Following months of delays, U.S. passport wait times are starting to improve.

Key Points:

  • The State Department updated current passport processing times, showing reduced wait times for both routine and expedited services.
  • As of Oct. 2, processing times were 8-11 weeks for routine applications and 5-7 weeks for expedited applications, according to the department.
  • The update is the first since March 2023, when the department posted processing times of 10-13 weeks for routine service and 7-9 weeks for expedited service. In practice, some passports were taking considerably longer than the previously posted times.

Additional Information: The State Department attributed the improved times to aggressive recruiting and hiring at passport agencies, workers putting in tens of thousands of overtime hours each month and the opening of a new satellite office. Recent demand is the highest in U.S. history, with more than 24 million passport books and cards issued in the past year.

BAL Analysis: The change in passport wait times is good news; however, the improvement may prove temporary. Requests for passports tend to increase ahead of holiday travel and applicants should expect delays and plan accordingly.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group.

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