As the demand for traveling internationally increases, so too has the demand for U.S. passports.

According to CNBC, “This has led to a backlog of U.S. passport applications.” This is projected to worsen with summer on the horizon.

As the world moves closer to a post-COVID landscape, more and more Americans are determined to venture to other countries. The wanderlust started in 2021, nicknamed the year of revenge travel. It has picked up steam ever since.

In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the passport demand “unprecedented.”

There’s been a re-staffing issue at the U.S. Department of State, which further complicates the issue. To combat that, the department has opened satellite offices and hired more staff to tend to the phone lines.

This is a stark contrast to how the Department of State looked in 2020. Back then, many positions were changed, or shelved altogether, as passport demand dropped sharply.

Today, the Department of State is on track to set the record for the highest demand year ever, according to a recent update.

You can now expect your passport application to take four months or more, including mailing time.

Navigating Passport Processing Delays

So, what’s the best way to try and circumvent this problem?

Travel experts suggest planning is key. Even if you’re not going to travel until fall or winter, make sure your passport business is in order. For those who have passports already, keep an eye on the expiration date, or you might not be able to travel.

According to the U.S. Department of State, “some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.”

Customers are encouraged to monitor the status of their applications online and to sign up for updates via email.

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