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Need a New U.S. Passport? The Wait Time Is up to 3 Months Right Now

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Passport agency services are still somewhat scaled back.

Photo by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Passport agency services are still somewhat scaled back.

U.S. passport agencies have picked up the pace on processing passports, but they are still not at prepandemic speed.

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The current processing time for U.S. passports is 10 to 12 weeks (for a $60 fee), according to an April 7 update from the U.S. State Department. If you need a passport sooner than that, you can pay an additional $60 (or $120 total) for expedited service to get it within 4 to 6 weeks.

“Because of increases in COVID-19 cases and changing local health conditions, agencies and centers are offering extremely limited in-person services,” the State Department advised, adding that those who need to travel internationally in the near future should apply early for their passport.

Prior to the pandemic, the standard processing time for passports was 6 to 8 weeks. But 10 to 12 weeks is still an improvement over last year when the State Department advised applicants to expect “several months” of delays and were prioritizing passports for life-or-death emergencies.

How to apply for a new passport

You can renew your passport by mail, and can begin the process online, as long as you are in possession of your expired or expiring passport; your passport was issued when you were age 16 or older; it was issued within the past 15 years; and it was issued to your current name or you have documentation to support a name change.

If you want the $120 expedited service, you need to send your application using Priority Mail Express with the U.S. Postal Service.

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Children under 16, all first-time applicants, and applicants who have lost their passport or had it stolen must apply in person. You can do so at a passport agency or at an acceptance facility. Acceptance facilities include post offices, clerks of court, libraries, and local government offices. If you want to apply at a post office, you need to make an appointment at USPS.com. Other acceptance facilities may be requiring advance appointments as well.   

Are passport agencies open right now?

Passport agencies remain open but in-person services are limited. They are not accepting walk-in services and require advance appointments. Staff and applicants must wear masks inside. Social distancing is encouraged.

How to check on your passport status

You can find out the latest regarding your passport application status online. The State Department notes that it can currently take up to four weeks from the time you apply until your application is marked as “In Process.” During that four-week period, the status will probably read as “Not Available.” Nevertheless, the application has likely been delivered and the payment processed, and fear not, “your application and supporting documents are safely on their way to us,” according to the State Department.

This story was originally published on April 3, 2020, and was updated on April 30, 2021, to include current information.

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