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 over 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.

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