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U.S. Passport Processing Times Drop Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Dec 21, 2023

Asian dad and daughter holding amercian passports with pride. Immigration citizenship

Good news for travelers: U.S. passport processing times have significantly decreased, reaching their fastest since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This improvement means a quicker route to international travel for U.S. passport holders.

As of December 18, 2023, the new processing times for passports are as follows:

  • Routine Service: Now takes 6-8 weeks, down from the previous 7-10 weeks.
  • Expedited Service: Reduced to 2-3 weeks from the earlier 3-5 weeks. Note that this service includes an additional $60 fee.

This efficiency in processing passports is largely due to the dedicated efforts of passport agency staff who have put in extra work hours to address the fluctuating demand for passports. Notably, from October 2022 to September 2023, an unprecedented 24 million passports were issued in the U.S. It’s important to note that passport processing times regularly change throughout the year in response to varying demand. Typically, the period from late winter to summer sees a higher demand for passports. To benefit from potentially faster processing times, the State Department recommends applying during the slower season, which generally spans from October to December. This planning ahead can lead to a more streamlined passport application experience.

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The faster processing times are beneficial for:

  • People planning last-minute trips, as they can now get their passports more quickly.
  • Those looking to visit dream destinations without long waits for passports.
  • Business travelers needing to travel internationally on short notice.

It’s important to remember that these processing times do not include mailing time, so plan accordingly when booking travel.

Applying for a Passport

  • The State Department’s website provides clear instructions and resources for applying for a passport.
  • The online passport status system allows you to track your application and see estimated completion times.

For urgent travel needs, you can opt for expedited service to ensure your passport arrives in time. The “Expedited at Agency” service is available for urgent international travel within 14 days.

This improvement in passport processing is a positive change for travelers in the post-pandemic era, making it easier to plan and go on international trips. It’s a great time to start planning your next adventure, and don’t forget to consider travel insurance for your international trips.

Learn more about how to apply for a U.S. passport in Boundless’ guide.

Boundless helps you build a tailored visa plan for every step of the process, from forms to your immigration interview.