If you are looking to get a passport or renew a passport, you can expect long delays right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To increase safety measures, passport services and agencies moved to restricted services in March 2020. As conditions begin to improve and the US begins to open up, passport services will resume in a phased re-opening plan. Most passport agencies/centers are still in phase 1 of their 3 phase re-opening plan. As of early August, only 6 passport agencies/centers were in phase 2 of their re-opening plan.
The US Department of State has temporarily suspended expedited passport processing and restricted in person service to cases only involving life-or-death emergencies. Unless you have a life-or-death emergency, you will experience very long delays receiving your passport until the country is back up and running.
At present, the US Passport office is taking about 4 – 7 months to process your passport applications. If you are in no rush to receive your passport, you can submit your passport application by mail by following the steps on the US Department of State’s website here.
The US Passport office will not start processing passports on an expedited basis until their offices are operating under their phase 3 rules. This will likely not happen until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Once they are able to process applications on an expedited basis, you can use a passport service to assist in getting your application processed in a few days. We highly recommend working with Swift Passport & Visa Services regarding your passport. You can reach their office and find their contact details on their website here. Swift can also assist with basic passport questions, as well as visa services.
Below are our top 3 reminders regarding passports and passport validity to keep in mind:
- Passports must be valid for at least 6 months past your return date of travel to the US. Lets say you are traveling to Europe from November 5 – 15, 2020, then your passport must be valid until at least May 15, 2021! Otherwise, you may have trouble leaving the country or getting back into the country.
- As of right now, expedited passport services are NOT POSSIBLE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you have a life threatening emergency.
- If you do have travel plans in early 2021, please check your passport and make sure it is valid for at least 6 months past your return date of travel to the US. If not, start processing your passport application as soon as possible!
We are all looking forward to traveling again once Covid is gone! Just make sure that your passport is ready to travel again once you are!!