It’s hardly a secret that you have a significant problem if you’re planning to travel internationally this year and don’t have a valid passport.
After all, the U.S. Department of State has bluntly warned that passport renewal can take several months.
Now, however, with those times in mind, the State Department is trying a new process to help some travelers get their passports a little easier.
“Passport acceptance facilities such as post offices, libraries, and local government offices are hosting special passport acceptance fairs across the United States to help you and your family apply for your passport,” the State Department explains. “Most events are for first-time customers and children using the Application for a Passport Form DS-11 to apply.”
Importantly, the State Department adds that if you have a passport and are eligible to renew it by mail, you should do so. You can renew your passport by mail if it is not damaged, was never lost or reported stolen, was issued within the past 15 years, and was issued in your current legal name.
Where Passport Acceptance Fairs Will Be Held
Many of the passport acceptance fairs will be held in New Jersey and California. However, others are slated for Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
You can see the list of upcoming events at Special Passport Acceptance Fairs.
Be sure to continue checking the website for passport acceptance fairs because new events will be added each week, according to the State Department.
Alternatively, if none of those events will be held near your home, the State Department also maintains a list of post offices, public libraries, and government offices that will accept a U.S. passport application. The list is searchable by zip code.
You can see which of those facilities is near you using the Passport Acceptance Facility Search Tool.
An Explanation On Processing Times
The State Department is currently receiving about 400,000 passport applications every week, a spokesperson said, according to NBC News. What’s more, that volume continues even after the agency received higher-than-normal application volumes last January–May, which often exceeded 500,000 applications per week.
The current expected passport processing time is 10–13 weeks for routine processing and 7–9 weeks for expedited processing, according to the State Department.
“Our processing times only include the time your application is at one of our passport agencies or centers,” the State Department explains. “Mailing times are not included in processing times.”
That’s an important clarification because the State Department notes that it may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive by mail at a passport agency or center. It may then also take up to 2 weeks for applicants to receive their completed passport in the mail after the State Department has printed it.
You can learn more at U.S. Processing Times or by checking out these articles: