10 Things That Can Delay The Passport Application Process
One of the worst things that can happen before a trip out of the
country is to find out that you will not receive your passport on time
due to delays. There are multiple reasons that your passport
application may be held up so it is important to plan ahead to ensure a
delayed passport doesn't ruin your travel plans. Some areas of delay
may be beyond your control; therefore, it is to your advantage to start
working on getting your travel document months before a scheduled
vacation. It is equally important to understand the application process
and follow it to the letter to avoid a user error that will cause
Some of the most common delays are due to a processing center being
either closed or overwhelmed by demand. A government shutdown or major
events like the Olympics can affect the passport process; while these
are infrequent, they can cause huge setbacks that affect you. For
example, think about the number of people who recently traveled to Brazil
for the World Cup; everyone needed passports and visas for Brazil
to go. How many of them needed first time or renewed passports? With so
many people in need at the same time and many waiting until the last
minute, it can greatly affect the prompt delivery of passports.
More commonly, things such as inclement weather, international
crises, and government holidays can cause delays in passport processing
and delivery. Bad weather and natural disasters like hurricanes or
floods can affect an area's passport services. For instance, if your
passport center is in a region that just experienced a blizzard, people
may be unable to leave their homes for days, unable to go to work until
the storm passes. Processing centers can close completely, limit hours
or be too difficult to get to. If you had an appointment that was
canceled, it will have to be rescheduled on an already crowded
calendar. Deliveries will cease until driving conditions are safe.
National holidays, such as Labor Day, add to delays when government
agencies are closed. International crises and large-scale disasters in
foreign countries affect processing times as the number of volunteers
headed to those locations swells. These are all factors that are out of
your control. The only thing you can do is apply well in advance of
your departure date.
Other delays are the consequence of the applicant failing to
understand or comply with parts of the application process. Errors on
the application form, not supplying a social security number, or
submitting unacceptable passport photos
are among avoidable user errors. It is imperative that you follow all passport application guidelines
exactly; if you are confused in any way, read through our passport FAQ
or ask for help from an application acceptance agent
. You can also contact the National Passport Information Center
. If you do not have adequate evidence of citizenship or there is a problem with payment, your passport will also be delayed.
These are the top ten reasons your passport could be delayed but there
are many more. The way to ensure that your passport arrives in time for
travel is to apply with a reasonable amount of lead time. Anticipate
possible problems. For example, check the calendar for holidays, avoid
applying during peak travel times such as summer or near international
events, and collect documents months in advance. Follow the application
guidelines exactly and review all documentation to ensure no mistakes
were made on your end. You can always pay a little more money and get the services of a passport expeditor
who can not only provide you step-by-step application procedures, but
obtain your passport with a fast turnaround. Don't let passport delays
interfere with your travel plans.
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