Photo Credit: Playful african woman in dress holding passport with tickets while looking away over purple background
State Department Restarting Passport Services, Here's What You Should Know
After the coronavirus restrictions closed down the U.S. embassies and passport offices this past March, there are more than 1.6 million Americans who are waiting for their passport applications to be processed, as reported by ABC News.
Following backlash from some members of Congress, the State Department has announced that passport services will gradually reopen in three phases this summer.
Government officials confirmed that each passport agency and center would reopen on different dates contingent on local conditions. The agency said they are experiencing significant delays as employees are not permitted to work from home for security and privacy concerns.
The State Department is asking for patience as department employees join other industries that are gradually resuming operations in phases.
Phase 1 of the reopening will be similar to the current operations where employees focus on people who are experiencing life-or-death emergencies. Phase 2 will call for the majority of employees to return to work processing applications on a “first come, first served” basis. Phase 3 involves all remaining employees who will return the agency will begin offering expedited processing.
The State Department using a staggering-phase approach in an effort to keep employees and customers safe.
“We are committed to working as hard as we can to process applications as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for us to do so,” the agency said.