Need a Passport? Apply Early, Expect to Wait

The State Department is swamped with passport applications. The backlog is driven in large part by new rules that require U.S. citizens to have a passport (and not just photo id and a birth certificate) in order to re-enter the country by plane from Canada, the Caribbean, and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Wait times for normal applications have nearly doubled, with normal processing taking 10 weeks. “Expedited” processing still takes a month.

If you have urgent travel plans and need a passport immediately, same-day passports are still available, but you need to apply in person at a passport agency, with proof that that you’ll be traveling within two weeks. Be prepared to wait in line. See here for locations.

To find a location to submit non-urgent applications, see here. MARK ASHLEY

Warning: State Department passport backlog (
(Photo: bryansblog)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.