Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports may take up to 18 weeks for routine service and 12 weeks for expedited processing.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport?

Happy couple with passports

How long it takes to get a passport depends on several factors including:

  • the number of applications that Passport Services has to process at the time you apply
  • the location where you apply
  • the type of service you need
  • the method of processing you choose

These factors don't happen in isolation, either. Any combination of these variables can make your passport processing time longer or shorter.

Take a closer look at each one of these will help you determine how they can affect the time it will take you to get a passport.

General Passport Processing Times

The processing times for the Department of State Passport Services are modified according to the number of applications submitted at any given time.

Typical passport processing times are as follows:

  • Routine Passport Service
    • Processing time: 10-12 weeks
    • Additional requirements/fees: none
  • Expedited Passport Service:
    • Processing time: 4-6 weeks
    • Additional requirements/fees: An additional fee and evidence of travel plans are required.
  • Emergency Passport Service: Less than 2 weeks (requires additional fee and submission of documents at a regional passport agency)
    • Processing time: Less than 2 weeks
    • Additional requirements/fees: An additional fee and evidence of travel plans are required. Documents and applications must be hand-delivered to a regional passport agency by the applicant, an authorized third party, or a registered courier service.

It is important to note that the processing times listed above are simply estimates. There are a number of reasons that passport processing may take longer. Some of the factors that can extend the time it takes to process applications include:

  • Missing, incomplete, or incorrect documentation - When this happens, the applicant is informed by mail of the problem and provided with a recommendation to resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved within 90 days, the person will be required to apply again and pay appropriate fees to get a passport.
  • Holiday travel rushes - Summer and winter vacations tend to be the worst
  • Natural disasters - Sudden rushes in relief workers and affected family members can create a passport processing logjam
  • International events - Sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup as well as mega-events like festivals create huge spikes in demand for passports.
  • Inclement weather - When domestic weather worsens, the popularity of international travel rises. However, major storms and weather events can also lead passport processing facilities to temporarily shut down if it is deemed unsafe for workers and applicants to travel.
  • Power outages - Without power, passports cannot be processed. Any time power is knocked out at a passport processing center, particularly for longer stretches, it delays the processing of applications in the queue.
  • Temporary processing center closings - Like all buildings, passport processing centers occasionally need maintenance or remodeling. These closures - particularly for emergency repairs - can create delays in passport processing.

As a rule, when demand for passports is high, so is the amount of time you can be expected to have to wait for yours to be processed and issued.

There have been times in the past when it could take up to 14 weeks or longer to get a passport. As more processing centers opened and more personnel were hired, processing times decreased to where they are today. More often than not, an application is processed in 10-12 weeks. When demand is low, applications are processed more quickly. When demand is high, expect to wait longer.

Places to Get a Passport

The location you submit your passport application can determine how long it takes to get your travel document. Applications that are mailed in either directly or through a passport office can take up to 12 weeks for standard processing or up to 6 weeks if the applicant requests expedited service. Again, processing times are affected by the factors listed above.

United States citizens can apply at a regional agency in order to get a passport faster. Evidence of a departure date within two weeks is required or within four weeks if you also need to obtain a travel visa. Applicants can apply at the regional processing center themselves or they can authorize a qualified passport expediting service to submit their application forms for them. In either case, it is possible to obtain passports the same day that the forms are submitted, if necessary. In an emergency situation, a passport can be secured in just a few hours.

If you need to get a passport in a hurry but cannot visit a regional processing center, the expediter we recommend can help you to get a passport fast.

Types of Passport Services

The time it takes to get a passport renewed is the same time it takes to get a new passport if you only consider processing time.

However, the overall time to get a renewal can be less than getting a new passport when you consider that a passport renewal application can be mailed. Similarly, many requests for minor modifications like a name change or correcting an error on an existing passport can be handled via mail without the need to visit a passport office.

For a new passport, an applicant is required to apply in person. Depending on when an appointment is available at the nearest application acceptance facility, this can add anything from a few days up to several weeks to the total processing time.

Current Passport Application Processing Times

ServiceProcessing Time
Routine ServiceApproximately 10-12 weeks from the time of application.
Expedited ServiceWithin 4 to 6 weeks door-to-door.*
Expedited at AgencyPossibly same day (limited to customers who are traveling internationally in the next 72 hours or 3 business days)

* Applies when the applicant chooses Two-Way Express Delivery.

 

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