Planning to break free and travel overseas this summer?
I hope you have a valid passport. If not, be prepared to join a backlog of up to two million people still waiting to receive their new passport.
But don’t worry just yet – there are a few ways to work around the 18-week passport delay – and here’s everything you need to know.
Renewing a passport used to be a simple process, and most Americans received their renewed passport within 6 weeks – 8 weeks at most.
Now, it’s taking folks nearly 5 months to receive their renewed passport – wreaking havoc and panic as travelers are forced to cancel their vacation plans… again.
Estella Valdez was already forced to cancel her honeymoon once, so she was looking forward to a rescheduled August honeymoon in Aruba.
She filed the paperwork to get her passport in April…
… but she still hasn’t received it, leaving her no choice but to consider canceling her travel plans – again.
And even trying to find out the status of her passport has been quite the challenge.
The Chicago Tribune reported:
“It’s still saying the same thing, processing, and they haven’t even cashed my original check,” Valdez said. All she knows is that her passport is processing in the New Hampshire passport office, and she can’t get through to speak to anyone at the office after being left on hold for hours.”
Even Valdez’s travel agent Karen Kimmey admits she’s never seen delays like this in the history of her career.
The Chicago Tribune continued:
“How many times do they have to keep postponing their honeymoon?” Kimmey said. “They did because of the pandemic, now they have to do it because the government won’t give them their passport. … It’s sad, just sad.”
So what can you do if you want to travel overseas and need a passport?
Well to start – PLAN EARLY.
Even if you don’t plan to travel until this winter or even next spring – get your stuff submitted now.
Late last year, I saw the writing on the wall that the passport backlog would be a mess, so I renewed my passport even though it didn’t expire until early 2022.
But for those of you who waited until the last minute – you still can beat the 18-week delay, well sort of.
You can pay an additional $60 (on top of the $110 passport renewal fee) to have your passport “expediated.”
But be warned, the “expediated” service is still taking a long time as… in up to 12 weeks!
While in the past you could simply pay for an expedited service and get a passport quickly – you’re out of luck this time.
If you have a serious emergency – as in life-or-death – the State Department claims you may, not you will, but you may qualify to make an appointment to get an emergency passport – but the State Department is clear they cannot guarantee you’ll have your passport in time to travel.
So just when you thought COVID-19 mandates were finally over – the remnants of their chaos are still wreaking havoc in just about every area of travel.
And just wait until the COVID-19 passports cause even more travel confusion and chaos!
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