DENVER (KDVR) — Travelers planning an international trip this summer need to prepare for a longer wait to get their passport applications processed. The State Department said processing times are now as long as 13 weeks.
As of March 24, routine applications are being processed in 10 to 13 weeks. That’s up from the eight to 11 weeks it was taking through most of February and March. Applications received before Feb. 6 were completed even faster with routine processing at six to nine weeks.
Expedited applications, which come with an additional $60 fee, are currently taking seven to nine weeks.
Those processing windows do not include time in the mail. It can take up to two weeks for the application to be received, and up to another two weeks for travelers to receive a passport after it’s printed, the State Department said.
Demand for passports is up with more Americans planning to travel abroad. At some points this winter, more than 500,000 applications a week were being sent in.
“We are on track to set the record for the highest demand year ever, far surpassing volumes seen during previous surges in demand in 2007 and 2017,” the State Department said.
For anyone renewing a passport, plan ahead. Many countries require at least six months remaining before a passport expires for a traveler to enter the country.
How to get a passport fast in Colorado
The State Department is advising Americans to get applications in well before any planned travel. It warns that we’re approaching “what is expected to be our busiest summer travel season on record.”
If your travel is coming up soon, there are options to get your passport fast.
Expedited passport application
You can expedite your application to shave a few weeks off the processing time. Keep in mind that this does not include mailing time, which could add up to four weeks from when you send the application to the time you receive your passport.
Expedited applications add an additional $60 fee to the total cost. You can expedite a new application as part of the process at a passport acceptance facility, or expedite a renewal by mail.
If you need to travel even sooner, passport agencies are offices operated by the State Department that have in-person services for urgent travel, as well as those who have specific life-or-death emergencies.
The Colorado Passport Agency is located in Aurora. While there are many locations around the country, the Aurora office is the only one in Colorado and there are no offices near Colorado in surrounding states.
Passport agencies: Urgent travel (not emergencies)
If you have urgent international travel within the next 14 days, you can request an appointment at a passport agency. There are restrictions and there is no guarantee that appointments will be available.
There is no charge to make an appointment. However, you must have an appointment as there is no walk-in option.
Passport agencies: Life-or-death emergency
The State Department has options for those who need to travel in the next three days because an immediate family member has died, is dying, or has a life-threatening illness or injury.
The process for emergency situations is outlined on the State Department website.
An appointment for these situations can be made up to two weeks out, but your appointment must be within three business days of your scheduled travel. Documentation is required.