As the busy summer travel season approaches, the U.S. Department of State encourages U.S. travelers to assess their passport needs now ahead of any future travel and trips this summer.
Maintaining a valid passport for both adults and children reduces the risk of missing a trip and prepares travelers for last-minute travel opportunities. The Department encourages U.S. citizens to stay prepared by knowing their passport’s expiration date and applying well before travel.
Travelers should plan ahead and apply for their passports early to avoid the stress and extra cost for expedited processing. With timely effort, applicants also avoid the need for last-minute appointments at regional passport agencies, which become increasingly difficult to obtain when demand is high.
Passports are averaging eight to 11 weeks for routine service and five to seven weeks for expedited service, which costs an extra $60, according to the State Department. The State Department warned the estimates only include processing time and do not include mailing time, which may can several more weeks.
Many countries require passports to be valid for at least six months after arrival abroad. In most cases, passengers will not be allowed to board an international flight departing the United States if they do not have the required amount of validity remaining on their passports. We recommend renewing a passport when there is one year of validity remaining.
Travelers who want to apply for a passport must do so by mail. The option to renew online, which started as a pilot program last year, was temporarily paused on Feb. 7, according to the State Department. When it reopens, that program will be available for travelers who are at least 25 years old, their most recent passport was valid for 10 years, and their old passport was issued between nine years ago and 15 years ago. Travelers who renew online can’t currently change their name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth.
While passport processing times are higher than usual, the State Department is not nearly backlogged as they were in 2021 when passport applications took up to 18 weeks to process and in-person appointments were nearly impossible to get.
At that time, the State Department agreed to honor expired passports for Americans who were currently abroad, but stopped honoring those expired passports in July 2022.
For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov and follow @TravelGov on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.