedly the agency is hiring more staff in 2023 to keep up with the surge, so time will tell if wait times return to normal later this year. 

In 2022, the government slowly started rolling out online passport renewal for qualified applicants. While the latest web application window closed in February, the U.S. State Department should be offering online passport renewal to everyone this year. Even so, Americans still have to be mindful of wait times, whether they’re filling out hard copy paperwork or the digital version.

If your international departure date is less than 11 weeks away, you can apply for the expedited passport renewal service. But whether you have plenty of time or your procrastination is making you sweat, don’t wait until tomorrow to get your passport updated.


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