Ready To Explore The World Again? Here’s What You Need To Know About US Passport Renewal Delays

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Lots of people are excited to travel internationally again as restrictions around some parts of the world are easing up. All this interest in international travel has caused a backlog in the US passport processing system, however. In some cases, renewals are taking up to 18 weeks to process. Here's what you need to know about new or renewal passports.

Plan ahead. With some people experiencing lengthy delays on their passport applications, it's best to allow plenty of processing time. According to the Department of State Travel, allow 18 weeks before your planned trip if possible.

Be wary of 'passport expeditors' courier companies. Although the thought of getting a passport quickly might be tempting, going through one of these companies will likely take the same amount of time as dealing directly with the Passport Agency. Also, "You are still required to appear in person at an acceptance facility if applying on Form DS-11 (first-time application), even when using a courier service," according to a spokesperson for the Passport Agency.

There are special exceptions, such as for life-or-death travel emergencies. To receive this expedited service, which usually takes about 72 hours, you must book an appointment on the Department of State Travel website and provide evidence that travel will take place within three days.