Passport processing times increase amid ‘record-high demand’

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News


Americans looking to acquire a passport may be in for the long haul.

According to the State Department, routine processing times for passports can take anywhere from 10 to 13 weeks as of March 24. Expedited processing shows some improvement, nudging the timeline down to a range of 7 to 9 weeks.

However, neither processing time factors mailing into its equation.

“It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive by mail at a passport agency or center, and up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport in the mail after we print it,” the State Department writes.

Just for context, routine processing times from February 6 to March 23 were expected to take 8 to 11 weeks. Before February 6 it was even shorter at 6 to 9 weeks.

Although the increased time will likely cause headaches, this is a routine occurrence. Every year, specifically from winter to summer, the State Department says demand for passports increase.

The department anticipates that it will readjust passport processing times as the demand dies down. It may be a while, however, since “record-high demand” for passports is likely to “increase through the spring and remain high throughout the summer.”

The demand is likely a layover from the 2020 pandemic restrictions. With travel and finances having been affected for the better part of 2 years following the pandemic, many Americans are looking to get out again and resume their plans.

An Ipsos survey conducted in mid-January shows that 52% of Americans are looking to travel for leisure in the next six months. When compared to last year, 23% of Americans said they want to more leisure travel in 2023 while 51% planned to travel the same amount.

In a similar recording, 39% of Americans said their leisure spending will not change in the coming months while 19% indicated that it will increase.