As we gradually move out of the lockdown, most travelers are itching to pick up where they left exploring the world. If you fit that description, you need to do two things right away.
First, check your U.S. passport to know the validity. Secondly, get a Newverest Scratch off map to find your next destination and document your travels.
There are some things to learn about passport renewal now. Currently, the U.S. Department of State has a backlog of passports waiting for issuance. This has made the renewal process longer than usual.
In this blog, we answer popular questions about passport renewal now. Read on to learn more.
How long does it take to renew a passport now?
According to the U.S. Department of State, it takes between 10 - 12 weeks to renew a passport. Due to COVID-19, a significant number of passport and travel centers around the country remain shut. For weekly statistics of passport processing in the U.S., visit this page. The government updates the data on the site every Thursday. As of January, there are 934,000 passports waiting issuance. This figure provides an insight into the backlog created by the pandemic.
My passport has 6 months of validity. What should I do?
Short answer: Start the renewal process right away.
Long answer: If you don't have an emergency, you should mail your passport in for renewal now. Since Covid-19, it takes approximately 10 - 12 weeks to process a passport. So your passport will age by 1 - 2 months in the renewal process.
However, emergency cases receive preferential and expedited attention. US Passport centers and agencies can process a passport in 72 hours for emergency conditions like injury, terminal illness, death of a family member, caregiver, or child. To get emergency service, you have to make a reservation at a passport center near you.
Do I have to send my passport via mail to the passport center?
Currently, mailing is the primary method to access passport renewal services. Mailing is the preferred option because it involves minimal human contact, making it COVID-19 safety compliant. This method's main drawbacks are the risk of losing your document in transit and possible slow process time. However, you should be able to monitor your application within 7 to 10 business days after your mail is received. Go to this page to track the process - you'll be required to provide your name, DOB, social security number, and a security code to use the platform.
We recommend taking a picture of your passport if it gets lost in transit. When that happens, you have a document to fall back on, and it will save you significant time in processing and renewing your passport.
What if my passport expires in 12 months?
Travel experts offer two options to this question.
The first option is to wait for the country to enter the third phase of lockdown before initiating the renewal process. At this stage, passport centres allow walk-in/in-person renewals. If you love having personal control of the process, you should follow this option.
Alternatively, you should start the renewal process now. This is a proactive approach. Your passport should arrive just when the international airways and destinations are open to travelers.
Should I let my passport expire?
No, you shouldn't. Your passport gives you access to the exotic and off beaten paths around the world. If your passport is expired, it is best to renew as soon as possible to avoid last-minute runs and queues. When the world opens, it likely that there will be a rush to renew passports.
Can I get an expedited service?
At the start of the lockdown in March, the government temporarily suspended expedited passport processing. Thankfully, the Department of State reinstated the service on September 28; however, it has a slower turnaround time of 4 to 6 weeks compared to the 10 – 12 days processing time, pre-COVID.
Among other things, the main point you should take away from this post is that starting the passport renewal process now is best. As normalcy returns, the passport processing time will reduce, and you can get in-person service too.
While we wait for international destinations to open, explore these 10 fascinating US destinations that resemble other countries. Use the Newverest US National Parks Poster to find these scenic holiday spots and document your travel.