Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

How do I find out what the possible trouble with my passport is?

by William
(Guilderland, NY)

Question: When checking in at Albany International Airport (ALB) last month for a five-day vacation in Grand Cayman, the check in agent at the counter scanned my passport, looked questionably at it, and called over a supervisor. The supervisor looked at it for several minutes and finally gave me my boarding pass. I asked what the problem was, but he did not tell me; however, he said I may have problems traveling in the future. I do not know why he would not tell me.


In coming back from Grand Cayman, I encountered a similar incident going through customs at Charlotte, but this time the customs agent waved me through much faster. Since my wife and I are planning a future cruise to Australia, I do not need any surprises. Thanks for your help.

Answer: There are several reasons that you passport data could have caused the delays. The most common is that your name is the same as another person who is on the Department of Homeland Security's watch list.

The Department of Homeland Security has created the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) for "people who have been denied or delayed airline boarding; have been denied or delayed entry into or exit from the U.S. at a port of entry or border crossing; or have been repeatedly referred to additional (secondary) screening can file an inquiry to seek redress."

To evaluate whether this program would be helpful for you, click the link below.

Should I Use DHS TRIP?

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Mailing delays are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility. Standard service may take between 8 and 11 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 5 to 7 weeks exluding mailing times on the front and back end. Mailing delays may be significant so requesting 1-2-day mailing may greatly help.

Regional passport agencies are offering extremely limited in-person services if you need to travel internationally in the next 72 hours. Those with qualified life-or-death emergencies are prioritized.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 business days).

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment:

Mondays through Fridays 8 AM to 5PM, call ET 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY:1-888-874-7793) Outside of these hours, 202-647-4000

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